The Texas Workforce Commission on Tuesday passed a waiver of a rule to allow unemployed individuals to enroll in the child care subsidy program. Previously, only individuals who were already employed, or participating in education/training, could be enrolled into the child care subsidy program. This change will help accommodate workers who are actively looking for employment, allowing them up to three months to find employment. The program is designed to assist working families, thus it is generally not available to parents who are not employed. However, lack of child care is frequently cited by individuals on unemployment as a major impediment to getting a job.
“TWC is committed to providing comprehensive services to help Texas job seekers connect to rewarding opportunities with Texas employers,” said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel. “I encourage Texas families to take advantage of the expanded availability of child care, as well as training and upskilling services through TWC, to pursue a career in Texas’ exciting industries.”
The subsidized child care program is funded by a federal grant, which provides the state the flexibility to expand to this population. The commissioners will waive the rules effective July 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022.
“Texas Workers have faced many challenges over the last year but getting back on their feet after so long has been particularly difficult,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “This is a step we can take that preserves the focus of the program on working families, but provides help in that crucial job-search period.”
Parents in the program receive a subsidy for child care, with a copay based on actual income. The changes will allow the parents to qualify for child care with the copay waived until a job is found. The copay would then be put in place at the appropriate level after the individual is employed.
“Texas employers are rebounding from the pandemic and have job openings they are anxious to fill,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson. “For some Texans looking for a job, child care is that last piece of the puzzle that will help them re-enter the workforce and this program is win-win situation for both the employers and employees.”