To become a licensed childcare or daycare provider in Texas, you had to invest considerable time, money, and resources. The process of completing the required coursework, passing the examinations, and filing and obtaining your daycare administrator license required a lot of sacrifice and perseverance on your part. You made the sacrifice to do what you enjoy and to provide meaningful services and successful business to your local community.
Because you have always conducted your childcare or daycare operation with the utmost professionalism and integrity, you were shocked to learn of allegations of wrongdoing against you or your practice.
If you received notice from Texas Child Care Regulation (CCR) that someone has filed a complaint against you or your daycare or childcare center, you have every right to be concerned. You are also likely scared and uncertain as to what your next steps should be.
Regardless of the complaint against you or your daycare center, you should take the matter seriously and do all you can to protect your Texas daycare license and your livelihood.
The Texas childcare and daycare license defense attorneys at the Lento Law Firm have extensive experience assisting licensed daycare providers in Texas. We will review your case and advise you of your rights and options. You can also count on us for assertive and effective representation each step of the way. Contact us today at (888) 535-3686 for help defending your Texas daycare/childcare license.
Child Care Regulation and Childcare Administrators in Texas
As a division of Texas Health and Human Services, Child Care Regulation (CCR) serves to protect children by regulating childcare programs in Texas and educating childcare and daycare center operators.
Texas law defines a childcare administrator as someone who “supervises and exercises direct administrative control over a child-care institution.” No one may operate a childcare facility in Texas without having a childcare administrator license. The law defines a childcare center as one in which children not related by blood or marriage receive care and custodial services from a licensed and certified facility any part of a 24-hour day.
CCR's responsibilities include:
- Protecting the health, safety, and well-being of children in care in Texas by regulating all childcare/daycare operations and child-placing agencies in the state
- Ensuring Texas childcare/daycare facilities remain in compliance by monitoring their operations
- Investigating complaints against childcare providers for violating standards and regulations
- Keeping parents, guardians, and the general public informed about how childcare/daycare operations in Texas comply with childcare standards and regulations
- Proving assistance to childcare providers to help them comply with CCR minimum standards and regulations
CCR monitors childcare and daycare operations in Texas. The agency has the authority to take administrative action against any daycare or childcare providers in Texas who violate any laws or requirements or fail to maintain certain standards.
Texas Childcare Administrator License Requirements
To qualify for a childcare administrator license in Texas, you must complete a series of steps or possess/acquire certain credentials. These can include:
- Having a bachelor's degree or higher and/or at least two years of full-time daycare or similar work-related experience
- Submitting evidence that you have at least one year of experience managing or supervising a daycare
- Submitting at least three professional references from people who can attest to your competence and experience
- Passing a background check from the Department of Family and Protective Services and submitting the required criminal history affidavit
- Passing a multiple-choice exam that covers several different topics
Additionally, childcare administrator applicants must complete and pass certain courses, and licensed childcare administrators must obtain 30 clock hours of training each year that's relevant to the age of the children the facility provides care for. Employees of the facility must also acquire a certain amount of training each year, which can range from 15 to 24 clock hours depending on the type of facility and age of the children.
Texas state law Section 747.123 provides mandates for instructor-led training, self-instructional training, and self-study training.
Minimum Standards for Texas Daycare and Childcare Centers
Texas Health and Human Services has published minimum standards for all types of childcare centers. These include daycare centers as well as listed family homes and residential properties used for daycare. They also include child placement agencies and before- and after-school program facilities.
The minimum standards define expectations for daycare and childcare facility administrators and staff to follow and mandate certain requirements operators must comply with when offering their services. They include things such as:
- Developing written operational policies that include hours of operation, procedures for handling medical emergencies, parent notification procedures, and other administrative information
- Maintaining records for each child in the care of the facility, including immunization records, tuberculosis screening, medication administration records, and other vital and pertinent information regarding the health, safety, and well-being of the child.
- Maintaining an admission record of each child that includes the child's name and date of birth, home address, and current phone number, the date of their admittance to the care facility, emergency contact information, and other important facts.
- Developing and maintaining a system for signing children in and out of care
Daycare and childcare administrators and facility operators must also provide access to parents who need to discuss issues with the administration and provide parents with a copy of the facility's most recent licensing inspection report if requested.
Daycare and childcare centers in Texas must also maintain a comprehensive procedure to respond to or prevent abuse and neglect of children in the facility's care. This includes providing annual training to employees, increasing employee and parent awareness, and coordinating strategies between the center and community organizations. They should also inform parents of the actions they can take to report child abuse or neglect or receive assistance or intervention.
Understanding the 4 Critical Aspects of Childcare Operations
CCR expects all childcare centers in Texas to comply with applicable rules and regulations. The agency requires that all childcare administrators and childcare employees recognize the “four critical aspects of CCR's efforts to protect children in care.” These are:
- Inspection CCR may inspect any childcare center or daycare facility in Texas at any time. The purpose of an inspection is to help mitigate potential risks to children and ensure compliance with minimum standards and other laws and requirements. The frequency of inspections may fluctuate and can depend on factors such as whether the center has a history of noncompliance or complaints from clients involving wrongdoing. If you receive a complaint against you or your childcare operation, you can expect an inspection from CCR. If CCR determines your operation does not meet minimum standards or violates any rules or laws, a CCR inspector will discuss the situation with you. In many cases, you will have a period of time to correct any deficiencies. You may question any decisions or disagree with any citation issued by the inspector, and if your concerns are not resolved, you may request an administrative review.
- Technical Assistance CCR provides helpful resources involving a variety of childcare topics through its Technical Assistance Library. The agency is also available for consultations with potential and current applicants as well as permit holders. CCR offers consultations and online resources to help childcare administrators and daycare center operators remain compliant with minimum standards, laws, and requirements.
- Investigations When CCR receives a report of a violation of any minimum standards, rules, or laws, it must investigate the matter and notify you of the investigation. CCR must also provide you with written results pertaining to the investigation's findings within certain time frames.
- Caregiver's Rights and Entitlements As a childcare administrator or daycare operator, you have certain rights and entitlements you must be aware of as well. These include:
Waivers and Variances
If your childcare operation can't comply due to economic reasons, you may request a waiver. If you wish to meet a minimum standard in a different way than the CCR's standards policy mandates. You may request a waiver or variance through CCR's website or by providing written notice to your CCR inspector.
As stated previously, you may request an administrative review if you disagree with any CCR action or decision against you. During the administrative review, you will be given time to show compliance with minimum standards, laws, and rules—albeit you may also be bound by permit restrictions or conditions.
You may also request an appeal of any CCR decision with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Grounds for an appeals hearing request include:
- A denial of your application
- Suspension or revocation of your license
- Refusal to renew a permit
- A condition placed on a permit after initial issuance
The moment you learn of any investigation into you or your childcare organization, you must contact an experienced daycare/childcare defense attorney immediately. The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has extensive experience helping clients throughout Texas with all aspects of the application, inspection, and investigation processes. We can also represent you during any administrative reviews or appeals. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more.
Texas Daycare License – Grounds for Disciplinary Action
CCR may take enforcement action on any childcare center or daycare operation in Texas that is not compliant with state minimum standards, laws, and requirements. In cases of criminal offenses, the agency may also recommend law enforcement action or report instances of child abuse or neglect.
Grounds for disciplinary action against a childcare center or daycare provider in Texas include:
- Violating any rules or laws regarding childcare administrators
- Trying to circumvent any such rules or laws
- Making false statements or misleading information during the CCR license application process
- Using drugs or alcohol in a way that jeopardizes the safety and welfare of the children in your care
- Being negligent in your childcare duties and responsibilities
- Having a criminal record or being convicted of a crime
- Engaging in fraudulent practices or trying to deceive CCR or your clients
- Engaging in any other conduct that makes you ineligible to hold a childcare permit or license
Other misconduct may also apply, and you should discuss your situation with an experienced daycare license defense attorney at the Lento Law Firm immediately.
Types of Enforcement Actions the CCR Can Impose
If CCR determines you or your childcare center violated any minimum standards, laws, or requirements, they can take any number of enforcement actions against you. These include:
- Voluntary Actions (Plan of Action)
- Adverse Actions, which can include adverse amendment, application denial, refusal to renew, license revocation, and involuntary or emergency license suspension
- Judicial Actions
- Administrative Penalties, such as fines
These enforcement actions are not progressive. CCR may take any action it deems necessary to mitigate the risk of children at the daycare facility or childcare center. However, subsequent violations can compound or lead to additional enforcement actions and incur more serious penalties.
The most serious enforcement actions are license application denial, license revocation, and refusal to renew. CCR may impose these actions on childcare centers and daycare facilities if they believe children will be at risk of harm if the operation is allowed to continue. These actions apply to childcare administrators or governing bodies that have repeatedly shown an inability to identify risk and make necessary changes to mitigate risk.
Common Factors CCR Considers
When determining whether to recommend or take enforcement action against noncompliant childcare centers, CCR considers several factors, including:
- The level of involvement the childcare administrator has in the operation
- Who knew of the violation and what actions did they take to cause or prevent it
- The staff's knowledge or involvement, as well as their knowledge of the facility's operational rules and procedures
- The scope and severity of the deficiencies or violations
- Whether a pattern of deficiencies or violations exists
- Was previous enforcement action taken against the operation
CCR will also assess the nature of the risk to children and consider:
- Was this an isolated incident?
- Did it cause serious injury or death?
- Are there systemic issues plaguing the operation that may jeopardize the safety and welfare of the children?
CCR may also look at other factors that can have an impact on risk, such as operation capacity, the type of permit the facility has, the services it provides, and the number of children affected by the enforcement action. CCR will also consider the impact on the community along with any involvement from other government agencies.
CCR may impose an enforcement action at any time and may impose an administrative penalty before imposing probation. The agency can act swiftly if the facility is out of compliance with background check requirements or has violated a high-risk rule or law, for instance.
What to Do If Your Childcare License is in Jeopardy
If you received notice from a CCR inspector or the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) regarding your childcare center or daycare facility not being in compliance or someone submitted a complaint against you, you must contact an experienced Texas childcare license defense attorney immediately.
Do not panic. You need a thorough review of your case and advice regarding your rights and options. You also need someone to help you devise the proper course of action and assist in building a solid defense.
You should gather any evidence you feel could exonerate you or explain the situation, and you should have documentation of any communication you had with the CCR inspector.
Present any evidence you can to your attorney and tell your side of the story so they can better understand your situation and devise methods to assist you in the administrative review process.
What an Attorney Can Do to Help Protect Your Texas Childcare License
The safety and welfare of children is a top priority in Texas. HHCS and its CCR Division take allegations of childcare or daycare operational violations and deficiencies seriously. This is especially true if children's lives were engendered in the process.
CCR's job is to protect children in the care of others, and the agency will take enforcement action quickly. The administrative review is not a trial. The same rules of evidence and procedure do not apply as in a criminal court. CCR needs only a preponderance of evidence to find cause to take action against you. However, the agency must afford you due process and an administrative hearing regarding your case.
An experienced childcare license defense attorney knows how to present the best options for either having the charges dismissed or mitigating the potential penalties you could face.
During the process, an attorney can be an invaluable asset and advocate by:
- Helping you dispute the enforcement action properly and presenting exonerating evidence and reasons against the action
- Coordinating the payment of any fines or fees CCR assesses against you
- Assisting with completing and filing the necessary paperwork involved with processing your request for review
- Serving as your official representative in the administrative review or hearing
- Helping you reach and maintain compliance with minimum standards and permit restrictions or conditions
- Helping you meet conditions that will allow you to receive, reinstate, or renew your license
- Helping you appeal any CCR decisions against you
On top of this, an experienced attorney can provide intangible benefits like peace of mind. They can act as your trusted counsel in this difficult and stressful time and ease your burden of defending yourself against the charges or allegations.
How The Lento Law Firm Can Help You
If you're facing an investigation or enforcement action from CCR, contacting a childcare license defense attorney is vital to ensure your rights are protected and you receive the fair and just due process you deserve.
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has many years of experience advising and defending childcare administrators and daycare operators who face disciplinary action from Texas CCR.
We can help by:
- Evaluating your case and the nature of the complaint and helping you devise the best strategy to challenge it
- Representing you in all interactions with CCR or HHCS, including inspections, investigations, and administrative reviews
- Collecting evidence that exonerates you or disputes the allegations
- Negotiate with CCR and HHCS to dismiss your complaint or mitigate the charges and penalties
- Assist in any appeals request and represent you throughout the process
The Lento Law Firm's Professional License Defense Team has helped hundreds of clients throughout Texas and across the country. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.
Areas We Serve in Texas
Houston – Texas' largest city, Houston, has a population of more than 2 million people. It extends into the Galveston Bay area and is home to NASA's astronaut and flight control complex. The city also has a bustling downtown, including the Theatre District and the Houston Grand Opera.
Dallas – With a population of just over a million, Dallas is a modern metropolis with a rich history. The city's attractions include the Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center, along with numerous sports, live music, and performing arts offerings.
Fort Worth – The seat of Tarrant County with a population of just under a million residents, Fort Worth sits close to Dallas and forms the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The city has a rich pioneer heritage and was once a major meat shipment and packaging hub.
Austin – The state capital of Texas, Austin has a population of more than 960,000. It's known for its eclectic and vibrant live music scene. The area also has many rivers and lakes that are popular destinations for hiking, boating, and swimming.
San Antonio – San Antonio has a population of nearly 1.5 million and is home to the Alamo, the famous 18th-century Spanish Mission. The San Antonio River runs through town and offers a resplendent promenade for pedestrians that's lined with numerous shops and eateries.
Along with the locations above, our team of daycare license defense professionals serves clients in El Paso and Galveston, as well as Brownsville, Lubbock, Amarillo, Waco, Port Arthur, and all points in between.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
The Professional License Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm is here for you. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle your case effectively and increase your chances of obtaining the best possible outcome.