Senate Interim Charges Put Key Children’s Issues on the Agenda

For Immediate Release
April 11, 2024
Contact: Peter Clark,

Austin – Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued “interim charges,” directing the Texas Senate Committee to study a number of issues in preparation for the 2025 legislative session. The charges include several important children’s issues.

“We’re excited to see the Senate is planning to study child care, health coverage, family preservation services, and other critical children’s policy issues to get ready for the next legislative session,” said Stephanie Rubin, CEO of Texans Care for Children. “If the Legislature can make progress on these challenges, it would represent a big step forward for Texas kids. We appreciate Lt. Governor Patrick identifying these opportunities to support Texas children and families.”

Key Senate interim charges on children’s policy include the following:

Senate Education Committee:Reading and Math Readiness: Study current local, state, and national policies and programs that improve student achievement in reading and mathematics, with an emphasis on “early readiness” in grades preK-5. Make recommendations to ensure every student has a strong academic foundation in reading and math.”

Texans Care for Children urges Senators to improve access to high-quality pre-k and child care so that more children start school ready to succeed in reading, math, and other subjects.

Senate Health and Human Services Committee:Children’s Mental Health: Review care and services currently available to the growing population of Texas children with high acuity mental and behavioral health needs. Make recommendations to improve access to care and services for these children that will support family preservation and prevent them from entering the child welfare system.”

Texans Care for Children strongly supports boosting services that help children stay safely with their families and out of the foster care system.

Senate Health and Human Services Committee: “Health Insurance: Examine the Texas health insurance market and alternatives to employer-based insurance. Identify barriers Texans face when navigating a complex health insurance market. Make recommendations that help individuals obtain health care coverage.”

Approximately half of uninsured Texas children are eligible for insurance through Medicaid or CHIP. Texans Care for Children urges the Senate to ensure that currently eligible children are able to enroll in Medicaid.

Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee: “Enhancing Workforce Productivity: Study ways to increase the state’s workforce productivity, including access to childcare. Make recommendations, within existing resources, to maintain childcare availability to support a growing workforce.”

Other “red states” have recently taken action on child care. As the Senate examines the child care crisis in our state, Texans Care for Children urges legislators to invest in solutions that ensure parents can go to work and children have access to high-quality early learning.