Before sending your kid to a daycare facility - read this.
So, you have decided that you really like a certain daycare facility and you’re considering putting your child in their care. Maybe this facility is close to work? Maybe it is open during the times you need? Maybe it is inexpensive and the staff seems nice and well-educated? Whatever the reason is that you decided on that facility, you should always be aware of what you are entitled to as a parent who leaves their child in the care of a daycare facility.
What are the laws in Texas?
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Licensing Division, has come up with certain minimum guidelines and regulations that must be followed by licensed child-care centers in Texas. The Texas Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers gives parents the right to seek certain things from licensed child-care facilities. Every parent wants to make sure their child is safe, healthy, and in the care of a responsible adult at all times. In order to ensure your child’s safety, you should know what you are entitled to by law.
What are your rights?
Let’s go over four things that you are entitled to according to the Texas Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers guidelines:
Visit & Inspect: You are entitled to visit the child-care center any time during the hours of operation to observe your child, observe program activities, inspect the building and grounds, and inspect the equipment available to your child. You should use this right to observe your child and the facility as often as you can.
Notice & Communication: You are entitled to immediate notice when your child is injured and the injury requires medical attention by a health-care professional and when your child has been involved in any situation that placed the child at risk. For example, if your child has suffered a serious injury, like a broken arm, a sprained wrist, or a serious cut, you are entitled to immediate notice by the facility. They are not permitted to wait until you pick up your child to notify you of serious injuries that require medical attention.
Posting: You are entitled to view certain postings child-care centers must post in a prominent and publicly accessible place where parents are able to see them. These postings include, but are not limited to, the center’s license, a letter or form from the most recent licensing inspection or investigation, the emergency evacuation plan and route, the activity plan for each group of children, the daily menu including all snacks and meals, and a list of current employees. These postings are to be present every day for your viewing. Be sure to review these postings as often as you can. It will help you monitor who is caring for your child, how often new employees are brought in, what types of activities are being conducted, and what food is being served.
Operational Policies: You are entitled to a copy of the child-care center’s Operational Policies. Each licensed child-care center in Texas must develop and maintain written operational policies and procedures that at a minimum address: 1) hours of operation, 2) procedures for the release of children, 3) illness and exclusion criteria, 4) medication procedures, 5) procedures for handling medical emergencies, 6) procedures for parental notifications, 7) a discipline and guidance policy, 8) policy on suspension and expulsion of children, and more. You can find a complete list of the required operational policies in section 746.501 of the Texas Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers. Each child-care facility must provide a copy of their operational policies when the child is first enrolled in the center. This means that they should give you this without you ever having to ask them. Be sure to review it in detail and confirm that it contains everything it is supposed to under the law.
You are entitled to much more as a parent and we strongly encourage every parent to read the Texas Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers. You can find a PDF copy of the most recent version here.
Reminder about how to select the right daycare facility
Remember, when you are selecting a daycare facility, there are things that at a minimum you are entitled to see, do, and receive. Knowing what you are entitled to is just step one in the process of selecting the right daycare facility for your child. If you ever feel like your daycare facility is not complying with the law, make sure to contact Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. They regulate child-care facilities and are charged with the responsibility of investigating your claims.
How can we help?
If you ever find yourself in a position where your child was injured, neglected, or abused while in the care of a daycare facility, make sure that after your child receives proper medical treatment that you call our office. We can explain what you are entitled to under the law and help you pursue justice for your child.
The Button Law Firm is a team that is built to handle daycare cases. We have created systems to ensure that these cases are handled quickly, efficiently, and smoothly with our clients.