Verbal Testimony on House Bill 168

Public Policy Input — 2021

TCDD logo   Mary Durheim, Chair
Robert Schier III, Vice Chair
Beth Stalvey, MPH, PhD, Executive Director

6201 E. Oltorf, Suite 600
Austin, TX 78741-7509
  Phone: (512) 437-5432
Toll Free: (800) 262-0334
Fax: (512) 437-5434

Verbal Testimony on HB 168
Inclusive Child Care
March 16, 2021

Good Morning (Afternoon) Chairman Frank and Committee Members,

My name is Lauren Gerken, Public Policy Analyst for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, and I am here testifying on the bill. HB 168 will address a critical need among families of children with disabilities, without requiring exorbitant changes in provider operations or asking them to go beyond the scope of what is federally required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This bill promotes opportunities in more ways than one:

  1. When a child has access to a daycare facility, it allows their parents to stay in the Texas workforce. I have spoken with so many parents who were forced to leave fruitful careers because their local daycare providers refused to take their child because of their disability, and that parent had to stay home.
  2. When a child with a disability has access to inclusive daycare, they learn the adaptation skills they need to enter what is considered a mainstream classroom and workforce. They are also instilled with the belief and expectation that they are valuable members of the Lone Star State – That their fellow Texans want and need them in the community working, playing, and supporting the economy.
  3. When a child without a disability learns in a diverse environment, they learn compassion, adaptability, and that inclusivity should be foundational.

Thank you so much for your time today, and I am more than happy to answer any questions.

Lauren Gerken
Public Policy Analyst
Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities