Texas Home Daycare Law | Is Your Day Care Regulated?
In Texas, a person can open and run a daycare for children out of their own home. Different rules and regulations apply depending upon how each is classified. How your child’s daycare is classified determines when and if it is inspected by the State and what rules it must follow. This is very important to know because the typical homeowner’s insurance policy has an exclusion for injuries that occur during the course of a business being conducted out of the home.
Listed Family Homes, Registered Child Care Homes, and Licensed Child Care Homes
The three classifications are Licensed Family Homes, Registered Child Care Homes, and Licensed Child Care Homes. It is important to understand the difference in choosing which one is right for you. The three are:
- Listed Family Homes are where one adult or more, open up their home to take in up to three children not related to the primary caregiver. They can also care for their own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren at the same time with a total restriction of twelve children. The primary caregiver must only be 18 years old.
- Registered Child Care Homes are similar to Licensed Family Homes in that they are run out of the home of the primary caregiver and can have up to twelve kids. However, they allow for up to six young children (related or not) and up to six more school-aged kids for after school care. The primary caregiver must be at least 21. These are inspected by the State of Texas every one to three years.
- Licensed Child Care Homes are allowed to have up to twelve children at all times. The age of the children determines the exact number allow. (i.e. there are fewer allowed if there are a lot of very young kids.) They are inspected every ten to twelve months and the primary caregiver must be over the age of 21.
In addition, Registered and Licensed Child Care Homes must follow the published Minimum Standard Rules, found on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website and in the Texas Administrative Code, and the licensing requirements in Chapter 42 of the Human Resources Code.
The primary caregiver in a registered or licensed child care home must:
- have a high school diploma or high school equivalent (some education obtained outside of the U.S.A. meets this requirement);
- take a course and obtain a certificate in CPR and first aid with rescue breathing and choking;
- complete the licensing orientation and obtain a certificate of completion;
- develop and implement the child care home’s operational policies;
- comply with applicable minimum standards;
- ensure that all other caregivers and all household members comply with minimum standards;
- provide at least thirty feet of indoor activity space and eighty square feet of outdoor activity space for each child in care, outside.
- ensure that parents can visit any time during all hours of operation to observe their child, the home’s operation, and program activities, without having to secure prior approval; and
- for a licensed child care home, meet additional requirements of combinations of education and experience in a licensed child care center.
No Requirement to Carry Liability Insurance
What you do not see on the list above, is any requirement that any of these in-home child care operations carry liability insurance. That is because there is none. This is a very important thing to consider when looking for a place to provide care for your child: is your child covered if the caregiver negligently allows them to be injured? The typical homeowner’s 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 there. Additional insurance can be purchased for this, but many of the people who open these “mom and pop” home daycare facilities are unaware of their homeowner’s policy exclusion.
Considerations In Choosing a Child Care Provider
If you are evaluating a home day care or professional day cars of any kind for your child you should, at a minimum ask to see:
- proof of any licenses they hold, and;
- proof of a liability insurance policy covering the kids.
Ask to see the policy and the declaration of coverage page. If your current daycare provider cannot provide you with sufficient documentation of liability coverage separate and apart from a homeowner’s insurance policy, you need to switch daycares. If your child is injured by or on the premises of a home child care facility, you should speak to one of our daycare injury lawyers immediately to determine what regulations apply and what rights you have.