Update from the Texas Workforce Commission:
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will soon begin phasing out the emergency program to subsidize childcare for Texas’ essential workers. In March, TWC commissioners authorized $200 million to local Workforce Development Boards to subsidize three months of child care for essential workers, and to support the higher costs of child care during COVID as a result of smaller class sizes. This effort was intended to help ensure that essential workers who hadn’t planned for child care during public schools closures had access to this critical support service to ensure that they could continue to work and support the COVID recovery needs. TWC also waived the requirement for low-income parents to contribute to the cost of their child’s care, known as the Parent’s Share of Cost; these parents, if not considered essential workers, have been unable to access child care.
As Texas’ economy begins to re-open, TWC will begin phasing out these programs. Essential workers in need of child care during the school year were offered assistance. And, as child care reopens, child care providers are now able to resume services for all parents in need of child care.
TWC will take the following steps:
COVID Essential Worker Care – TWC began enrolling children of essential workers in April to help address the unanticipated consequences of school closures, and to provide parents with a stopgap measure to address this unanticipated need. As the school year comes to a close, new applications for this program will end May 20, 2020. Applications received on or before May 20 will be processed, and children previously enrolled will continue to receive their three months of subsidized child care.
Parents’ Share of Cost (PSOC) for At-Risk Child Care – TWC waived the PSOC for all at-risk families, effective April 1, effectively paying 100 percent of the costs, as TWC continued to pay providers even while children may be absent. Child care facilities are now reopened to all families, and TWC will reinstitute the requirement for parents receiving financial assistance to pay for a portion of their costs for care effective June 1. These costs may be waived, on a case by case basis, if parents continue to be unable to meet this financial obligation.
Essential workers and businesses include the following:
- Pharmacy and health care workers
- First responders
- Critical local and state government staff
- Mail and delivery service staff
- Nursing home, child care, home health care, and other direct care providers
- Grocery store staff
- Gas station staff
- Bank staff
- Restaurant (with drive-through and delivery) staff
- Military personnel
- Any other workers deemed essential by the Texas Workforce Commission or Local Workforce Development Boards
If you need help locating a provider that is open and accepting new children, you can visit the Frontline Child Care Availability Portal at find.frontlinechildcare.texas.gov. This website will allow parents who are essential workers to search for available child care near their home or work, and it will display a map of licensed child care centers, licensed homes, and registered homes. It will show each facility’s operating hours, along with the number of open seats for each age group at the facility.