Frequently Asked Questions About Search Texas Child Care
Note: If you have trouble using Child Care Search, you may call a child care licensing office in your area for help (These offices are staffed only during business hours).
On this page
- Types of Care / Operations
- Issuance / License / Accreditation
- Reports / Inspections / Corrective Actions
- Other Information
Operation type refers to the type of permit that has been issued to the person or organization.
Center based care is child care provided for seven or more children for less than 24 hours/day. Home based care is child care provided for no more than 12 children for less than 24 hours/day in the caregiver's residence.
Operations with seven or more children in care for less than 24 hours per day are considered center-based.
Child care that is provided in the caregiver's residence for no more than 12 children for less than 24 hours per day, such as listed family homes, registered child care homes, and licensed child care homes.
Please read our Types of Child Care section to find out the different types of child day care operations.
Subsidized child care are programs that pay for all or part of a child's care based on eligibility guidelines. More information on subsidized child care is available from the Texas Workforce Commission.
A Small Employer-based Child Care operation is a non-licensed child-care center, is not routinely inspected by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), and is not required to meet minimum health and safety standards for child care operations. Small Employer-based Child Care operations are required to:
- Maintain a child-to-caregiver ratio of 1:4.
- Have no more than 12 children (age 14 or younger) in care at any time.
- Meet fire safety and sanitation standards in its political subdivision.
- Conduct background checks on caregivers.
- Make sure caregivers meet certain minimum qualifications, and ensure that parents work in the immediate vicinity and are only away from the vicinity for limited periods.
DFPS investigates any allegations of child abuse or neglect at the child care operation.
Foster Family Home (Independent): An operation that provides care for six or fewer children up to the age of 18 years for 24 hours a day.
Foster Group Home (Independent): An operation that provides care for seven to twelve children up to the age of 18 years for 24 hours a day.
General Residential Operation: An operation that provides child care for 13 or more children for 24 hours a day. The care may include treatment services and/or programmatic services. There are four different types of General Residential Operations(GROs):
- GRO providing Child Care Services only: This type of GRO provides only child care services. It does not provide emergency care or treatment services. It may provide transitional living program.
- GRO providing Emergency Care Services only: This type of GRO provides care only on an emergency basis.
- GRO operating as Residential Treatment Center: This type of GRO cares exclusively for children who require treatment services for an emotional disorder. The children may also require other treatment services, and programmatic services may also be provided.
- GRO providing Multiple Services: This type of GRO may provide any combination of treatment and/or programmatic services.
Child-Placing Agency (CPA): A person, agency, or organization other than a parent who places or plans for the placement of a child in a foster or adoptive home or other residential care setting. A CPA does not provide direct care for children. A CPA verifies foster homes and/or approves adoptive homes. The CPA is responsible for regulating its homes for compliance with minimum standards. Licensing inspects the CPA to ensure the CPA is meeting minimum standards.
Child-care services are general care for children who are able to function within society and do not require highly specialized care programs. Treatment services include specialized services for children with emotional disorders, intellectual disabilities, pervasive development disorders or primary medical needs. Children may receive additional programmatic services such as transitional living services for older children or assessment services for children who are coming into residential child care for the first time.
A CPA Foster Home is a home that provides care for six or fewer children for 24 hours a day under the regulation of a child-placing agency.
A CPA Adoptive Home is a home approved by a child-placing agency to accept adoptive placements.
"Relative" means a person and a child in DFPS conservatorship are related by blood or adoption (consanguinity) or by marriage (affinity). This term excludes the child's legal, birth, or adoptive parent(s).
"Fictive Kin" means a person and a child in DFPS conservatorship (or the child's family) have a longstanding and significant relationship with each other. This term excludes the child's legal, birth, or adoptive parent(s). Examples include a godparent or someone considered to be an aunt or uncle, even though the person is not related to the child.
"Unrelated" means the relationship of a person and a child in DFPS conservatorship does not meet the criteria of 'relative' or 'fictive kin'.
Issuance is a process that takes place when the Licensing division determines that an operation has met minimum standards and is approved to receive a permit. A permit (license, registration, certificate, or listing) is issued allowing the operation to legally care for children.
A condition on a permit is a requirement imposed on the child-care operation to perform or refrain from some act. For example, an operation's permit may have a condition to offer certain types of care or certain programs.
A restriction on a permit is a limitation placed on the operation establishing capacity, ages of children in care, times of operation, or a limitation placed by fire or health departments.
No. Child Care Licensing does not approve or regulate accrediting organizations for child-care operations, and Licensing does not track accreditation for all child-care operations regulated by CCL.
An operation is accredited when it elects to follow higher standards established by an accrediting organization. These standards are higher than the required minimum standards established by DFPS Licensing division.
All licensed and registered operations are inspected on a regular basis for routine monitoring.
A monitoring inspection is a routine on-site observation conducted by Licensing staff at the child care operation to assess compliance with minimum standards, law and rules. Most are unannounced.
An assessment denotes an operation being found in violation of minimum standards or child care law without an on-site inspection of the child care operation. Compliance is assessed by review of paperwork or other materials.
A report is an investigation of a complaint of possible risk to children in care received by Licensing staff from a member of the public, including parents. An investigation may also relate to any complaint alleging minimum standards or child care law violation(s) at a child-care operation.
Self-reported incidents are investigations of incidents reported by the child-care operation.
An investigation may involve an inspection, but these inspections are not routine and are conducted as a result of a report to Licensing. Both inspections and reports may result in an operation being found in violation of minimum standards or child care law.
A report is information received by Licensing staff of possible risk to children in care. A report may be a self-report from an operation informing Licensing staff of the occurrence of a serious incident at the operation. A report may also come from anyone alleging abuse, neglect, or a violation of minimum standards or child care law. Regardless of the source, all information is treated as a report and receives some level of investigation.
An inspection is a physical presence of Licensing staff at a child care operation to determine an operation's compliance with minimum standards and child care law.
A "self-report" is an account from an operation of a serious incident that occurred at the operation. All operations, except listed family homes, are required to make reports to Licensing about certain types of incidents such as serious illness or injury to a child, a missing child, or a disaster that requires the operation to close. Licensing staff are required to investigate all self-reports of serious incidents.
Inspections are conducted routinely by Licensing staff on licensed and registered operations. Inspectors monitor compliance with minimum standards and child care law. Licensed operations must have at least one annual unannounced inspection. Registered child care homes must have at least one unannounced inspection every two years. Inspections may be more frequent, based on an operation's ability to comply with minimum standards and child care law. Listed family homes are inspected only as part of an investigation. Child Placing Agency foster homes are inspected on a random sample basis and when there is a report of abuse/neglect. After any inspection, a written report is given to the operation and deficiencies are discussed with the person in charge. This report is available for review at the operation and on the DFPS website. If a child care operation disagrees with a deficiency, the operation may request an administrative review. Licensing staff follows up on all deficiencies to ensure deficiencies are corrected. If deficiencies are of such a serious nature that the health and safety of the children is threatened, enforcement actions such as administrative penalties, evaluation, probation, suspension or revocation of the permit may be warranted.
An assessment is the result of an operation being found in violation of regulations without Licensing performing an on-site inspection.
Licensed operations must have at least one annual unannounced inspection. Registered child care homes must have at least one unannounced inspection every two years. The frequency of additional inspections will fluctuate, depending on the type of permit and an operation’s ability to comply with the Licensing standards, rules, and law. Licensing staff inspect new operations frequently in order to offer technical assistance and establish a record of compliance with the standards, rules, and law. Once a record of compliance is established, an operation’s ability to remain in compliance determines how frequently an operation may be inspected.
Weights of high, medium high, medium, medium low, and low, are assigned to individual minimum standard requirements based on the risk a violation presents to children. A requirement weighted as high presents a greater risk to children if violated than a requirement weighted as low. Assigning weights to minimum standards helps facilitate a clear and common understanding among child care providers, consumers and Licensing staff of the risk that any given standard deficiency poses to children. Read more in the Minimum Standards section.
When a report is received from someone alleging abuse or neglect or a violation of minimum standards or licensing law, Licensing staff conduct an investigation to decide the validity of the allegations and to make sure the children in care are protected.
A deficiency, also referred to as a violation, is any failure to comply with a Child Care Licensing minimum standard, rule, child care law, specific conditions or restrictions on a permit, or conditions of evaluation, probation, or suspension.
Deficiencies may be cited for a variety of reasons. You should carefully evaluate the deficiencies for the operation you are interested in. If you have concerns or questions about a deficiency, share these with the director/administrator or child care provider. Find out what the operation did to correct the deficiency and how the operation plans to prevent the deficiency from re-occurring.
You should carefully evaluate the deficiencies for the operation you are interested in. Details of the standard requirements and deficiencies cited can be found at txchildcaresearch.org. The following are starting points to help in the evaluation:
- Which deficiency was cited?
Details of the standard requirements and deficiencies cited can be found on the DFPS website.
- What weight was assigned to the deficiency?
A weight listed as high presents a greater risk to children than a weight listed as low.
- Have deficiencies been repeated in the last two years?
This information is available on the DFPS website.
- How long did it take the operation to come into compliance?
“Comply by” dates for each deficiency can be found on the DFPS website.
- How often is the operation inspected?
Monitoring frequencies will fluctuate, depending on the type of permit and an operation’s ability to comply with the Licensing standards, rules, and child care law.
Administrative penalties are fines sanctioned against an operation for certain deficiencies as provided by Human Resources Code (HRC), §42.078. When appropriate, Licensing must impose nonmonetary administrative sanctions including corrective actions before administrative penalties. CCL may proceed to adverse actions without imposing administrative penalties when Licensing determine the deficiency is serious enough to warrant such action.
Corrective actions are steps that Licensing may impose upon an operation to assist it in becoming compliant with standards, rules, and child care law. These actions are imposed when an operation has repeated deficiencies with standards that do not endanger the health and safety of children. Licensing staff may place the operation on evaluation or probation.
Evaluation is a period of close monitoring imposed on an operation when deficiencies present a lower risk to children and the operation has not been able to come into compliance. The length of time for evaluation is not less than 30 days or more than six months. Probation is a period of close monitoring imposed on an operation when a specific incident or pattern of deficiencies could lead to adverse action, such as suspension or revocation. The length of time for probation is not less than 30 days or more than one year.
When an operation is placed on evaluation or probation, a Corrective Action Plan is developed to help the operation identify and correct the causes of the deficiencies. Following the plan will help the operation come into compliance and avoid adverse action.
Adverse actions are taken when an operation has been cited for deficiencies that pose a risk to the health and safety of children, or if there are indications of a continued failure to comply with standards, rules or child care law. Adverse actions include denial of an application, revocation or suspension of a permit, or an adverse amendment with conditions to a permit.
If adverse action is taken, the operation has a right to request an administrative review and a due process hearing. When the operation receives notice from Child Care Licensing that an adverse action will be taken, the operation must notify each parent, guardian, or managing conservator of the children served in the operation of the action being taken.
You may provide more than one entry within Counties or Zip Code fields by separating the values with commas. For example: 77001,77002,77003,etc.
- To create a file containing child-care operation information, select the criteria to be used for the child-care operation search, and then click Search. The list of child-care operations displays on the Operation Search Results page.
- Click Download Search Results at the top or bottom of the page to download a file named ChildCareSearchResults.csv. The ChildCareSearchResults.csv file contains the operation number, operation/caregiver name, address, city, state, zip, county, phone, type, status (application, initial, or full), and issuance date for the operations shown on the Operation Search Results page.
- A File Download box will appear prompting you to either open or save the ChildCareSearchResults.csv file.
- To view the file, click Open. The file will automatically be opened by the spreadsheet application that is designated to open comma-separated values (.csv) files, such as Excel or Lotus 123. If you do not have a spreadsheet application, you may be able to open the file as a text file in applications such as Wordpad, Textpad, or Notepad. To save this file, select Save As from the File menu options, select the directory to which you want the file to be saved, and click Save.
- To save the file without viewing it first, simply click Save. The ChildCareSearchResults.csv file will be saved to the My Documents directory.
To search for a closed foster home, enter:
• The foster parent’s Social Security number and date of birth, OR
• The foster parent’s name and date of birth, OR
• The foster parent’s name
This database is mandated by law. The law does not distinguish between homes that closed never to re-open and homes that closed but re-opened later. All homes that have ever been closed, regardless of whether they opened again later, must be included in the database.
Some information, such as the reason for a foster home closing, was not collected by DFPS in the past. Therefore, this information is not available for homes that closed before the database was created. As the database ages, DFPS will be able to collect more of this information and include it in the database.
You can send an email to RCCLSTAN@dfps.state.tx.us. Please include as much detailed information as possible.