Working without support: Texas early childhood educators lack access to benefits

TEXAS EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS LACK HEALTH INSURANCE AND OTHER BENEFITS

Press Contact: Molly Kramer, 615-343-8948, molly.m.kramer@vanderbilt.edu

A Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center survey shows that early childhood educators in Texas rarely have access to benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement funds. These benefits contribute to high-quality, nurturing care for children by supporting the wellbeing and quality of life of the child care workforce. Furthermore, because Texas has not expanded Medicaid and few of the state’s early childhood educators earn a living wage, many cannot access any form of health insurance.

Results of the representative, Texas-wide survey of child care directors are detailed in a new brief by the Center. Working Without Support: Texas Early Childhood Educators Lack Access to Benefits notes that fewer than 1 in 3 Texas early childhood educators have access to health insurance through their employer. Only half of educators have access to paid sick leave, and fewer than one third have access to retirement accounts. For educators in home-based programs, the numbers are even lower.

“Child care done well supports babies’ rapidly developing brains and bodies, and it also allows parents to rejoin the workforce. Despite the crucial role of early childhood educators, they are not getting support for their long-term health and wellbeing in Texas. As a result, both the quality and availability of child care suffers,” said Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Executive Director of the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center and Professor of Early Childhood Education and Policy at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.

The new research brief is the second in a series, Child Care in Crisis: Texas Case Study, being released in January and February of 2023. Future briefs will touch on hiring and retention in the child care workforce and the true cost of quality care.The briefs were developed as part of the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center’s work with the Texas Workforce Commission to develop Workgroup Recommendations to Inform the 2022 Child Care Workforce Strategic Plan, in accordance with Texas House Bill 619 of the 87th Legislature of Texas.

To read the Child Care in Crisis: Texas Case Study research briefs, visit this page.