News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Study Says Texas Must Improve Childcare

Bill Zeeble
l-r Susan Hoff, United Way Dallas, Laurie Larrea, Workforce Solutions Dallas, and Bob Sanborn, Children At Risk present findings from the Kellogg Foundation study showing Texas needs more and better affordable childcare if it's going to thrive

A new report out today says Texas needs to do a better job of educating young kids. And parents also need help finding affordable, quality childcare.

A vibrant future for Texas is at risk, says Bob Sanborn, president of the nonprofit, Children at Risk. He says the state needs more qualified works and that starts at an early age.

“We're going to need to make sure that we’re taking care of our kids, that they’re ready to learn when they hit pre-k and kindergarten, and that we’re doing everything possible to get those kids up to speed. We’re not doing that today and that’s going to put our workforce in jeopardy,” Sanborn says.

The Children at Risk study funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation shows half of Texas children live in poverty and only half of them start kindergarten ready to learn.

To improve the numbers, education needs to start earlier. Laurie Larrea, president of Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, says that’s where quality, affordable childcare could make a difference. That’s not just for the kids, she says, but for the parents.  

“Parents are now refusing jobs because they can’t afford quality care for the kids. That should not be a choice. It’s not a good choice for the workforce. It’s not a good choice for employers. And employers are begging for talent. Talent will only be there if a parent knows their child can be well cared for,” Larrea says.

Children at Risk says Texas gets more than $500 million in federal funds every year in childcare subsidies. The group wants more information on how that money’s spent. It also wants state agencies, like the Workforce Commission, and Education Agency, to coordinate efforts because working together would help more Texans.  

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.