Pre-K Capacity Children in Childcare Pre-K Impact

Early Childhood Indicators: Children in Childcare

According to the 2009 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, there are 551,405 children from birth to five years old in the Texas Gulf Coast Region. More below…

The topmost chart shows the breakdown of the ECE system by types of care and education. Of the 57% of children cared for by adults other than parents, 22% are cared for in the unregulated “informal care system” of friends, families and neighbors. This type of care is less expensive than regulated care and more flexible for families that may have nontraditional hours or changing schedules from week to week. The remaining 35% of young children participate in the regulated ECE system, operated in child care centers or in homes (23.6%), school-based prekindergarten programs (9.8%) or Head Start (1.6%).

These three components of the ECE system are funded differently with child care paid for by parents (with minimal federal subsidies for very low-income parents), Pre-K paid for by a combination of state funding and local school districts, and Head Start supported through federal dollars. Both Pre-K and Head Start serve preschool age children (ages 3-4). Child care serves infants, toddlers and preschool-age children. Given the greater care requirements for infants and toddlers, the teacher:child ratios are lower, which makes this group more expensive to serve. According to a 2011 report, “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care,” from the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, high-quality child care programs that have teachers and teacher:child ratios surpassing the minimal requirements set by the state cost from $10,000–$12,000 per year. This amount rivals what many families pay for housing.