Child Health in Texas

Children  

Childhood is a critical period due to rapid growth and development. Children will go through a lot of changes. At a very young age, there are periods of quick physical growth. And children develop cognitive, social, and life skills. They also build habits and behaviors that impact their future health. 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;
  • Increase healthy environments;
  • Reduce overweight and obesity in children in Texas;
  • Increase partnerships with stakeholders across Texas;
  • Increase developmental screenings; and 
  • Promote health equity.

Emerging Issues in Child Health in Texas:

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

Early Childhood Texas Website Launched!

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

  • The 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!

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 his or her developmental milestones —how he or she plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves – and sharing that progress with your child’s doctor at every check-up.

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

healthy child development JPG

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its developmental milestones. These milestone checklists help parents, healthcare providers, and early childhood professionals identify children with developmental 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.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)  

For information and resources about COVID-19 and child health, please visit the following links:

COVID-19 Information

Coping Strategies & Mental Health

These resources are specific for families with children ages 1 to 12 years. Visit the DSHS COVID-19 website for COVID-19 resources specific to children with special health care needs.  

Please 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
TitleV@dshs.texas.gov

 

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

Last updated May 10, 2022