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State agency targets illegal child care
This year the Legislature gave the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Child Care Licensing program new staff to go after illegal day care.
All parents are urged to do their homework before choosing day care.
You can find a state-regulated day care in your area and review its record by using the TxChildCareSearch.org database on the DFPS website. You can also learn more about choosing child care at www.DontBeInTheDark.org,. If you’re looking for day care, remember to look, learn, visit, and meet:
•Look for features that will help your child thrive. Consider the caregiver’s education, experience, and training, as well as the size of the group and setting.
•Learn about licensed and registered child care at DontBeInTheDark.org and TxChildCareSearch.org. Explore day-care options -- searching by zip code, city, or county -- and read the day care’s inspection record.
•Visit the day care you are considering while children are there, so that you can see activities, how caregivers act with children, and how the children like it there.
•Meet the caregiver or director. Discuss any concerns and make sure you are satisfied with their answers. Make a surprise visit later for a second look.
All regulated day-care staff must undergo background checks but regulation and state oversight increase with the size of the day care.
Listed homes (one to three unrelated children) must apply and pass background checks but are not inspected regularly.
Registered homes (maximum of 12 children at any time) must meet training requirements and pass background checks, and are inspected every two years.
Larger licensed homes and day-care centers must meet health and safety requirements, get regular training, and are inspected every 5-12 months.
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