Become a Child Care Center-Based Provider

The survey link below directs you to a voluntary questionnaire that will help determine whether a location is safe from potential environmental contamination. Based on the answers provided, the Texas Department of State Health Services will provide technical assistance and suggestions to help make sure child care centers are safe from environmental contamination.

Take the Questionnaire

The process for getting a permit to operate a child care operation in Texas is designed to protect children by building a cooperative relationship between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the applicant. Please become familiar with general requirements, rules and resources before you apply

Step 1 - Attend a Licensed Center Pre-Application Class

Contact your local Child Care Licensing office to get dates for pre-application classes in your area.

Step 2 - Become Familiar with Required Materials and Helpful Resources

You will receive an information packet during your pre-application class. The contents of information packets vary by location but will include supplemental forms to complete the application process, as well as contact information for local Child Care Licensing staff.

Please review the following links to learn more about some of the things you will need to consider when applying to become a child care provider

Licensing Requirements

Licensing regulates child-care offered in center-based and home-based operations. Child care includes the care, supervision, training, or education of an unrelated child or children (13 or younger) for less than 24 hours per day in a place other than the child's own home.  There are three types of center-based operations: licensed child-care centers, before or after-school programs and school-age programs.

Background Checks

Certain persons at child-care operations are required to complete a background check, which may include a Central Registry (child abuse and neglect registry), FBI, and a sex offender registry check. Background checks must be completed before a person provides direct care or has direct access to children in care and on a recurring basis thereafter. If a person has a history of abuse or neglect or has a criminal history, then the person may be prohibited from being at a child-care operation.

Minimum Standards

Child Care Licensing develops rules for child-care in Texas. Each set of minimum standards is based on a particular chapter of the Texas Administrative Code and the corresponding child-care operation permit type. Minimum standards are designed to reduce risk for children by providing basic requirements to protect the health, safety, and well-being of children in out-of-home care.

Liability Insurance

Insurance coverage is an important protection for your business. Child Care Licensing requires applicants for a licensed child-care center, before or after-school program, or school-age program to obtain proof of coverage before Licensing issues a permit. Learn more in the Texas Administrative Code.

Application Materials

Your complete application packet includes the application form, application fee, and other supplemental forms and documents. For example, a Plan of Operation, including policies and procedures, is a document that is a key part of the application for some licensed operations. It requires your time and attention. It is your written plan showing how you plan to comply with minimum standards. For example, it needs to include information about who is responsible for ensuring minimum standards are met at all times, the physical facility, activities, child to caregiver ratios, safety, and sanitation.

Application Inspection

After you submit a completed application, Child Care Licensing staff will conduct an inspection to ensure you and your operation comply with the applicable law and minimum standards. Licensing staff periodically inspects your operation to make sure it continues to meet minimum standards. After you operation demonstrates compliance with minimum standards, Licensing staff will issue you an initial or full license.

Technical Assistance

Child Care Licensing staff will assist you every time you need it. We will support you at your pre-application class, at every inspection, over the phone, and on-line. We encourage you to use the forms and documents created for you. Visit the on-line Technical Assistance Library.

Fees

Licensing is required to charge fees for processing applications, issuing permits, and conducting background checks. Licensing also collects an annual fee that is due each year on the anniversary date of the issuance of your license.  The money from fees is deposited in the state's general revenue fund.

Compliance History

Information about your operation and its compliance history will be available on our public web site at www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Care/Search_Texas_Child_Care/default.asp. It is available to anyone.

Zoning, Building Codes and other Legal Requirements

In some areas, you may need to meet zoning, building code, home owner association, and other requirements concerning the location and construction of a child-care operation. These are not licensing requirements, but you may have to meet them before local authorities will perform fire and sanitation inspections.

FAQs

The Frequently Asked Questions page will help you find general topics and specific information on many topics. It helps providers and applicants review policies and learn about recent changes too.

Contact

Contact your local Child Care Licensing Office .

Step 3 - Submit an Application & Fee

Complete the application form and send it along with other required forms/documentation to your local Child Care Licensing office.

Step 4 - Create a Child Care Licensing Account

Complete Online Registration to create your provider account once Child Care Licensing has accepted your application and has provided you an operation number.