Licensing Rules For Starting A Daycare In Texas
In the state of Texas, there are specific requirements that one has to meet before starting a daycare center. There are several factors to be considered if you are going to set up a daycare center in Texas, and they have been addressed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Licensing Division. This ranges from administration, record keeping, personnel, child ratio, group sizes, to additional factors.
Whether your plan is to set up a Child Care Center or In-Home Family Care in the state of Texas, you meet the minimum requirements. If those requirements are not met, the center will not be licensed, and therefore, you will not be approved to operate.
Child Care Center
Child Care centers are categorized into Center-Based Care and Center-Based Infant Care. The difference between the two is just the age range of the children in each center. The Center-Based Infant Care is for children one year to 5 years, while the Center-Based Care is for children up to 13 years. One must get a permit before operating any Child Care Center because the state of Texas ensures the protection of children. There are a few steps that you will need to follow when getting a permit. The steps are listed below:
- You need to attend a licensed center pre-application class. To get a date convenient for you, kindly contact any local child care licensing office within your locality.
- Acquaint yourself with all the necessary materials and resources that are given to you. During the pre-application class, you will be given an information packet, which includes additional forms for the completion of your application process. Usually, the content of the information packet may vary from one locality to the other, and you will be required to provide your contact information for the Child Care Licensing Staff in your location.
- After completing the application, you will send it with all the required documentation to the Child Care Licensing office near you. You will also pay a non-refundable fee of $35 to the address stated on the Licensed Child Care Fee Schedule.
- Once your application is submitted and payment made, you are expected to create a child care licensing account. This is done by completing an online registration, where you will provide all your details. An account will be created for you after Child Care Licensing accepts your application. After which you will be given an operation number.
After going through the procedures mentioned above, the center can be set up with the required facilities, which will be inspected to ensure that they are up to standard.
In-Home Family Care
To establish an In-Home Family Care, there are certain requirements that one’s home must meet for the safety and protection of children. These requirements are mainly meant for licensed or registered family homes but not for listed homes.
- Indoor Space: The indoor space of a licensed or certified child care home must have a minimum of 30 square feet of indoor useable activity space per child. The indoor useable activity space will determine the number of children that can be cared for in the home. It is important that one understands the term “indoor useable activity space.”
Indoor useable space is described as the space allocated to a child in the care home for the various activities the child is expected to participate in, such as rest/nap, interest centers, meal/snack time, individual activities, use of cribs, etc.
- Outdoor Space: The outdoor space of a licensed or registered child care home should be at least 80 square feet per child. According to the National Association for the education of Young Children, children require adequate outdoor space to play so that their gross motor skills are well developed, as well as them getting sufficient air and sunshine. In addition to sufficient outdoor space, there must be a fence that covers the space area for the safety of the children. The fence must have a height of at least four feet, except if the children are five years and above. Another necessary precaution is the number of exits required; a minimum of two exits are needed for the children. The gates must always be locked; however, the caregivers must always be on alert to open them whenever there is an emergency.
- Fire Inspection: Although fire inspections are not regulated by the licensing department and are not required, the local ordinances might require them as part of the minimum standards. Therefore, written approval is required from either the state or local fire marshal to be approved to take care of children.
- Toilets: An In-home family care must have a minimum of one bathroom and sink for the use of the children. These must be located within the home, with proper supervision by the caregivers. The children must have independent and safe access to the toilet and sink (for handwashing).The availability of running water soap is one thing that can never be overemphasized because the children will need it to wash their hands after using the toilet. Towels are also required, and they could either be single-use disposable or individual towels with the child’s name labeled on it.
Texas Child Care Regulations for Providers
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Licensing Division ensures that the licensed child care programs are: Child Care Centers, which can care for up to 7 or more children and Licensed Child Care Homes that care for 7 to 12 children. The minimum standards must be met for any Child Care Center or Child Care Home to be licensed to operate. They are inspected before they begin operation, and the results made public.
The Child Care Center or In-Home Family Care Center is expected to provide a copy of “A Parent’s Guide to Day Care” issued by the state to the parents of each child who bring their ward to the center or home. Also, the state of Texas believes in child discipline without harsh or cruel punishment methods. This is to promote self-discipline in the child, which is rooted in understanding. Every daycare center is expected to follow the stated guidelines to be licensed and allowed to operate in Texas.
Regulation of Child Care Centers And Family Child Care Homes (PDF)
Texas Department Of Family And Protective Services (PDF)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services-Becoming A Child Care Home Provider (PDF)