Nutrition in Early Childhood: A Foundation for Lifelong Health

When children are healthy during the first years of life, they are more likely to maintain a healthy weight throughout their childhood, be successful in school, and achieve lifelong health. Unfortunately, Texas children as young as two are already on track to grow up at an unhealthy weight. With the majority of young Texas children spending significant portions of the day in child care settings, Texas parents need child care providers to be a strong partner in providing healthy food and drinks and plenty of active play time. Fortunately, there are steps state leaders can take to help parents identify healthier child care providers and ensure child care providers partner with parents in supporting healthy kids.

Opportunities to Improve Children’s Mental Health in Texas

Testimony to the House Select Committee on Mental Health

Texans Care for Children is a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan, multi-issue children's policy organization. We drive policy change to improve the lives of Texas children today for a stronger Texas tomorrow. We envision a Texas in which all children grow up to be healthy, safe, successful, and on a path to fulfill their promise. We appreciate all the work that the committee has done to bring attention and discussion to the far reaching effects mental illness has on Texas children, families, adults, and communities and ways Texas can improve the outcomes of those who experience mental illness and the systems that serve them.  We thank you for the opportunity to offer recommendations on ways the state can make a positive difference in supporting the mental health of children and youth.

Ensuring the Success of HB 4 and Texas Pre-k Students

Testimony to the Senate Education Committee

HB 4 is an important step forward, and grant applications show that school districts strongly embrace it. However, there is more work to do to ensure that pre-k students and HB 4 are successful. Legislators should continue to support pre-k quality improvements across the state, in districts of every size and every region; ensure that per-student HB 4 funding is sufficient to produce strong gains in the classroom; and align other state early childhood policies with the early learning goals of HB 4.

The Research is Clear: High Quality Pre-K Pays Off

Research shows effective pre-k programs improve school readiness and academic achievement, reducing the need to provide special education services and helping more students advance to the next grade level on time. To harness the power of pre-k, Texas should build on the state’s new High Quality Pre-k Grant Program to improve the quality of and access to pre-k.

Aug. 23 Children's Policy Series Forum: Building Healthy Foundations for Young Kids

Please join us on Tuesday, August 23 from 1:00 to 2:30 pm for the next edition of the Children's Policy Series, a new effort to break down the artificial walls between children's policy issues and bring Texans together to identify policy strategies to improve child well-being. The August 23rd forum will look at Building Healthy Foundations for Young Kids.

Improving Student Performance by Targeting Non-Academic Barriers to Learning

Testimony to Senate Education Committee

Ample research demonstrates that non-academic factors influence students’ academic performance. Students are more likely to succeed in school when they are emotionally and physically healthy, feeling safe, and engaged and supported, yet Texas data show that many of our students report significant challenges in these areas. Fortunately, there are several concrete steps legislators can take to address these challenges and improve students’ academic performance.  

Redesigned Women’s Health Programs Are Good News for Texas Moms and Babies, But Improvements are Needed Moving Forward

We all want children to be healthy, succeed in school, and grow up to be our next generation of great teachers, helpful co-workers, and effective leaders. The first step is ensuring healthy pregnancies and healthy births. One of the most effective strategies to improve health outcomes for moms and babies is to make sure moms receive the care they need before, during, and after pregnancy. 

 

In The News: State rejects calls to reduce child care ratios

In spite of requests from advocacy groups and the public, new DFPS Commissioner Wittman will not reduce child care ratios.

Improving the Health of Young Texans: Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers

Testimony to Department of Family and Protective Services

Every kid deserves a healthy start in life. Parents and early care and education providers agree that infants and children deserve to learn in a safe environment and benefit from healthy food, active play, and limited screen time. With the majority of children spending much of their day in early childhood programs, such as child care centers, stronger state minimum standards must be in place to ensure safe environments for children and help these programs deliver what is best for children to maintain a healthy weight and achieve lifelong health.