Child Health in Texas

Childhood is a critical period of rapid growth and development. Children will go through a lot of changes. At a very young age, quick physical growth periods take place and children develop cognitive, social, and life skills. They also build habits and behaviors that impact their future health.Kids running in a field.

DSHS Maternal and Child Health (MCH) supports Texas families as their children grow. MCH defines childhood as ages 1-12. The 2019 Texas Demographic Center estimates there are 6,919,588 children in Texas under age 18. Over 40% are ages 5-11 and about 28% are birth-4.

MCH addresses different levels of health prevention and promotion. MCH uses proven strategies, data, and research to:

  • Increase health-promoting behaviors;
  • Decrease child injuries;
  • Promote healthy environments;
  • Reduce overweight and obesity in children in Texas;
  • Increase partnerships with stakeholders across Texas; and
  • Increase developmental screenings.

Emerging Issues in Child Health in Texas include:

  • Food security;
  • Screen time use;
  • Dental health;
  • Uninsured or under insured youth;
  • Childhood asthma;
  • Mental health; 
  • Poverty; and
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

For support with any of the emerging issues, please visit the Early Childhood Texas website below for resources.

Early Childhood Texas Website

The Early Childhood Texas website is a one-stop shop to access information about programs and resources available from:

  • Texas Workforce Commission;
  • Texas Education Agency;
  • Texas Department of Family and Protective Services;
  • Texas Department of State Health Services; and 
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The website offers Texans information and resources in the following areas:

  • Health & Development: child development (including resources for children with special needs), nutrition, health tips, and healthcare;
  • Parenting: child safety, parenting tips and support, and at-home learning activities;
  • Child Care & Education: child care and after school programs, pre-kindergarten, Head Start, and Early Childhood Special Education; and
  • Eligibility Programs: state sponsored programs and assistance opportunities for Texas families.


Help Your Child Grow and Thrive!

CDC Milestone Tracker App information. Learn more at

As a parent, you already have what it takes to help your young child learn and grow. Watch your child’s amazing progress by tracking their developmental milestones —how they play, learn, speak, act, and move – and sharing that progress with your child’s doctor at every check-up.

Check out free tools from Learn the Signs. Act Earlyto help you track your child’s milestones!

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its developmental milestones. These milestone checklists help parents, health care providers, and early childhood professionals identify children with developmental delays or disabilities at younger ages. This can connect families to proven interventions earlier.

The checklists show when 75% of children should reach certain milestones. This makes it easier to determine when a child might need further evaluation. A checklist is available for each recommended well-child visit including ages 15 and 30 months.

Child Psychiatry Access Network - for Providers

The Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN) can enhance child and youth mental health care at your practice and save you time. There is no cost to you or your patients for this evidence-based, clinician-to-clinician program. Texas CPAN offers real-time access to a multidisciplinary network of mental health experts in your region—including child psychiatrists—for peer-to-peer consults by phone, vetted and personalized referrals and resources, and behavioral health continuing medical education (CMEs) credits.

Call 888-901-CPAN (2726)

Contact us for more information on child health or the Maternal and Child Health programs at: 

Texas Department of State Health Services
Maternal & Child Health
PO Box 149347, Mail Code 1922
Austin, TX 78714-9347
512-776-7373: Phone
512-458-7658: Fax

External links are informational and DSHS does not endorse them. These external sites may also not be accessible to individuals with disabilities.