From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

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

Texas Legislature Approves Legislation To Provide Child Care Services at Schools

AUSTIN, Tx. -- Legislation to provide school-based child care services before and after the school day for school-aged children in Texas was signed into law by Governor George W. Bush on Monday, May 19. The measure, Senate Bill 503 sponsored by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Dora Olivo (D-Rosenberg), allows the Texas Work and Family Policies Clearinghouse to provide $400,000 in grants to accredited school districts for school-based child care services.

"We must ensure that working families have access to affordable, high quality child care," said Senator Ellis. "By providing child care services before and after the school day, we will help working parents be productive employees without sacrificing the well-being of their children."

Ellis said the child care grants will be used to provide school-based child care services before and after the school day and during holidays and vacations for a school district's school-aged children. Eligible use of the funds includes the planning, development, establishment, expansion or improvement of school child care services as well as reasonable start-up costs.

"This legislation gives school districts a very important opportunity to provide parents with a safe place for their children before and after the school day," said Olivo. "Working parents deserve to know that their children will be well cared for."

According to Working Mother Magazine, 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.

"Improving access to affordable, quality child care expands opportunities for children, supports parents in the workplace and helps build a stronger economy," said Ellis. "Expanding school child care services will help increase the availability of child care for working families in Texas."

The school child care services program allows accredited school districts to study and act with community input regarding the need for school-age child care services in public schools. The program serves approximately 900 children a year. State lawmakers have provided $400,000 over the 1998-1999 fiscal biennium for the program.