Texas specifies how many children you can care for in your home without registering with the state or getting a family childcare home license. It is important to adhere to these laws to avoid having your babysitting business shut down and your reputation tarnished as a childcare provider. In general, Texas requires you to register or license your childcare home if you care for more than four children at a time. If you provide regular child care for one to three children, you may have to list your home with the state.
Licensed Childcare Home
In Texas, licensed childcare homes are open for fewer than 24 hours each day for seven to 12 children under the age of 14 in the licensee’s home. These homes are regularly inspected and monitored by the state. The process to become licensed requires the applicant to go through background checks and orientations. On-site inspections are done at least once every year, and any allegations of abuse or neglect are investigated. Licensed facilities also include daycare centers and 24-hour residential facilities.
Registered Childcare Home
A babysitter in Texas can care for a maximum of six children under the age of 14. She can also care for up to six more school-aged children. A provider cannot care for more than 12 children at once, and this includes the babysitter’s own children. A registered provider completes orientation and background checks. An on-site inspection is done to make sure the state’s minimum standards for registered childcare homes are met. Inspections are done every one to two years, and in cases of alleged abuse or neglect.
Listed Family Homes
If you want to care for children in your home on a regular basis -- which the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services defines as at least four hours per day for three or more days per week for more than nine back-to-back weeks -- you can only care for one to three unrelated children. Listed family childcare providers go through background checks and have to be at least 18 years old. No minimum standards or training requirements have to be met. The home is not inspected unless an allegation of neglect or abuse is made or if it is thought that the care should be provided under registered-home rules.
Babysitting in General
If you care for children in someone else's home, these rules do not apply. This is true only if you work for one family with children who are siblings.
Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.