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Recap: Texas Early Learning Council (TELC) Meeting

July 22, 2022

The Texas Early Learning Council (TELC) met on Friday, July 15. Reagan Miller, Chair of the Council and Director of the Child Care and Early Learning Division with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), welcomed members and outlined the meeting’s discussion around the work of the data roadmap work group, and the opportunity to hear public comment and updates from TELC members.   

Update from Texas Early Learning Council Data Work Group
The data work group of the Texas Early Learning Council provided a status update, presenting questions from stakeholders in the work group about the services that families are receiving and the quality of care available. The data work group is reviewing questions that have surfaced throughout their meetings to inform the Texas Early Learning Council’s policy recommendations and road map.

The data work group is reviewing the state’s early childhood data systems across the Texas Education Agency, Texas Workforce Commission and Health & Human Services Commission. in an attempt to map the various responsibilities of each agency in impacting childhood and child care across state agencies. The data workgroup will continue to meet this fall. The group is expected to finalize recommendations for the state to better understand data needs and trends in child care across the state.
Overview of Public Comment
The Council began their meeting with public comment where a recurring theme emerged from individuals around the importance of data regarding child care availability and its impact to drive support to the sector. Public comments included a request for greater data transparency regarding child care through conducting a data inventory for collection across state agencies.

In response to remarks made through public comment, Chair Miller outlined tools being built into the Child Care & Early Learning website. The goal would be to make data analysis about the child care sector more transparent to stakeholders.

Mental health and learning loss solutions were also identified as topics of concern from individuals who provided public comment. Children in the early child care space are experiencing delays in speech and language development due to challenges, some exacerbated by COVID-19, occurring before they enter school.
Impact of Federal Funding
Catherine Atwood with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) shared updates on the impact of federal relief funding to the Texas child care sector. Many child care providers have applied for funding from the federal Child Care Relief Funds (CCRF) and those approved are receiving funding for program operations.

Additionally, expanded Head Start Eligibility is available for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients. SNAP recipients are automatically eligible for Head Start and Early Head Start birth to five early care and education services, families are automatically eligible and only need go through the enrollment process.

Lastly, the Council listened to a presentation from the Early Learning Alliance. The Alliance researched the affordability of high-quality child care in Tarrant County.  The Early Learning Alliance suggested the state and child care business owners collaborate more closely on decisions impacting the child care sector , specifically working with providers about benefits to address the challenges impacting employee retention within the child care industry.

The meeting concluded with an update from members sharing resources. The next meeting will be on October 21, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Access to the agenda, all slides and presentations were shared during the Council’s meeting. Watch the full meeting here.

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