Remember that 80% of brain development occurs before age 4 and when children attend high-quality child care, they are better prepared for school. Parents are encouraged to choose quality care.
Select any topic below and watch the short video about each of the five important indicators of quality child care.
Nutrition & Environment
Indicators of Child Care Quality
When looking for a childcare provider, remember to always:
- Be observant when visiting a potential provider and pay close attention to:
- The inside and outside of the day care
- Safety measures in place to protect the children
- What activities are offered to the children
- The interaction between the children and the caregivers
- If the day care has books
- The amount of furniture and toys and the quality/cleanliness of both
- Visit the daycare more than once if possible, make unannounced visits, and compare announced and unannounced visits. Never stop the observation process. Don’t just look around the daycare, stop and listen for:
- The sounds of children laughing, singing, and playing
- The teacher’s tone of voice
- Interaction during group activities. It shouldn’t be quiet.
- Noise that is not appropriate to the children’s activity. This could indicate a lack of control.
- Take note of the following:
- The number of children per caregiver
- The ratio of children to caregivers which is most comfortable to you
- If the center or home has a better child/caregiver ration that what is required by licensing
- Parents are encouraged to inquire whether a chosen provider is quality rated. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a nationally-recognized accrediting body, has identified key characteristics that define quality early childhood programs. These characteristics include:
- Safe and healthy physical environments.
- Small class size with low teacher to child ratios.
- Positive relationships between child and caregiver.
- A curriculum that promotes learning and development in the major development areas.
- Qualified and knowledgeable staff.
- Age-appropriate approaches to teaching and an ongoing assessment of children’s progress.
Finding Quality Care Indicators on the Provider List
The provider list indicates if you have chosen a provider who participates in a project emphasizing child care quality. Quality indicators include:
- Texas Rising Star and Nationally Accredited Providers. These providers exceed minimum state licensing standards. They have smaller group sizes, more qualified staff, program components that address sound practices for the development of children.
- Texas School Ready!™ Grant Project (TSR). The TSR! Grant Project is a high-quality early childhood model, based on proven school readiness components. This program is administered by the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI).
- Kindergarten Readiness System (KRS). KRS evaluates the effectiveness of prekindergarten, Head Start. And community-based licensed child care programs in preparing children for kindergarten.
Types of Available Child Care
There are three types of childcare regulated by The Texas Health and Human Services Child Care Licensing Division (THHS).
Licensed Child Care Centers
Child Care Centers must be licensed by the THHS. Childcare is provided at a location other than the license holder’s residence. The center may care for seven or more children.
Licensed Child Care Homes
The primary caregiver must be licensed by THHS to provide childcare in their own residence. The total number of children allowed in care varies with the ages of the children but must not exceed 12, including children related to the caregiver.
Registered Child Care Homes
The primary caregiver must be registered with the THHS. to provide childcare in their own residence. The total number of children allowed in full day care varies with the ages of the children but must not exceed six. Care may be provided for no more than six additional elementary school children after school hours. The total number of children at any given time must not exceed 12, including children related to the caregiver.
Certain restrictions apply to all regulated caregivers.
Those restrictions limit care to ages from birth through 13 years, limit time in care to less than 24 hours per day, and set a ratio of caregivers to the number of children in care based on the ages of the children.
To be qualified to provide this type of child care, a relative must be listed with (THHS) be the child’s grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling who is at least 18 years of age. The relative must be related by marriage, blood relationship or court decree. In addition, the relative providing care must not reside in the same household as the child; however, there are exceptions to this rule. These exceptions must be pre-approved from Child Care Services before care can be authorized.
Note: Criminal background checks must also be submitted for individuals who regularly or frequently work or live in the home and are turning 14 years of age. Relative care must follow the same restrictions that apply to regulated care for the age of the child, time in care and ratios of caregiver to children and subject to random unannounced home visits.
Search for Child Care Center or Home
Choosing quality care is important, no matter which kind of provider you decide upon. The Texas Health and Human Services Provider Search allows you to select care options and find providers who can best assist you with your search needs. Click here to use the THHS search.
Local Child Care Licensing Office
3521 S.W. 15th St.
Amarillo, TX 79102