Essential workers struggling to find child care amid coronavirus shutdowns can now find a provider and potentially receive financial assistance through a new Southeast Texas support system.

“Any essential worker should be able to find [child care], and any essential worker should be able to afford it,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

The system, organized through the City of Houston and Harris County, is funded by a collaboration between public, private and nonprofit entities.

Workforce Solutions has provided $10 million for financial assistance for childcare services across Southeast Texas, including the 13-county region surrounding of the Greater Houston area.

The goal, Hidalgo said, is to get essential workers connected with child care workers within two days of inquiring for assistance.

A consistent learning environment is essential for early childhood development, said Melanie Johnson, president and CEO of Collaborative for Children, the agency that runs the child care database.

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we found that it took children up to two years to make up for lost learning time," Johnson said.

Those interested in finding available child care can search the database at or by calling 713-334-5980.