August 16, 2019

Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, HHS Executive Commissioner

Contact: 
Danielle Pestrikoff, 512-424-6951
Danielle.Pestrikoff@hhsc.state.tx.us

AUSTIN – As the school year begins, Texas Health and Human Services is encouraging parents and guardians who are looking for child care to research their options, choose a state-regulated provider and learn more about child care regulation in Texas.

The public can research options and get details about providers at TXChildCareSearch.org, the state's website that tracks performance and violations of child care operations.

HHSC helps protect children by educating child care providers on state regulations, conducting routine inspections of licensed and registered operations and investigating allegations of violations of state standards.  

"It's not easy leaving your baby in the care of someone else. The reality is that thousands of Texas families rely on child care every day, and choosing the right caregiver can be challenging," said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, HHS executive commissioner. "We want parents to make informed choices and always choose safe, regulated care for their children."

Texas health officials urge parents to view the compliance history of operations they are considering for child care. Members of the public can visit TXChildCareSearch.org to see an operation's full compliance history. Parents and guardians also are encouraged to tour the center or home with their child while the operation is caring for other children. Meet the caregivers and director, ask questions and follow up by visiting the child care operation unannounced.

"Choosing child care is one of the most important and emotional decisions young families make. It is vital for families to find child care that is licensed through the state of Texas. Licensing's website should be the first place families go to find child care," said Kim Kofron, executive director at the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children. "It provides a list of all licensed child care programs, from family homes to child care centers, as well as a listing of their licensing visits and citations. Once families find the child care programs that might work for their family, they can then ask questions about hours of operation, teacher qualifications, child-teacher ratios, curriculum and costs, along with all the other questions they might have."

Several child care safety reform bills were signed by Gov. Greg Abbott this past legislative session. These reforms will enhance the regulations and practices already in place and will increase peace of mind for parents and child care operations across the state. When implemented, there will be new standard requirements for listed family homes, as well as strengthened requirements for safety training, safe sleeping standards and reporting of incidents for all child care operations.

"There is no greater priority than protecting the safety and welfare of our children. The 86th Legislature took action toward this goal by passing comprehensive child care safety reforms such as my Senate Bill 568 and Senate Bill 569," said Sen. Joan Huffman. "These bills, now signed into law, will provide Child Care Licensing with more tools and resources to work toward preventing, and hopefully eliminating, tragic incidents occurring at licensed child care operations."

Parents can visit the Frequently Asked Questions page for information about types of child care operations in Texas, the types of programs and services offered, the process of permitting and issuance and information on reports, inspections and enforcement actions.

Click here for more information on how to choose a child care provider. Texas residents can dial 2-1-1 to learn about HHS programs and services or visit hhs.texas.gov.