Here is what to do to get started if you are interested in starting a Day Care Center.

Step 1 - Attend a Day Care Center Pre-Application Class

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

Step 2 - Submit an Application Form & Fee

Complete the application form and send it to your local Child Care Licensing office.

Complete the Child Care Fee Schedule and send both the form and the $35 non-refundable fee payment to the address specified on the form. You will not be able to register for a pre-application class until Licensing has received both your application form and fee payment.   


Step 3 - 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 Law and Rules [close]

      Licensing Requirements
      Licensing regulates child-care operations under two main categories: day care and residential child care. Child day care includes the care, supervision, training, or education of an unrelated child or children (13 years old or younger) for less than 24 hours per day in a place other than the child’s own home. Residential child care includes the care, custody, supervision, assessment, training, education, or treatment of an unrelated child or children (up to the age of 18 years) for 24 hours a day in a place other than the child’s own home. Learn More

      Illegal Operations
      An operation is illegal if it provides child care that is subject to regulation but does not have a permit and is not in the process of applying for one. Don't be In the dark about child care. Learn More and Find § 42.076. CRIMINAL PENALTIES in the following publication.

      Background, Criminal History, Central Registry, and FBI Checks
      Certain persons at child-care operations are required to complete a background check, which may include a DPS, Central Registry, and FBI check. Background checks must be completed before a person provides direct care or has direct access to children in care and every 24 months 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. Learn More

      Listed Homes
      You must get "listed" if you are compensated to provide regular child care in your own home for 1-3 unrelated children. The application process is simple and there are no minimum standard  for listed homes. There are no inspections of listed homes unless we get a report that you are offering childcare that is subject to a higher level of regulation. Reports of abuse or neglect in a listed home are investigated.

      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. Learn More

      Liability Insurance
      Insurance coverage is an important protection for your business. Some operation permit types are not required to obtain proof of coverage before Licensing issues a permit. Learn More

    • Application Process and Administrative Procedures [close]

      Application Materials
      Your application form and fee are part of the application process. Your complete application packet includes other 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 standard rules. It needs to include information on, for example, who is responsible for ensuring minimum standard are meet at all times, the physical facility, activities and child to caregiver ratios, safety, and sanitation.

      Technical Assistance
      Licensing staff will assist you every time you need it. Support will come in a variety of forms: at your initial orientation, 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. Learn More

      Licensing Offices
      Local Child Care Licensing offices provide information to prospective permit applicants, offer training and orientation services, and assist providers with questions about regulation. If you need assistance, contact your local office. Learn More

      Licensing is required to charge fees for permits and for conducting background checks. The money from fees is deposited in the state’s general revenue fund. These are some of the fees you may be charged: a non-refundable application fee for initial license, an initial license fee, an annual fee that is due before a license is issued and on the anniversary date of the license, and fees for criminal history and central registry background checks. Please refer to Day Care Licensing Forms.

      Application Inspection
      Before issuing an initial or non-expiring permit, Child Care Licensing staff will conduct an inspection to ensure you and your operation comply with the applicable law and minimum standard rules. Licensing staff periodically inspects your operation to make sure it continues to meet minimum standards. Remember, Listed Homes are not inspected unless a report is received alleging child care is offered that is subject to stricter regulation. Reports of abuse or neglect are also investigated.

      Compliance History
      Information about your operation and its compliance history will be available on our public web site at It is available to anyone.

    • Other Requirements [close]

      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.

      Vocabulary and Definitions
      It is important you become familiar with frequently used definition of terms. These terms will help you read minimum standards, create your policies and procedures and/or plan of operation, and understand regulation. Learn More

      More Information
      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 your local
      Child Care Licensing office.

  • For additional information about the child care licensing application process, see the Applicant's Guide to Listed, Registered and Licensed Child Care.
  • We also invite you to click around on the Child Care Licensing website to find other relevant information and resources, such as the TA Library, Emergency Preparedness information, and links to child safety public awareness campaigns.
  • 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 now.

Step 4 - Create an Account