Child Care Studies

The Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing (TXICFW) contracts with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to conduct two studies annually: the Texas Child Care Market Rate Study and the Child Care Cost of Quality Study. TXICFW conducts this research in partnership with Dr. Daniel Schroeder of the Ray Marshall Center.

Interested in participating in the Texas Child Care Market Rate Survey and/or the Child Care Cost of Quality Survey? Use the links below to learn more.

Additional Information for providers – English
Información adicional para los proveedores – Español
Thông tin bổ sung cho các nhà chăm sóc trẻ em

Texas Child Care Market Rate Study

The Child Care Market Rate Study reports on the rates charged to the general public (or the “market rate”) for child care services in each of the 28 local workforce development areas (LWDAs) of Texas. Researchers estimate market rates using a combination of survey data and TWC administrative records data on published rates of providers who accept subsidies. In conducting the study, researchers draw a sample of child care providers from a list of licensed and registered child care facilities provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Child Care Regulation department (HHSC CCR). TXICFW research assistants call providers in the sample to conduct the Child Care Market Rate Survey over the phone. The survey is offered in English, Spanish, or Vietnamese, depending on the provider’s preference.

The Child Care Market Rate Surveys for licensed and registered homes and licensed child care centers cover similar topics. However, home-based facilities provide detailed information concerning each child under their care (age, exact schedule of care, and rate charged). In contrast, center-based facilities provide rates by age group and by whether care was full-day or part-day (less than six hours per day).

Data collection for the Child Care Market Rate Study typically occurs from September to May each year. After collecting data, researchers compile, clean, and analyze data. Subsequently, TXICFW publishes findings in the Annual Child Care Market Rate Report. Child care providers who complete the survey also receive a results leaflet. This leaflet contains the average full-time and part-time hourly rates for their area by facility type and age of child. TWC and the Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) use this information to help set subsidy rates for low-income families participating in the Child Care Services Program.

Child Care Cost of Quality  Study

The Child Care Cost of Quality Study aims to explore the cost of providing quality child care in Texas. Researchers estimate the price charged for higher-quality care under Texas Rising Star (TRS) or other recognized sources of accreditation relative to other child care providers in the state. The TXICFW team draws the study sample alongside the Child Care Market Rate Survey sample. Each year, the study alternates between surveying licensed child care centers and surveying licensed and registered child care homes. Providers randomly selected to participate in the Child Care Cost of Quality Study are asked to complete the Child Care Market Rate Survey and an additional set of questions focused on quality of care.

Data collection for the Child Care Cost of Quality Study typically occurs from September to March each year. Once data collection is finished, researchers compile, clean, and analyze the data. TXICFW publishes the findings in the Annual Cost of Quality Price Modeling Report. Subsequently, TXICFW sends the report to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The report presents several calculators focused on factors related to the structural quality of early childhood education (ECE) programs. These factors include staff turnover; staff education and experience; staff training expenses; staff earnings and benefits; and curriculum, assessment, and staff planning time. Ultimately, the calculators assist providers, LWDBs, and the state in understanding cost drivers for improving quality. In addition, the calculators help reveal which structural quality factors providers use to reach higher quality tiers.