Texas Child Care Licensing 101
Are you looking to open your own child care center, but not quite sure where to start? Before you start buying toys, and bringing in customers, you need to get a license. Proper licensing of your center ensures your operation isn’t only compliant with the law, it keeps the children in your care safe.
Each state has its own rules and requirements for people to get a child care license application approved and start their own daycare business. If you live in Texas, all of its child care licensing is handled and administered by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Child Care Licensing (CCL) Division.
There are four types of child care licenses in Texas you’ll choose to apply for depending on the type of operation you decided to run:
- Listed Family Homes
- Registered Child Care Homes
- Licensed Child Care Homes
- Licensed Child Care Center
Child Care Operation Types
Before starting your license application process, you need to figure out what type of child care operation you’re going to run—this will determine which type of license you need to apply for.
There are several types of child care operations you’ll most likely be operating under; if you’re not sure what type of operation your business is considered or have questions about the application process, your local CCL office can help and make sure you’re applying correctly.
Licensed Child Care Home. In licensed family child care home operations, service is provided inside the license holder’s home. Care is expected for at least two hours per day (but fewer than 24 hours per day) and for at least three days per week. The operation can care for a maximum of 12 children who are up to 13 years of age. This operation type will apply for the Licensed Child Care Home license.
Registered Child Care Home. This type of operation provides child care services inside the license holder’s home. Care is expected for at least four hours per day, at least three days per week, and for at least three weeks in a row. Registered homes can take care of at most 12 children at any given time. This operation type will apply for the Registered Child Care Home license.
Listed Family Home. In listed family homes, family child care services are provided inside the home of the license holder. Care is expected to be provided to children from newborn age to 13 years old. The license holder should provide care for at least four hours per day, for three or more days per week, and for at least three weeks in a row. This operation type will apply for the Listed Family Home license.
Child Care Center. This child care option operates in a facility outside of the license holder’s home. They are allowed to provide care for seven or more kids under the age of 14. They need to operate for at least two hours per day, three days per week. They may not provide overnight care to the children. This operation type will apply for the Licensed Child Care Center license.
Before or After School Programs. This type of child care operation provides child care for children before and after school hours and during holidays. They should also be open and operating for at least two hours every day, three days per week. Before or After School programs are allowed to care for children from ages three to 11. This operation type will apply for the Licensed Child Care Center license.
Texas’s Licensing Process
The process for obtaining your child care license is similar for both home-based and center-based providers. Here are the steps and resources you need to get your child care license in Texas. More information about Texas’s s licensing process can be found on the Texas Health and Human Services website.
Step One: Attend a Pre-Application Class
The Texas child care license application process requires you to attend a pre-application class before you file an application for your in-home family child care license. For center-based child care operations, you need to contact your local CCL office as well as attend a pre-application class. These classes discuss information like the forms you need to submit along with your license application package. You can find a nearby CCL office on the Texas HHS website.
Step Two: Review Texas’s Licensing Requirements
There are a ton of small details about obtaining a child care license in Texas that can be easy to forget about if you’re not careful. When you’re studying Texas’s licensing requirements, don’t forget to do your research on aspects of your business such as:
- Liability insurance
- Background checks
- Municipal zoning bylaws
- Building codes (for both in-home and centers)
- Inspection requirements
- Application fees
- Minimum operating standards for child safety
If you have questions about the requirements or need help with your licensing application process, all applicants can contact their local licensing office for more information or assistance.
Step Three: Submit Your CCL Application
After you’ve attended a pre-application class, you can now begin putting together your Child Care License application. Part of your application should include filling out the forms included in the information package you received in your pre-application class. If you’re applying for the Licensed Child Care Center designation license, you need to submit these forms:
- Form 2910: Child Care Licensing Application
- Form 2911: Child Care Licensing Governing Body & Director Designation
- Form 2948: Plan of Operation for Licensed Child Care Operations
- Form 2985: Affidavit for Applicants for Employment with a Licensed Child Care Operation
- Form 2760: Controlling Person—Child Care Licensing
Step Four: Create and Register Your Child Care Provider Account
Congratulations! If you’re a center-based operation, at this step your application has been approved, you’ve been given an operation number, and you can legally begin your family child care center. The last step is to create a child care regulation account for your center where you’ll submit any additional forms and background checks, as well as update your center’s information.
For at-home centers, you will create a child care licensing account after your pre-application class since your account is where you submit your application and other licensing documents for approval. A few days after you submit your licensing application, a representative from the Texas CLL office will review and approve your application. Once you have been approved and have received your license number, you’re all set to start your child care operation!