This move comes the day after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that child care providers across the state could re-open. Subsidies were put in place to assist both essential workers and child care centers during limited enrollment. With Texas re-opening, those essential workers who are already on the subsidized plan will continue to receive child care for the three month period they were initially approved for under this program. Essential workers who have yet to apply for subsidized care have until Wednesday, May 20, 2020, to do so. Essential workers may also apply at any time for TWC’s regular subsidized child care program for low-income families if they meet eligibility requirements.
In March, TWC commissioners authorized $200 million to Local Workforce Development Boards to subsidize three months of child care for essential workers, and to support the higher costs of child care during COVID as a result of smaller class sizes. This effort aimed to help ensure that essential workers, who hadn’t planned for child care needs during regular public school days, had access to this critical support service to ensure that they could continue to work and support the COVID recovery needs. And it was aimed at supporting child care providers whose cost of care increased as a result of smaller class sized in effect during COVID. In March, TWC commissioners also authorized payments to child care providers to continue even when subsidized children were absent. And effective April 1, TWC waived the Parents’ Share of Cost (PSOC) for At-Risk Child Care. By doing so, TWC effectively paid 100 percent of the cost to providers even while children were absent. This short-term measure was put into place to ensure child care centers continued to receive full reimbursement, as parents would not pay their portion while their children were absent.
Effective June 1, TWC will reinstate the requirement for parents receiving financial assistance to pay for a portion of their costs. As children return to their centers, parents will resume paying their share of child care costs.TWC also continues to pay providers when children are absent and is paying a 25% enhanced reimbursement rate over and above what they regularly receive. If parents are unable to meet this financial obligation, costs may be waived.
In May, TWC also approved funding to help closed child care providers who were previously serving subsidized children. TWC is offering Stabilization Grants for closed providers to help defray some of their ongoing fixed costs in order to help them remain viable so they may eventually reopen.
Those in need of assistance should contact their local Workforce Board for more information on child care options in their area as well as to find information on financial assistance. Please visit the TWC Child Care webpage or contact your local Workforce Board.