Child Care: Access

Child Care: Access

Subsidized Child Care

  • The percentage of children under the age of 14 receiving state-subsidized child care has converged around 4% in recent years, representing 9,996 children across Central Texas in 2008.
  • Most public school districts also provide free pre-kindergarten options for 3- and 4-year-olds. The budgets for pre-K programs are not increasing at the same pace as pre-K enrollments.
  • Note: This is the most recent data available.

Subsidized Child Care

Cost of Child Care

  • The average monthly tuition for child care is rising for all age groups, with a premium on day care facilities for infant care.
  • The cost of child care can approach that of housing for some families and is becoming more out of reach for many Central Texans.
  • Note: Family Connections data is no longer available.

Cost of Child Care

Child Care Needs

  • More than a third of those in need of child care for their children require full-time care.
  • Full-time demand is a major factor in the increasing costs of child care in a family’s budget.
Child Care Needs

Survey Question: For only the oldest child, how many hours each week does the child/children living in your home spend in the care of others (outside of the parents) for education, enrichment or child care?

Choice of Child Care

  • Likely due to the increasing costs of center-based child care, a majority of parents/guardians are opting to leave children in the care of relatives.
  • Child care centers have consistently become less utilized over past years.
Choice of Child Care

Survey Question: Who currently or presently takes care of this child/these children when adults in the household are not at home or not available to take care of them?

Child Care Location

  • Child care close to home is much more highly preferred than care close to the workplace.
  • Nearly as many parents/guardians have no preference where their child’s place of care is located.
Child Care Location

Survey Question: Where (in what part of your community) do you most need or want your child care services to be located?


Accessibility of affordable care outside the home, while stable, will remain a challenge as our regional population continues to grow.


All children and families in Central Texas have access to high-quality early education, child care, and family support.


Many families may desire or need to access child care outside of the home but are limited by the cost of care or cannot find an arrangement that aligns with their work or life demands.

As public sector budgets continue to shrink for support services and public school programs, and as the cost of unsubsidized care continues to rise, the pressure to equitably support all the children of Central Texas will increase.


Number of Public Pre-K Programs

Percentage of Families Needing Care for Children Under 5

Proximity of Child Care to Child Populations


Accreditation and even total number of facilities can vary greatly during the year, even by season. Analyses can be greatly affected depending on when data is gathered from the state or NAEYC.

Texas Kids Count Project, Center for Public Policy Priorities

Family Connections

CTSIP Community Survey