After COVID-19 federal relief funds ended in September and the Texas House voted Nov. 17 to remove education savings accounts—or private school vouchers—from legislation, child care in Cy-Fair is likely to prove more difficult to pay for—or find at all—as like many other parts of the Houston area, availability is scarce.

By the numbers

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, child care issues result in a loss of nearly $9.4 billion annually in Texas.

Texas child care providers have received more than $4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds since 2020. However, those funds expired in September, according to previous reporting by Community Impact.

Research and advocacy nonprofit Children at Risk reported in July that one-third of all ZIP codes in Texas have a minimum of three times more children eligible for early child care than there are seats available with local providers. Officials used 2022 U.S. Census Bureau data to define a child as eligible for care if they were age 0-5 and both of their parents were employed.

In the Greater Houston area, 45 ZIP codes qualify as child care deserts, according to data provided by Children at Risk. Additionally, the accessibility of subsidized child care seats saw a roughly 29% decrease from 2020 to 2022, falling from an average of 38.1 seats per 100 children of low-income working parents to 27.2 seats.

While Cy-Fair doesn't have any ZIP codes officially considered child care deserts, two of the 10 ZIP codes in Cy-Fair ISD's boundaries—77040 in the Jersey Village area and 77084 in the Bear Creek area—have seats for fewer than half of the children who are eligible.

Just two ZIP codes in Cy-Fair have more seats than eligible children—77041 and 77064 in the eastern part of the district.
What the experts say

Lindsey Griffin, regional director for three Cy-Fair-area child care locations of Primrose Schools, said the facilities are near capacity, and she foresees a waitlist for acceptance in the near future as the area continues to grow.

“We are currently full at this [Crossroads Park] school. For infants through our 3-year-old programs, completely full. We're not on a waitlist as of yet, but I foresee that happening very, very soon,” Griffin said. “We have a lot of new families coming into the area ... I think that's where we're getting a lot of our families because a lot of times they don't necessarily live in the area.”

Put in perspective

The Crossroads Park location has a capacity of 210 students from 6 weeks old to private pre-K age—but the Children at Risk report shows the ZIP code in which the school is located—77065—has 1,891 children ages 0-5 with two working parents and just 1,616 early child care seats.

However, there is some relief in site for the Cypress area, as a new First Steps Learning Center school is coming to the Copperfield area on Jan. 8, said Scarlett Stredic, the director at the new location.