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Recap: Texas Early Learning Council (TELC) Quarterly Meeting

October 24, 2022
The Texas Early Learning Council (TELC) met on Friday, October 21. Reagan Miller, Chair of the Council and Director of the Child Care and Early Learning Division with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), outlined the meeting’s discussion around the work of the Council’s data roadmap work group and funding updates regarding child care ahead of the 88th Legislative Session.

Update from Texas Early Learning Council Data Roadmap Work Group
Allison Wilson, Director of Program Policy & Quality Initiatives with the Child Care & Early Learning Division of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), provided an update on the progress of the Texas Early Learning Council data roadmap work group. The goals of the work group are to produce a roadmap to establish understanding around what Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems are and have a true idea of what is already in place, while looking at lessons learned from other states. TWC has contracted with Third Sector Intelligence to create an early childhood data landscape. This work will produce a report with a summary and map of early childhood data available and examine gaps in data.

Texas Opportunity for Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG (B-5))
The federal Administration for Children and Families posted the Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG (B-5)) Renewal Grant. Texas received the first round of the Preschool Development Grant and is eligible to receive up to $16 million per year from the renewal grants.

The initial grant required Texas to complete a statewide birth-five needs assessment, which was completed by the Texas Early Learning Council and informed TELC’s state strategic plan for early learning.

Top priorities for work with this grant include supporting the early childhood workforce, promoting sustainability of this workforce, and developing coordinated systems to simplify application, eligibility, and enrollment processes.

The project cycle for this grant is three-years with an anticipated start date of December 31, 2022.
TWC Legislative Appropriations Requests
TWC made an exceptional item request for Child Care Funding from State General Revenue (SGR) for $35 million. This request would allow TWC to meet the federal matching requirements from the Federal Care Child Development Fund Matching Grant through FY 25. This grant provides assistance to low-income families who need child care due to work, work-related training and/or attending school. It is jointly financed by federal and state governments.

Lastly, an additional $4.2 million Capital Budget Request has been made for a child care web-based consumer portal. This money would support an IT project allowing TWC’s resources for child care to all live in one place.
Federal Pandemic Relief Funding Update
Allison Wilson, Director of Program Policy & Quality Initiatives with the Child Care & Early Learning Division of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), provided an update regarding the state’s use of federal pandemic relief funding.

The initiative to expand the child care industry is growing as the state, through TWC, approved $627.5 million in funding to support the addition and expansion of child care providers statewide. This initiative also assists TWC’s Child Care Service providers who are transitioning into new requirements to participate in TWC’s quality-rating improvement system called Texas Rising Star.

Four major efforts are supported by this funding are: increasing child care expansion grants; allocating additional stimulus funding to aid child care providers; aligning child care payments for families receiving assistance to reflect private pay methods; and enhancing online platforms for career development for early childhood educators. Read the full press release from TWC.

An additional Child Care Relief Fund (CCRF) payment has gone out to service providers. The additional 5th payment is part of pandemic relief funds but is anticipated to be the final payment as support will be scaling back to original, pre-pandemic aid levels.

Resources: The meeting concluded with shared resources from members and a schedule for anticipated meeting dates in 2023. Texas Early Learning Council is also discussing moving their quarterly meetings to in-person in the Austin area. The next meeting will be on Friday, January 20 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

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

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