Austin, Texas — Austin Public Health has convened a local Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Child Care Task Force to ensure that existing childcare centers and homes, childcare workers and employees of essential industries who need childcare have the necessary supports for the COVID-19 crisis. The task force is supporting state efforts to spread the word about a new website to help families employed by essential industries find child care.
“Austin-Travis County COVID-19 Child Care Task Force members applaud the state for creating the Frontline Child Care website,” said Cathy McHorse, Lead for the Task Force’s Advocacy and Child Care Capacity Workgroup Lead and Vice President of Success by 6 at the United Way for Greater Austin. “It serves as crucial support for essential workers needing childcare during this crisis. The tool is also a critical support for our fragile local childcare ecosystem, as childcare centers and childcare homes are struggling to stay afloat during and after this crisis, while also supporting their teachers and staff.”
The Task Force includes members from Child Care Regulation/Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Travis County, Workforce Solutions Capital Area, United Way for Greater Austin Child Inc., Austin ISD, Go Austin! Vamos Austin! and other key early childhood stakeholders. This new task force is coordinating and aligning with efforts of the state’s Texas Frontline Child Care Task Force.
Additionally, the income threshold for childcare subsidies has been expanded for COVID-19 frontline essential workers to approximately 150 percent of the state’s median income (SMI) -- a household income of about $118,000 annually or $9,800 monthly or less for a family of four.
“Increasing the income eligibility for childcare subsidies from 85% to 150% of state median income for essential workers greatly improves access to licensed childcare for those who most need care as they work to respond to this global emergency,” said Nicole Robinson, Lead for the Task Force’s Child Care Scholarships and Director of Child Care Contracts for Workforce Solutions Capital Area.
Essential workers in Travis County who require childcare to work can review and complete an eligibility form for childcare subsidies at www.WFSCapitalArea.com/Child-Care-Services/COVID19ResourcesChildCare). Childcare providers who do not already have an agreement to accept childcare subsidies can contact their Local Workforce Development Board (Workforce Solutions Capital Area or Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area) to set up an agreement.
For more information about childcare for families, visit www.wfscapitalarea.com/Child-Care-Services/COVID-19ResourcesChildCare. For guidance and resources for Travis County childcare providers, visit austintexas.gov/department/covid-19-information/businesses-and-industries.