What Does Quality Child Care Look Like?

Several research studies have found that high-quality child care programs have certain characteristics in common. These characteristics can help parents make better child care choices for their children because they indicate a much greater likelihood of high-quality care. Quality indicators measure the conditions that generally foster a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for children. These include:

  • Low child/teacher ratios
  • Small group size
  • Staff with higher education and on-going training
  • Prior experience and education of the director
  • Low teacher turnover
  • Positive teacher/child interactions
  • Accreditation or higher than minimum licensing standards
  • Age-appropriate activities
  • Good health and safety practices

More and more children are spending time each day in some type of child care setting. All children need a child care setting where they can thrive with early childhood educators who understand how to promote healthy growth and development.

Decades of data and ongoing research have proven what an effective investment in high-quality early learning experiences can provide children, regardless of socio-economic background. Children who have a solid foundation from early education not only perform better in school, they also gain the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in life.

How to Choose Quality Child Care

In Texas, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Child Care Regulation (CCR) regulates all child care programs. It is critically important that parents and families choose child care programs, either center-based or home-based, that are licensed or registered with the CCR division. Visit the Search Texas Child Care website to confirm that a child care program is licensed or registered by CCR to operate in Texas.

To see a child care program’s Child Care Regulation history:

  • First, search for the child care program by location or by provider name, operation number, or address. Select the child care program from the search results listing.
  • Click on the “More Details/Compliance History” link
  • Scroll down to the Compliance Summary section to view the number of inspections and deficiencies over time.
  • To view the inspection and compliance history, scroll to the bottom and click the “View Full Compliance History” button
  • Scroll down to the list of inspections and click “view details” on the inspection report you’d like to view.
  • For any questions about a child care program and its history or inspection report, contact your local office here: Child Care Licensing Offices

Selecting an early childhood setting for your young child is one of the most important decisions you may have to make as a parent or caregiver of a young child. You can make the best possible choice for you and your child if you have strong knowledge of what you should expect when you are shopping for care. Download “A Parent’s Guide to Choosing Care”. It is a short read, but worth your time!

The parent’s guide will help you get started with your search for child care. Ask the child care staff key questions, look for signs of quality, and learn how to make the best choices for your family. Exploring Child Care is also an informative resource to assist in guiding the selection process.

Here are some additional resources to help you make your choice:

Find a Certified Program – View a map and listing of certified Texas Rising Star child care programs in your area

The Texas Child Care Availability Portal helps match families that need care with early learning programs that have available spots. Parents can easily access information about child care programs in their area that have current openings, which are updated on a weekly basis. Parents can also view quality certifications and accreditations, available spots by age, and links to the program’s CCR safety and health inspection report and history all in one website.