In a report released today, Texas Care for Children is recommending lawmakers restore funding in public services to improve children’s well-being and save money.
The report says Texas is spending up to $20 billion annually because the state does less to respond to the well-being of its children. The report points to the state’s rates of children living in poverty and teen pregnancies. The rate of children are living in poverty, 27 percent, is seven percent higher than the national average. And there are 52.2 teen births per 1000 teenagers — 20 births more than the national average.
Eileen Garcia, the chief executive of Texans Care for Children, says the $20 billion in spending is a result in funding cuts to public services, such as education and health services.
“We’re losing so much potential in our children, and as our report highlights there are real hard financial costs when we don’t give children the support they need to grow up successful,” Garcia says.
Garcia says he idea behind this report is to better their lives of Texas’s children while simultaneously saving Texas money. Texas has consistently underfunded its public systems and services, Garcia adds.
“These are investments, when we talk about our social services and our public programs, these are things that lead to child success,” Garcia says. “When we leave problems unanswered, when we leave mental heath issues that then exasperate, when we leave those neglected, we still pay the costs. It’s just whether we invest and allow for good outcomes or just constantly fix problems.”