From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
March 19, 1997
Contact: Rick Svataro, (512) 463-0113

Ellis Wins Senate Approval of Program to Train Welfare Recipients as Child Care Providers.

AUSTIN, Tx. -- State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today won Senate approval for a proposal (Senate Bill 213) that would create a pilot program to train welfare recipients as child care providers. Based on a Texas Performance Review proposal by Comptroller John Sharp, the legislation would direct the Texas Workforce Commission to certify day-care facilities licensed by the state as child care training centers for recipients of public assistance.

"Federal welfare reform passed in 1996 requires Texas to find work opportunities for thousands of additional recipients of public assistance and increase child care capacity," said Senator Ellis. "Training welfare recipients as child care providers will help us achieve both of these goals."

According to Ellis, other states such as California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia have created similar programs to recruit and train welfare recipients as child-care providers. Ellis said his legislation is based on successful programs in other states.

"The Texas child care training pilot program is designed after successful programs in other states," Ellis said. "To help ensure long-term success for participants, the Texas pilot program will carefully screen recipients to identify those with the aptitude for child-care work, offer training in early childhood education and business management, and provide additional support to help trainees launch their own child care businesses."

Texas Child Care Facts:

According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, child care is the third fastest-growing occupation in Texas. Child care employment is expected to rise by 33,300 jobs or 32 percent between 1993 and 2000.

Working Mother Magazine reports that 2.8 million Texas children under the age of 18 have both parents -- or their only parent -- in the workforce. By the year 2000, 70% of preschool-age children will have working mothers.

Projected number of eligible children on waiting lists statewide for child care services: FY 1997 - 33,566; FY 1998 - 34,753; FY 1999 - 35,490 (Source Legislative Budget Board)

"Improving access to affordable, quality child care expands opportunities for children, supports parents in the workplace and helps build a stronger economy," Ellis said.