Day care can be one of the biggest expenses in a family’s budget and shopping for the best rate is always a good course of action, however while a day care run out of someone’s home may be the cheapest option, is it always the wisest?
Attorney Paul H. Cannon, of Simmons and Fletcher, advises the importance of thoroughly vetting a possible in-home day care provider for above and beyond just the cost. He has seen cases where a child will have an accident, but there is no protection because the business in not required to carry additional liability insurance.
There are three classifications for home day care recognized by Texas, so it’s important to understand each.
Licensed Family Homes are private residences owned and operated by at least one adult with up to three children, of no relation, brought into the home. In addition to these children, the homeowner/day care provider can care for their own children or relatives with a maximum number of children set at 12. The primary caregiver for all these children only needs to be 18 years of age.
Registered Child Care Homes are structured roughly the same way as Licensed Family Homes except they are restricted to only six young children (who are not school aged) and six additional children who go to school and can only attend the day care home during after-school hours. The primary caregiver must be at least 21 years of age.
Licensed Child Care Homes are allowed a maximum of 12 children, but that number can fluctuate down if very young children are being cared for. These facilities are inspected every 10 to 12 months and the primary caregiver has to be over the age of 21.
Both Registered and Licensed Child Care homes most follow several requirements set forth in the Minimum Standard Rules of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the licensing requirements in the Human Resourses Code, Chapter 42.
These requirements mainly cover education level of the caregiver, CPR certification, minimum amount of play areas, and other items. The full statue can be found by heading to this site http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/HR/htm/HR.42.htm. While there are several important requirements outlined, according to Cannon, one key item is not covered: liability insurance.
“Is your child covered if the caregiver negligently allows them to be injured,” Cannon asked. “The typical homeowners’ insurance policy contains an exclusion for injuries that occur during the course of a business being operated out of the premises. Thus, there is no coverage under homeowner’s policies for in-home daycare operations. Additional insurance can be purchased for this, but many of the people who open these mom and pop home day care facilities are unaware of their homeowners’ policy exclusion.”
Before sending a child to a new day care provider, ask to see proof of any licenses they may hold and also proof of liability insurance.
“If your current day care provider cannot provide you with sufficient documentation of liability coverage, you need to switch day cares,” Cannon advised. “If your child is injured by, or on the premises of, a home child care facility, you should speak to a Texas personal injury lawyer immediately to determine what regulations apply and what rights you have.”
For more information on day care liability, or any personal injury case, contact Simmons and Fletcher at 713-932-0777. Simmons and Fletcher’s law office is located at 9821 Katy Freeway, Suite 925 in Houston, Texas 77024.