Texas Laws for Child Daycare Centers

Texas laws for child daycare centersThe state of Texas requires daycare centers to follow a certain set of standards that are designed to ensure the well-being for children and staff alike. The set of procedures, primarily written in the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) guide, Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers, provides numerous regulations that a daycare center must follow in order to be licensed.

If your child is injured at a daycare because the staff was not following these regulations, you have a right in Texas for compensation for your child's injury and emotional trauma. Please feel free to contact the Anderson Law Firm with your questions. 

Here we answer key questions that many parents have, and we look at some of the most important points covered that are required for a licensed child care center.

How Many Children Are Permitted Per Caregiver?

This is one of the most important questions - and concerns - that many parents have. Determining the amount of children that each caregiver is allowed to supervise is an important factor when considering daycare centers. Too many children per caregiver should be a red flag. The DFPS guide provides a detailed description as to how many kids are allowed under one caregiver.

The ratio is determined on the age of the children in a given group. If the children are…

  • …up to 11 months old, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 4 children in that age group.
  • …between 12 and 17 months, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 5 children in that age group.
  • …between 18 and 23 months, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 9 children in that age group.
  • …2 years old, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 11 children in that age group.
  • …3 years old, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 15 children in that age group.
  • …4 years old, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 18 children in that age group.
  • …5 years old, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 22 children in that age group.
  • …between 6 and 13 years old, a caregiver can supervise a maximum of 26 children in that age group.

If a caregiver supervises more children than suggested (e.g. 22 kids who are 4 years old are under the care of one caregiver) than order can start to decrease.

Are Animals Allowed in a Child Daycare Center?

Animal bites and injuries have been a growing concern for parents. A child bitten by a dog can have dangerous consequences, especially due to the fact that infants have more fragile bones than adults do, making them susceptible to fractures at a higher rate than adults.

Animals, however, are permitted in child care centers under certain conditions. A daycare center that wishes to have animals on the premise must:

  • Inform the children’s parents when animals are to be present
  • Make sure those animals do not create conditions that are dangerous or unsanitary
  • Make sure children avoid sick animals
  • Make sure children wash their hands and perform other forms of good hygiene after coming in contact with the animal and its belongings (i.e. water and food bowls, toys, and cages)

In addition, child center providers must have valid vaccinations present that demonstrate that their animals have been vaccinated. Also, children are not allowed to have contact with certain animals, such as chickens, reptiles, ducks, lizards, iguanas, and amphibians. Caregivers must also not have children come into contact with unfamiliar or exotic animals.

Procedures for Field Trips

There is a similar set of rules that child daycare centers must follow if they wish to take the children to a field trip. To begin, daycare centers are required to have signed permission from the parent or guardian. Once the child care centers have permission, there are guidelines that must be followed, including:

  • Caregivers who have CPR training must be present and a first aid kit must be immediately available
  • A complete list of all of the children going on the field trip must be constantly checked
  • Reliable transportation to- and from- the daycare center is required
  • At least one caregiver must have medical consent forms and contact information for emergencies
  • Caregivers must have a list of food allergies and allergy medication for children with allergies

By following these guidelines, daycares can avoid having the eventuality of a child being misplaced, as well as ensuring readiness should a child with allergies have an allergic reaction.

How Should Daycare Centers Handle Childcare Injuries?

This may be one of the most important questions regarding a child’s well-being, because it involves the steps of how caregivers should follow should a child get injured.

The following applies for an illness or injury; caregivers must:

  1. Call emergency medical services and/or take the child to the closest emergency center after the supervision of the other children is ensured
  2. If needed, administer CPR or a first-aid treatment
  3. Contact the parents of the child
  4. Contact the health care professional listed in the child’s record (such as their physician)
  5. Make sure the other children are supervised

These set steps are important because they ensure the safety of both the ill or injured child and the other kids in the group. It is important for caregivers to make sure that all kids are under proper adult supervision, especially when things can get hectic.

If a Child is Hurt, What Qualifies as Negligence?

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services provides a special section (Appendix III of the Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers) that deals with grounds for negligence of a child’s injury. According to this section, an injury was caused by “neglect” if an employee of the child daycare center failed to comply with a child’s treatment plan, causes emotional harm or physical injury, or causes the death of a child. Similarly, “abuse” is designated when an employee intentionally, knowing, or acting recklessly causes emotional harm, physical injury, or the death of a child. Should a child be injured in any way, an investigation takes place where the injury, child, and daycare center are evaluated, and a conclusion of the findings are created, followed by appropriate action of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

If your child was injured in any way, we may be able to help. For over 25 years, we have helped a countless amount of people get the justice they deserve, and we would be more than happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss what your options are and how we can help.

Mark A. Anderson
Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas