Information for COVID-19 FAQ, Employers, Jobseekers, Self-Employed and Child Care

Child Care & Early Learning COVID-19 Information

Many families and child care programs that participate in the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) subsidized child care program have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TWC has approved multiple policy actions to support families and programs at this time and continues to move quickly to respond to child care needs across the state. Actions approved by the commission include the following:

  • Effective March 1, 2020, children may accrue absences without impacting ongoing eligibility for services or provider reimbursements. TWC will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make a future determination on when this absence policy will conclude. Providers will continue to be paid, if children are absent.
  • From April through May, TWC waived the Parents Share of Cost for all at-risk families.  Effective June 1, 2020, the Parents Share of Cost for at-risk families is reinstated.  Boards continue to have the flexibility to modify the Parents Share of Cost on a case by case basis, based on extenuating circumstances that may affect affordability, as authorized in TWC rule, 40 TAC 
  • Boards are also authorized to issue supplemental payments to providers that remain open during the pandemic  The supplemental payment is current set at 25%; all providers with active referrals will receive an additional 25% over their regular reimbursements.
  • Parents who become unemployed will be granted an extended timeline to find work while continuing to receive child care services.
  • Providers who were serving subsidized children and have temporarily closed may qualify to receive a Stabilization Grant. 

On May 19, TWC issued a press release summarizing the status of the Commission’s COVID child care actions.   

Please refer to the following items for more information on actions taken by TWC.

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Resources for Parents

Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas Guidance

On May 18, 2020, the Governor reopened child care centers and homes, and posted a checklist for families and child care providers to safely ensure the care of Texas children.

Frontline Child Care Webpage

A new Frontline Child Care website  has been launched.  This website contains information for parents to consider during COVID.

Frontline Child Care Availability Portal

A new Frontline Child Care Availability Portal can be accessed at find.frontlinechildcare.texas.gov. This website will allow parents to search for available child care near their home or work, and it will display a map of licensed child care centers, licensed homes, and registered homes. It will show each facility’s operating hours, along with the number of open seats for each age group at the facility. After searching, families will need to contact the child care facility directly to enroll their child.

Texas is working hard to ensure the health and safety of all of its citizens.  It is important that we all work to practice social distancing and limiting our contacts with others during this time.  If you are able to have a family member, relative, or trusted neighbor care for you children in lieu of a childcare provider, we encourage you to do so.  While our childcare facilities will follow the safety guidelines provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Center for Disease Control, the simplest way to avoid Covid-19 is to limit your children’s exposure to others.

Depending on your income and work status, financial assistance for child care may be available to you. Contact your Local Board to determine if you qualify and if funds are currently available. 

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Resources for Child Care Programs

Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas Guidance

On May 18, 2020, the Governor reopened child care centers and homes, and posted a checklist for:

Frontline Child Care Webpage

A new Frontline Child Care website has been launched.  This website contains information for providers to consider during COVID.

Frontline Child Care Availability Portal

Many Texans are looking for child care. A new support is available to help parents: the official statewide Frontline Child Care Availability Portal.  This website allows parents to search for available child care near their home or work, and displays a map of licensed child care centers, licensed homes, and registered homes. It shows each facility’s operating hours, along with the number of open seats for each age group at the facility. After searching, families need to contact the child care facility directly to enroll their child.

Complete the Availability Form to indicate the number of child care seats for each age group you currently have available.

Need help logging in? View the Frontline Child Care Availability Update GuidePDF for easy step-by-step instructions.

Then you will receive an email and/or text each week reminding you to update your program’s availability by age group through a simple online form. You will be able to update it as frequently as you like, and we hope you will update it as often as possible so families have accurate information.  Without a weekly update from your program, the website will automatically assume you have no availability in your program.

 

Job Matching Services

Child care programs that need to hire staff can use www.WorkInTexas.com to post and fill job openings. See this helpful guide for instructions.

Out-of-work child care teachers can also search and apply for child care jobs at www.WorkInTexas.com. See this helpful guide for instructions.

 

Small Business Resources

There are many resources to help your small business during this time of need. Please view these resources for mor information:

  • Slides and an FAQ from a conference call on 4/17/20 about small business supports for child care providers.

  • View these handouts for resources on small business financial assistance and unemployment benefits for your employees.

Stabilization Grants

Effective June 1, 2020, TWC will implement new Stabilization Grants for closed providers participating in the subsidy program. These Stabilization Grants will replace the current payments. More details on this Commission action are available by viewing the Discussion Paper - Child Care COVID-19 Stabilization Grants.

Details:

The Stabilization Grants are designed to help defray some expenses being incurred by closed providers of varying size.

  • Grants will be based on the provider’s licensed capacity and the 75th percentile of the average local market rate for child care.
  • Texas Rising Star certified providers will receive a 5% enhanced grant amount.
  • Stabilization Grants will not exceed $10,000 (prior to the 5% enhancement for TRS providers) and will be paid to eligible providers every month they cannot open for a period to be evaluated by the Commission.
  • Stabilization Grants will be paid to eligible providers every month they cannot open for a period to be evaluated by the Commission.

Requirements:

  • Providers will be required to apply for the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program, and if funded, will no longer be eligible for the Stabilization Grant.
  • These grants are only for providers who have ongoing fixed costs that they need help to pay. For example, child care providers who have donated space and no ongoing fixed costs (such as those operating an after-school program in a school) should not apply.

Any provider that chooses to re-open can revert to the payment structure that is in place for open providers – which is based on paying a provider for all active referrals, plus a 25% enhanced reimbursement rate.

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