How Texans Care for Children is approaching the threat posed by coronavirus. For the moment, our approach includes the following:
- We are closely monitoring developments and communicating non-stop with partners, community leaders, and national experts to identify all the ways that the coronavirus is affecting Texas children and families. While we may not currently have solutions to all of these challenges, we are able to put the issues on the radar by communicating with state agency staff, legislators, and the media.
- Our staff is also busy exploring potential short-term or medium-term policy recommendations and are actively engaged with our community partners and state agency leadership and staff in this effort.
- As we discussed on CBS Austin, we spearheaded this letter signed by 14 Texas organizations to Congressional leaders on the need for the federal relief package to include support for our early childhood system. I am in touch with the newly appointed coordinator of emergency child care just appointed by Governor Abbott on Sunday. We are also regularly convening early childhood partners to share updates on emergency child care options and ways to buttress our struggling child care providers, the needs of ECI programs and families, and telehealth options in ECI and prevention programs. We currently have a survey out to all ECI providers to gather information on their fiscal strain and needs.
- We are also actively supporting efforts to address the mental health needs of Texans, contacting state officials about the well-being of youth in juvenile justice facilities, and working closely with our partners to identify and communicate to state leaders key coronavirus-related challenges in the foster care and CPS system.
- We are working with our public health community partners to recommend a variety of steps Texas leaders can take to improve access to health coverage to help cover the cost of COVID-19 treatments, ensure kids can get enrolled and stay enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, and address other health needs now and into the future. We took the lead on a letter going out this week to Texas leaders laying out specific recommendations. We are monitoring how the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act impacts Texas — both in terms of access to coverage but also the new law’s impact on our state budget — and signing on to national letters urging Congress to take further action on federal funding for Medicaid and CHIP insurance.
- We are also preparing to advocate for longer-term policy recommendations in the altered landscape that will exist when the worst of the outbreak has passed.
- We are using our communications platforms to help distribute public health messages from our state health officials.
- : Texans Care for Children