NEWS RELEASE
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
February 8, 1999
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Senator Ellis, Representative Greenberg Seek Increased Access
to Affordable, High Quality Child Care for Texas Families

(AUSTIN) -- State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and State Representative Sherri Greenberg (D Austin) today announced new legislative initiatives aimed at increasing access to affordable, high quality child care for Texas families. The legislation is the first in a series of initiatives Senator Ellis plans to offer targeting the accessibility, affordability, safety, and quality of Texas child care.

"Reliable child care is important not only for the support it gives to working parents, but also because it protects and nurtures our next generation -- our future workforce, " said Senator Ellis. "We must make access to affordable, high quality child care for working families in Texas a top priority. Our legislation will create greater incentives for Texas businesses to provide a child care choice for their employees and increase training for child care providers, providing families the comfort that the most highly-trained professionals are caring for their children."

The legislation will provide:

Strong child care will be a major factor in Texas' growth in the 21st Century. Every day, over 1.1 million Texas children under six, or three in five, are enrolled in child care. A 1996 study by Working Mother Magazine reported that 2.8 million Texas children under the age of 18 have both parents -- or their only parent -- in the workforce. The study also found that there is only one accredited child care center for every 2,637 children in Texas and only one accredited family child care home for every 10,424 children.*

*Source: National Assoc. for the Education of Young Children and the National Assoc. for Family Child Care standards.

"Reliable child care allows parents to join the workforce and be productive employees without sacrificing the well-being of their children," said Ellis. "Last session, members of both parties worked together to put the needs of our children first, passing a series of initiatives to expand access to quality child care. This year, we hope to build on that progress and ensure more Texas families have access to quality care ."

"We all have a stake in improving access to affordable, quality child care," said Ellis. "The success of our families and our economy depends on our meeting the child care challenge."

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