How to Start a Childcare Business in Texas

start a daycare in texas

Opening a childcare business in Texas is a meaningful opportunity to make an impact in children’s lives while pursuing a fulfilling career. Being the second-most populated state in the U.S., there’s a steadily growing demand for quality childcare centers throughout Texas. But before opening your doors, it’s crucial that you know what to expect. 

To provide the best childcare services, you’ll need to abide by state laws. This means you need childcare licensure and an understanding of regulatory standards. Whether you’re an experienced childcare professional or opening your first in-home daycare, navigating the state’s licensing process can be complex. However, it’s all necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of your customers.

Keep reading to learn the requirements for starting a daycare in Texas as we explain the most important steps.

Know the Childcare Licensing Requirements in Texas

Before you open a childcare or daycare center, you need to become properly licensed. To get a childcare license in Texas, providers have to meet specific requirements according to the state. Texas childcare regulations ensure that childcare operators follow health and safety standards while delivering adequate education to children in their care.

There are a few different childcare license options to consider, depending on the type of childcare business you plan to open. Licenses fall under two main categories. 

  • Child Care Center-Based Provider: any preschool, daycare, before- or after-school program, and other school-aged childcare operated at a facility outside of a home residence. 
  • Child Care Home Provider: any daycare, education program, or supervision provided to unrelated children in a household that isn’t the child’s home. There are three types of childcare homes in Texas: Licensed, Registered, and Listed.

Each type of childcare and its licensure requirements are explored in more detail below. 

Licensed Child Care Center

All categories of childcare centers in Texas must operate as Licensed Child Care Centers by law. There are three main types of childcare centers, all of which do not qualify as in-home daycares.

  • Child Care Center: Provides care for 7 or more children (under 14 years of age) for at least two hours per day, for three days per week or more.
  • Before/After School Program: Provides care for children ages 3-11 outside of school hours at least two hours per day, three or more days a week.
  • School Age Program: Provides care for children ages 3-11 and offers education, recreation, and adult supervision for at least two hours per day, three or more days a week.

Whether you run a preschool, daycare, school-age program, or childcare franchise, you must have this type of license. All business operations must be offered at a location outside of your home.

Registered Child Care Home

To obtain a Registered Child Care Home license, you must operate within your own home as the primary caregiver. Childcare must be offered continuously for at least four hours per day, three days a week during school hours for up to 6 children at a time (13 years or younger). After normal school hours, you can also provide care for up to 6 additional children, adding up to 12 total.

Licensed Child Care Home

To operate a Licensed Child Care Home, you can provide care for up to 12 children under the age of 13 from your own home. Hours of operation must be less than 24 hours per day but at least two hours per day for three days of the week or more. Many providers who are learning how to start an in-home daycare in Texas fall under this category. 

Listed Family Home

If you offer a small babysitting or daycare service from your home, you must operate as a Listed Family Home. You can provide care for up to three children who aren’t related to you. Care is provided for at least four hours per day, three or more days per week; or four hours per day for at least 40 days of the year.

Complete the License Application for Texas Childcare Providers 

The application process for Texas daycare licensing varies on the type of childcare you run. However, the overall application expectations are similar— just make sure you review the required documents and tasks you’ll need to provide. 

Here are the four main steps.

1. Pre-Application Training

Both in-home daycare applications and childcare center business applications require a pre-application class. This class is designed to familiarize you with all the standards and safety regulations necessary to be a competent childcare provider. The specific class you take will also guide you through the process required for your license type.

2. Complete Texas Childcare License Requirements

In addition to filling out a thorough application, Texas licensure requires childcare providers to complete several tasks. These include but are not limited to getting background checks, acquiring permits, signing up for liability insurance, scheduling an on-site inspection, and paying fees.

3. Submit Licensing Applications 

Submit all the forms needed for your childcare business. Contact the Texas Health & Human Services Child Care Regulation Department for a complete list of application requirements for both in-home daycares and childcare centers.

4. Create Your Texas Childcare Licensing Account Online

You’ll need to create an online account to submit and receive updates on your application status. This account will also help you renew your licenses when necessary (typically every two years).

Maintain Texas Daycare Compliance

Once you get licensed, you still need to keep up with Texas state childcare regulations to remain compliant. It’s helpful if you plan to renew your daycare permits, licenses, and insurance around the same time each year — or every other year, as necessary. That way, you can avoid any penalties or lapses in coverage that negatively impact your business. 

Implement Texas Early Education Guidelines

The early education guidelines for Texas give providers a framework for what to teach their students. A daycare center is more than a safe space for children to play while their parents are at work. It’s also a nurturing environment where young kids learn the social, emotional, and foundational learning skills they need for healthy development. 

When developing a childcare curriculum, be sure to carefully include the state guidelines and best practices. You might also prepare to track child assessments and class learning outcomes in some form of digital software to stay organized.

Refine Your Childcare Business Plan

While creating a childcare business plan might seem like a lot of work, it’s a good idea to establish one before opening your daycare. Your business plan guides you through every step required to not only open but also operate a successful childcare business. Having a business plan helps you stay professional and on track with your goals over time.

Utilize a Texas Childcare Management Software: Daily Connect

When you start a daycare in Texas, you’ll want to streamline your everyday tasks as much as possible. No matter what type of childcare business you have, the Daily Connect childcare management software benefits providers who want to succeed in the Lone Star State.

From parent-teacher communication to secure documentation storage, Daily Connect’s features are tailored to help you save time and resources every day. Features include:

  • Automated Parent Invoicing
  • Online Parent Billing
  • Comprehensive Childcare Center Management
  • Child Attendance Tracking
  • Thorough Learning Assessment Records
  • Effective Parent and Staff Communication
  • Thoughtful Daycare Lesson Plans
  • And more

To support the full capabilities of your daycare, get started with your free trial of Daily Connect. Click here to set up your Texas childcare center for success today.

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