Exploring Day Care

One of the biggest decisions a parent has to make is choosing a caregiver for their child. So, the more you know, the better they’ll grow! While a caregiver’s time with your child can’t replace your own love and attention, choosing quality child care will help develop the whole child by fostering self-esteem and cognitive, language and social skills.

Child Care Regulation educates parents and the public on Texas regulations and laws about child care, empowers families to choose regulated child care and expands the child care provider community.

  • Educate

    Child Care Regulation provides education on Texas regulations and laws related to child care and brings awareness to the benefits of choosing regulated child care.

    Register now to learn more about how we are protecting children in child care.

    Are you interested in education collaboration opportunities?

  • Empower

    Child Care Regulation empowers families to:

    • Find child care providers.
    • Identify regulated child care.
    • Ask detailed questions.
    • Understand the importance of staying involved in their child’s care.
  • Expand

    Child Care Regulation expands and enhances the child care provider community by promoting the benefits of becoming a regulated child care operation, which include playing a critical role in the early learning and development of Texas children.

Types of Child Care Operations

To learn more about the types of child care operations, visit our frequently asked questions page.

How to Search for Child Care

  • Do Your Research. TxChildCareSearch.org is the state’s database of regulated child care providers. You can view permitted child care providers in your area, obtain information on the program and services they offer, and review inspection results. To get started with your child care search, you can ask friends, family and other parents for recommendations. Learn more about the benefits of choosing a regulated child care provider (PDF), Texas Child Care Search Website Search Guide (PDF), and Understanding the Minimum Standards and the Search Texas Child Care Website (PDF).
  • Find the Right Fit. While you are gathering information on child care providers, look for features that will help your child thrive. Consider the caregiver’s education, experience and training, as well as the setting and size of the group.
  • Check Them Out. Once you have narrowed down your search, visit each child care operation with your child when children are present. Observe their activities, how the caregiver interacts with the children and how the children like it there. Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Would you like to spend the day at this child care operation? Does your child seem to like it? Meet the caregiver or director. Ask questions and discuss your concerns. Make sure you are happy with their answers. If you are still trying to decide, return unannounced for a second visit. Download this checklist to help you (PDF).

What Should I ask When I Interview a Potential Caregiver?

  • May I see your state permit and your last inspection?
  • What experience and training do you have in caring for children?
  • How many children do you care for, and how do you ensure that you meet all their needs?
  • May I see your operational policies so I can learn more about your services?
  • What’s a typical day like for a child in your care?
  • How do you protect the health and safety of children in your care?
  • What type of safe sleep practices do you follow?
  • How do you discipline children?
  • How do you handle emergencies, and under what circumstances will you contact me?
  • How will you discuss progress and concerns related to my child?

Know Your Rights

A parent or guardian of a child at a child care facility has a right to:

  1. Enter and examine the child care facility during its hours of operation without advanced notice;
  2. Review the child care facility’s publicly accessible records;
  3. Receive inspection reports for the child care facility and information about how to access its online compliance history;
  4. Obtain a copy of the child care facility’s policies and procedures;
  5. Review, at the request of the parent or guardian, the facility’s:
    1. Staff training records; and
    2. In-house staff training curriculum; 
  6. Review the child care facility’s written records concerning the parent’s or guardian’s child;
  7. View any video recordings of an alleged incident of abuse or neglect involving the parent’s or guardian’s child, provided that:
    1. Video recordings of the alleged incident are available;
    2. The parent or guardian does not retain any part of the video recording depicting a child that is not their own; and
    3. The child care facility notifies the parent or guardian of any other child captured in the video before allowing a parent to view the video recording;
  8. Have the child care facility comply with a court order preventing another parent or guardian from visiting or removing the parent’s or guardian’s child;
  9. Be provided the contact information for the child care facility’s local Child Care Regulation office;
  10. File a complaint against the child care facility; and
  11. Be free from any retaliatory action by the child care facility for exercising any of the parent’s or guardian’s rights.

Stay Involved in Your Child’s Care

Once you pick a child care center or home, it’s important to stay involved in your child’s care. That’s the best way to make sure your child is happy, safe, learning and developing.

  • Keep talking with the caregiver. Ask to see weekly activity plans and menus. Ask how your child is behaving, getting along with others, making progress, and adjusting the new environment.
  • Keep talking with your child. Ask them how the day went, what they did, who they saw, or if anything special happened. If your child doesn’t want to go back, find out why and follow up with the caregiver.

Report anything that could affect your child’s health or safety as soon as possible. Call the toll-free Texas Abuse Hotline 24/7 at 800-252-5400 or visit txabusehotline.org if you suspect a child has been abused or neglected, or if you think a child care center or home is operating without a state permit. For emergencies, call 911. The law protects people who make a report in good faith from legal liability.

Learn more about the types of child care operations, permit and issuance and reports, and inspections and enforcement actions.

If you have more general concerns or questions, call your local Child Care Regulation office.