Become a Legal Child Care

Texas Child Care Licensing actively searches for illegal child care to protect children. We investigated more than 3,000 illegal child care operations each year. 

When we find an illegal child care, we help the caregiver meet state requirements and get a permit or, when necessary, shut the operation down.

Often, people running illegal daycare in their homes just don't know they are breaking the law. If you are paid to provide regular child care for even one child that is not related to you, you must get a state permit. A person providing child care without a permit may be fined up to $150 each day they are in violation of the law and/or may be charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

Regular child care means:

  • Caring for a child for at least four hours per day, three or more days a week,    for three or more consecutive weeks, or
  • Caring for a child for four hours a day for 40 or more days in a 12 month period

Learn how to become a legal child care and come into the light.

Types of Child Care

There are two main types of legal child care in Texas.

Child care Centers

Licensed Child Care Centers are larger operations that care for seven or more children under 14 years old at a place of business other than the provider's home. This type of daycare is the most strictly regulated and has regular state inspections and training requirements for its caregivers and directors.

Child Care Homes

Child Care Homes fall into three categories:

  • Licensed Child Care Homes are larger home-based daycares, but are typically smaller than centers. They care for 7-12 children.
  • Registered Child Care Homes may care for up to six children 13 years and younger and up to 6 additional elementary school children. They care for up to 12 children.
  • Listed Family Homes are small child care homes and care for 1-3 children.

Learn more about these types of child care centers and homes and their requirements on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website.