Start a Daycare in Texas – Licensing – Regulations – Laws
|START A DAYCARE IN TEXAS||LICENSE OR ACCREDITATION|
|CHILD CARE STANDARDS||HEALTH PRACTICES|
|FIND A DAYCARE OR CHILD CARE IN TEXAS||FIRST AID KITS|
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services aims to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the children of the State of Texas who reside in child care facilities by establishing a statewide standards for their safety and protection and by regulating the facilities through a licensing program. It aims to monitor operations of licensed child care centers for compliance with the licensing standards, rules and laws of the state of Texas. The Department shall inform parents and the public about child care and the histories of specific child care operations, and child-placing agencies. It shall also provide technical assistance to child care providers on how to meet licensing standards, rules and laws of the state.
LICENSE OR ACCREDITATION
A licensed child care center is an operation providing care for seven or more children younger than 14 years of age for less than 24 hours per day at a location other than the permit holder’s home. A child care facility can only be operated by a person, partnership, association, or corporation upon issuance of a license or a certificate to operate under accreditation by the Child Care Licensing Division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
To apply for a license, an individual must go to an office of the Child Care Licensing Division to fill out the following forms:
- A Listing Request form:
Form 2986 (English) – Form 2986 (Spanish)
- A Request for Criminal History and Central Registry Check form on all applicable persons:
Form 2971 (English) – Form 2971 (Spanish)
- A child care Fee Schedule form, Form 2988:
Form 2988 (English) – Form 2988 (Spanish)
Submit the completely filled out form and with the corresponding $20 fee. A licensing staff will conduct a pre-application interview with the applicant to discuss requirements, procedures, and answer questions related to the application. The applicant will be given forms and materials needed to apply for a permit which will include the following:
- Copy of state minimum standard rules for the type of operation applicant plans to open.
- Copy of the child care licensing law (Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 42)
- Required application materials/forms.
In applying for a license, the following materials must be submitted for review before the application is accepted:
- A completed Child Day Care Application form, Form 2910
- A completed floor plan of the building and surrounding space to be used, including dimensions of the indoor and the outdoor space. Floor plans submitted for a residential child care operation do not need to include the dimensions of the outdoor space but do need to show the dimensions and purpose of all rooms and must specify where children, and if applicable, caregivers will sleep
- Background check information on all applicable persons
- A completed Personal History Statement, Form 2982 (Word Document), for each applicant who is a sole proprietor or partner. For child day care, all persons designed as director or co-director must complete this form
- Proof that the for-profit corporation or the limited liability company is not delinquent in paying the franchise tax
- Proof of Liability Insurance. Liability insurance coverage for injury to a child that occurs while the child in under the care of the facility or on the premises of the operation must be in the amount of at least $300,000 for each occurrence of negligence
- A completed Plan of Operation, Form 2948, for child day care operations. The Plan of Operation must show how the proposed operation will comply with the law and the appropriate minimum standard rules
- A completed Child Care Fee Schedule form, Form 2988 and fee. A licensed child care operation will require a $35 application fee, and a $35 initial fee
- A completed Governing Body/Director Designation Form, Form 2911
When the application and its supporting documentation has been submitted, Licensing staff will review the paper work in 21 days. At the completion of the review, the applicant shall be informed in writing that the application is either:
- Complete and accepted for processing
- Incomplete or the materials submitted do now show compliance with the law or minimum standard rules. The notification letter will explain what has to be done to complete the application and you are given an opportunity to re-submit the needed documentation. The applicant has three opportunities to submit the required materials. Failure to complete the requirements in three attempts will cause the application not to be accepted and applicant cannot apply again within one year from the date the last application was returned as incomplete.
CHILD CARE STANDARDS
The operation of a child care center must strictly follow and meet the stringent requirements of the state in order to be issued and keep a license to operate. It must be able to meet the child care standards in the different aspects of its operation.
Nutrition and Food Services
Children in the child care center must be provided with breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If the children will have to stay until dinner time, dinner must be provided also. A child must not go more than three hours without a meal or snack unless the child is sleeping. Drinking water must always be available to each child and must be served in safe and sanitary manner. Food must not be used as a reward or punishment because research has shown that offering food as reward or punishment places undue importance on food for the child and may have negative effects by promoting responses that lead to obesity or poor eating habit.
If the child care center is participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) administered by the Texas Department of Human Services, the center may opt to meet those requirements rather than the requirements under the Minimum Standards for Child Care Centers.
The child care center must see to it that well-balanced meals are served as they are necessary for children to grow, think, fight infection and fuel their bodies. Since a significant portion of a child’s waking hours are spend in the child care, the child care center and the parents of the child can work together to provide food that is adequate in amount and type to meet each child’s individual metabolic, growth, and energy needs. The child care center and the family of the child must see to it that food is available to provide a second should the child requests it. It will help ensure that the child’s daily nutritional needs are met.
Parents may opt to provide meals and/or snacks for their children instead of the child care center providing them. However, the enrollment agreement signed by the parent must include a statement that the parent is choosing to provide the child’s means and/or snacks from home and that the parent understands that the child care center is not responsible for its nutritional value or for meeting the child’s daily food needs. The child care center must provide safe and proper storage and service of the individual meals and snacks provided by the parents.
Child care center employees who will be preparing the food of the children must be made aware of the children’s food allergies. Children with allergies are at risk when the food is not prepared by their own parent or by the center employee who has knowledge of the food ingredients and individual children’s needs.
For children who require special diet, the child care center must obtain a written approval from a physician or a registered and licensed dietician, to be included in the child’s records, to serve a therapeutic or special diet. All personnel involved in food preparation must be informed of a child’s special diet requirements. The child care center can serve nutrient concentrates and supplements such as protein powder, liquid protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nonfood substances only with written instructions from a physician.
The following are the general requirements that apply to feed service and preparation:
- You must sanitize food service equipment, dishes, and utensils after each use
- If your child-care center lacks adequate facilities for sanitizing dishes and utensils, you must use only disposable, single-use items
- You must wash re-useable napkins, bibs, and tablecloths after each use
- You must discard single-service napkins, bibs, dishes, and utensils after use
- Caregivers with open wounds and/or any injury that inhibits hand washing, such as casts, bandages, or braces, must not prepare food
- You must serve children’s food on plates, napkins, or other sanitary holders such as a high chair tray, and you must not place food on a bare table or eating surface, which includes the floor
- You must not serve foods that present a risk of choking for infants and toddlers
- You must cover all food stored in the refrigerator
- When meals are prepared at the child-care center, the food preparation area must be separated from the eating, play, and bathroom areas. You must not use the food preparation area as a passageway while food is being prepared
- You must not store poisonous or toxic materials and cleaning supplies with food.
Menus must be planned in advance to ensure that adequate food will be available at any given feeding time. Posting menus will help to inform parents about food served in the child care center and will enable them to balance the same with the food they serve at home. Menus must be posted in conspicuous places where parents can see them. Substitutions must have a comparable food value and record of any substitution must be kept in the child care center. Copies of dated menus must be kept and must be available for review for three months.
A child care center must have a sanitation inspection before an initial permit is issued and must be repeated at least once every 12 months. The inspection must be conducted by a state or local sanitation official. A copy of the most recent sanitation report, letter, or checklist must be kept and must be available for review at the child care center during the hours of operation. The identity and contact number of the person who conducted the inspection must be included in the report.
Steps must be taken to ensure a healthy environment for the children at the child care center. The building, grounds, and equipment must be cleaned, repaired, and maintained in order to protect the health of the children. The following must be strictly observed in order to protect the health of the children while they are at the child care center:
- Setting aside toys and equipment that are placed in children’s mouths, or are otherwise contaminated by body secretion or excrement, to be sanitized before handling by another child
- Machine washing cloth toys, if used, at least weekly and when contaminated
- Machine washing all linens at least weekly, and when soiled or before another child uses them
- Sanitizing sleeping equipment before a different child uses it and when soiled
- Sanitizing potty-chairs after each child’s use
- Emptying water play tables and toys used in water tables daily, sanitizing, and ensuring children and caregivers wash their hands before using the water table
- Maintaining sand boxes and sand tables in a sanitary manner
- Making all garbage inaccessible to children and managing it to keep the child-care center inside and outside, free of insects, rodents, and offensive odors, and disposing of it according to local and state requirements
- Keeping all floors, ceilings, and walls in good repair and clean. Paints used at the child-care center must be lead-free
- Keeping all parts of the child-care center used by children well heated, lighted, and ventilated
- Sanitizing table tops, furniture, and other similar equipment used by children when soiled or contaminated with matter such as food, body secretions, or excrement
- Clearly marking cleaning supplies and other toxic materials and keeping them separate from food and inaccessible to children.
Preventive steps such as regular and proper hand washing, ventilating rooms regularly with fresh air, and establishing cleaning routines help limit the spread of infections among the children. It is a known fact that germs do not easily grow in clean, well-ventilated and dry environments. Transmission of diseases and germs in the child care center could be traced to contamination of toys and other objects. Having enough toys to rotate through the cleaning process will allow the children to be involved in active plays while at the same time maintaining a healthy environment.
Sanitation, especially of eating utensils and toys, is very important in keeping the children in the child care center healthy. Sanitizing utensils and toys involve the following steps:
- Washing with water and soap
- Rinsing with clear water
- Soaking in or spraying on a disinfecting solution for at least 10 minutes. Rinsing with cool water those items that children will likely place in their mouths
- Allowing the surface or article to air-dry.
In many cases, the health of the children in the child care center is compromised when the employees do not observe accepted health practices. One very important way of avoiding contaminating children is a very simple practice – hand washing. Research has shown that hand washing is the single most effective practice that prevents the spread of germs in a child care setting.
Employees must wash their hands:
- Before eating or handling food or medication
- Before feeding a child
- After arriving at the child-care center
- After diapering a child
- After assisting a child with toileting
- After personal toileting
- After handling or cleaning body fluids, such as after wiping noses, mouths, or bottoms, and tending sores
- After handling or feeding animals
- After outdoor activities
- After handling raw food products
- After eating, drinking, or smoking
- After using any cleaners or toxic chemicals.
When hand washing and cleaning routines are regularly observed and practiced, the children learn good health and safety practices.
Illness and Injury
Unless the child care center is licensed to provide get-well care, it must not admit a child for care when one or more of the following conditions exist:
- The illness prevents the child from participating comfortably in child-care center
activities including outdoor play
- The illness results in a greater need for care than caregivers can provide without
compromising the health, safety, and supervision of the other children in care
The child has one of the following, unless medical evaluation by a health-care professional indicates that you can include the child in the child-care center’s activities:
- Oral temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater, accompanied by behavior changes or other signs or symptoms of illness
- Rectal temperature of 101.4 degrees or greater, accompanied by behavior changes or other signs or symptoms of illness
- Armpit temperature of 99.4 degrees or greater, accompanied by behavior changes or other signs or symptoms of illness
- Symptoms and signs of possible severe illness such as lethargy, abnormal breathing, uncontrolled diarrhea, two or more vomiting episodes in 24 hours, rash with fever, mouth sores with drooling, behavior changes, or other signs that the child may be severely ill
- A health-care professional has diagnosed the child with a communicable disease, as defined by the Texas Department of Health ,and the child does not have medical documentation to indicate that the child is no longer contagious.
When a child suddenly becomes ill while in the care of the child care center, the parents of child must be contacted immediately so that child can be picked up from the center. While waiting for the parents, the child must be cared for separate from the other children. The sick child must be given appropriate attention and supervision until the parent arrives for pick up.
When a child has critical illness or injury, the child care center must immediately contact emergency medical services or take the child to the nearest emergency room. First-aid treatment or CPR must be given when needed and the child’s parents and the physician identified in the child’s record must be immediately contacted.
Supervision alone will not be able to prevent all accidents and injuries in the child care center so it necessary that the environment be free of any health or safety hazard in order to reduce the risks to children. Buildings, grounds and equipment must be in a state of good repair to lessen the threat to health and safety of the children in the child care center.
All areas in the center that are accessible to the children must be free from hazards including, but not limited to the following:
- Electrical outlets accessible to a child younger than five years must have childproof covers or safety outlets
- 220-volt electrical connections within a child’s reach must be covered with a screen or guard
- Air conditioners, electric fans, and heaters must be mounted out of all children’s reach or have safeguards that keep any child from being injured
- Glass in sliding doors must be clearly marked with decals or other materials placed at children’s eye level
- Play materials and equipment must be safe and free from sharp or rough edges and toxic paints
- Poisonous or potentially harmful plants must be inaccessible to all children
- All storage chests, boxes, trunks, or similar items with hinged lids must be equipped with a lid support designed to hold the lid open in any position, be equipped with ventilation holes, and must not have a latch that might close and trap a child inside
- All bodies of water such as pools, hot tubs, ponds, creeks, birdbaths, fountains, buckets, and rain barrels must be inaccessible to all children.
The child care center must also see to it that children are protected from other persons. People whose behavior and/or health status poses an immediate threat or danger to the children’s health and safety must not be allowed when children are in care. People must not consume alcohol or any controlled substances without prescription while in the child care center, during transport of children, or on field trips.
Nobody must smoke or use tobacco products on or the premises of the child care center, on its playground, during transport of children, or during field trips. Scientific evidence has linked respiratory health risks of children to second hand smoke. Children who are exposed to second hand smoke are at a higher risk of developing respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia.
Sometimes, children need to take their medication throughout the day, including the times that they are in the child care center. The child care center personnel may administer medication to a child under the following conditions:
- Parents must sign an authorization for child care center employee to administer medication to a child, including the times of administering medication according to label directions
- Medication must be in an original container with a label that contains the child’s full name and the date it was brought to the child care center
- Medication must be administered in dosages according to the label directions or as amended by a physician.
- Medication must not be administered after the expiration date, as stated in the label.
Records must be kept when the child care center administers medication to a child. The following information must be recorded and kept in the child’s file:
- Full name of the child who received the medication
- Name of the medication
- Date, time, and amount of medication administered
- Full name of the employee administering the medication.
All medication records must be kept in the file of the child care center for three months from the date of administering the same.
All medications must be put in locked storage and must be beyond the reach of children. They must be stored in such a manner that they will not contaminate food. If refrigeration is required for the medication, it must be kept separate from food.
First-aid kits must be kept at the child care center during its hours of operation, during field trips, and while transporting children. First-aid kits must be clearly labeled, kept in clean and sanitary conditions and must be easily accessible to all employees. They are to be stored in designated locations that are known to all employees and must be beyond the reach of children.
The first-aid kit must contain the following supplies that must not have expired:
- A guide to first aid and emergency care
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic solution or wipes
- Cotton balls
- Multi-size adhesive bandages
- Sterile gauze pads
- Waterproof, disposable gloves.
Release of Children
The child care center must release the children only to a parent or a person designated by the parent. The center must develop policies for the release of the children, including procedures of verifying the identity of a person authorized to pick up a child. The child care center policies must include a reasonable means of recording the identity of persons picking up or receiving a child, such as a copy of valid photo identification, driver’s license number and car tag numbers. The information must be retained in the child’s records for at least three months.
Space that will allow free movements for exercise and development of physical skills is very important for the well-being of the children. A crowded environment will likely result to conflicts between children and the spread of germs. A child care center must have at least 30 square feet of indoor activity space for each child. Indoor activity space is determined by measuring all indoor activity space wall to wall on the inside at floor level. Floor space occupied by permanent fixtures, such as bookcases and shelves, is not included in the determination of indoor activity space. Local ordinances or rules of the fire marshals may impose additional restrictions or limitations in the determination of the indoor activity space for the children.
The center must have 80 square feet of outdoor activity space for each child using the outdoor activity area at one time. The square footage in the outdoor activity space must at least comprise 25 percent of the licensed indoor capacity. The outdoor activity area must be fenced or must have a wall at least four feet high. Each fenced yard must have at least two exits, an entrance to the building counting as one exit but another exit must be away from the building.
Furniture and Equipment
Tables and chairs that are safe, easy to clean, and of a height and size appropriate for each age group in care must be provided in the child care center. Children must be provided with cot or mat to sleep or rest on as follows:
- An individual crib for each non-walking child younger than 18 months to sleep or rest in
- An individual cot, bed, or mat that is waterproof or washable for each walking child through four years to sleep or rest on
- Individual arrangements for sleep or rest for children five years and older who are in care for more than five hours per day, or whose individual care needs require a nap or rest time.
Cots, beds, or mats must be labeled with the individual child’s name. Floor mats for napping must be marked or colored in order to distinguish the sleeping side from the floor side.
Outdoor Safety and Play Equipment
Outdoor equipment and supplies used in the child care center or away from the center such as during field trips must be safe for the children as follows:
- The outdoor activity space must be arranged so that caregivers can adequately supervise children at all times
- The design, scale, and location of the equipment must be appropriate for the body size and ability of the children using the equipment
- Equipment must not have openings or angles that can entrap a child’s body or body part that has penetrated the opening
- Equipment must not have protrusions or openings that can entangle something around a child’s neck or a child’s clothing
- Equipment must be securely anchored according to manufacturer’s specifications to prevent collapsing, tipping, sliding, moving, or overturning
- All anchoring devices must be placed below the level of the playing surface to prevent tripping or injury resulting from a fall
- Equipment must not have exposed pinch, crush, or shear points, on or underneath it
- Climbing equipment or swings must not be installed over asphalt or concrete unless the asphalt or concrete is covered with properly installed unitary surfacing materials
- Outdoor porches or platforms more than 20 inches in height for pre-kindergarten and younger children, and more than 30 inches in height for school-age children, must be equipped with protective barriers that surround the elevated surface except for entrances and exits that prevent children from crawling over or through the barrier.
Fire Safety and Emergency Procedures
The child care center must undergo a fire inspection before a license to operate is issued. The inspection must be repeated at least once every twelve months by a state or local fire marshal. A copy of the most recent fire inspection report must be kept at the center and must be available for review during the period of operation. The report must contain the information on the identity and position, including contact number of the inspector.
An emergency evacuation and relocation plan must be designed to ensure the safety of the children during a fire, weather or other emergency that will require evacuation and/or relocation of the children. The evacuation procedure must be routinely practiced at different times during the center’s hours of operation.
The emergency evacuation and relocation procedure must include the following:
- The first responsibility in an emergency is to move the children to a designated safe area that is known to all personnel and volunteers of the center.
- An employee of the child care center must be designated to call the fire department in the event of fire, danger of fire, explosion, toxic fumes or other chemical release.
- An employee must be designated to secure the children’s emergency numbers, emergency medical authorizations, and attendance record during the emergency.
- The person in charge of the child care center must ensure that all children are accounted for at the designated evacuation area.
State Licensing Contact
All child care centers in the state of Texas are constantly monitored for compliance to the requirements of all pertinent laws and regulations in order to eliminate any substandard facility that put the children in child care centers at risks.
FIND A DAYCARE OR CHILD CARE IN TEXAS
- Cedar Hill
- College Station
- Corpus Christi
- Del Rio
- El Paso
- Flower Mound
- Fort Hood
- Fort Worth
- Grand Prairie
- Haltom City
- La Porte
- League City
- Missouri City
- New Braunfels
- North Richland Hills
- Port Arthur
- Round Rock
- San Angelo
- San Antonio
- San Marcos
- Sugar Land
- Texas City
- The Woodlands
Additional requirements for the operation of a child care center may be imposed by the different cities or counties in the state of Texas so it is necessary to check with the city and county government. The main state licensing contact is:
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
P.O. Box 149030
Mail Code E-550
Austin, TX 78714-9030
Phone: (800) 862-5252 or (512) 438-4800
Web Page: http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/About_Child_Care_Licensing/