What kind of child care is available?

In Texas, child care can be broken down into the following types of operations:

Licensed Child-Care Centers

There are 9,439 licensed child care centers in Texas.  Licensed Child-Care Centers provide care for seven or more children under 14 years old for less than 24 hours per day at a location other than the permit holder's home. All types of licensed facilities have published standards they are required to follow and are routinely monitored and inspected. A license permit is issued after Licensing staff completes on-site inspection(s) to ensure minimum standards are met, including cleared background checks. Licensed facilities are inspected at least once every 12 months and to investigate reports alleging violations of standards or child abuse/neglect.

Child Care Program

This is a licensed center that provides care for children under 14 years of age for less than 24 hours a day, but at least two hours a day, three or more days a week.

Before or After-School Program

This is a licensed center that provides care before or after, or before and after the customary school day and during school holidays, for at least two hours a days, three days a week, to children who attend pre-kindergarten through grade six.

School-age Program

This is a licensed center that provides supervision, along with recreation or skills instruction or training, and may provide transportation, before or after the customary school day, for at least two hours a day, three days a week, to children attending prekindergarten through grade six.  A school-age program may also operate during school holidays, the summer period, or any other time when school is not in session.

Become a Child Care Center Provider

Licensed Child Care Homes

There are 1,720 licensed child care homes in Texas. Licensed Child Care Homes provide care for less than 24 hours per day for 7-12 children under 14 years old in the permit holder’s own home. All types of licensed facilities have published standards they are required to follow and are routinely monitored and inspected. A license is issued after Licensing staff completes on-site inspection(s) to ensure minimum standards are met, including cleared background checks. Licensed facilities are inspected at least once every 12 months and to investigate reports alleging violations of standards or child abuse or neglect.

Registered Child Care Homes

There are 4,678 registered child care homes in Texas.  Registered Child Care Homes provide care in the caregiver's home for up to six children under age 14; they may also care for six  additional school-age children after school hours. The number of children allowed in a home is determined by the ages of the children. No more than 12 children can be in care at any time, including children of the caregiver. The application process requires that a registered child care home provider complete a pre-application class and have cleared background checks. A registration certificate is issued after Licensing staff completes an on-site inspection to ensure minimum standards are met. Registered homes are inspected every 1-2 years and to investigate reports alleging violations of standards or child abuse/neglect.

Listed Family Homes

There are 5,026 listed family homes in Texas. People who must list with the division are those who are compensated to provide regular child care (at least four hours per day, three or more days a week, for three or more consecutive weeks or four hours a day for 40 or more days in a 12 month period) in their own homes for 1-3 unrelated children. After receipt of an application and licensing background check clearances, an Issuance Letter is issued. The listed family home caregiver must be at least 18 years old. However, there are no minimum standards or training requirements for listed homes. They are not inspected unless a report is received alleging child abuse/neglect, an immediate risk of danger to the health or safety of a child, and/or if providing child care subject to further regulation.

Become a Child Care Home Provider

  • General Residential Operations provide 24-hour care for 13 or more children under 18 years old and may offer programmatic services such as transitional living or emergency care or may offer treatment services such as for emotional disorders or primary medical needs. Residential Treatment Centers are a subset of General Residential Operations that serve only children needing treatment services for emotional disorders.
  • Child Placing Agencies are persons or organizations other than a child's natural parent or guardian who plan for placement of a child or place a child in a child care operation, foster home or adoptive home.
  • Foster Family Homes provide 24-hour care for 6 or fewer children under 18 years old.
  • Foster Group Homes provide 24-hour care for 7 to 12 children under 18 years old.

Become a 24-hour Residential Provider