In the mid to late 1970’s there were federal standards for quality child care that were implemented across the nation. By the early 1980’s these standards were discontinued. A State workgroup was then formed to develop standards for child care providers. Using the earlier federal standards and research on the specific indicators of quality in the child care field, child care service control standards were developed. These standards were piloted from August 1985 through March 1986. A sampling of about 700 out of 1,200 facilities was assessed, and findings from this study formed the basis for the refinement and development of the TRS Provider Certification Criteria. These criteria were in use from June 1991 to October 2000.
The TRS Provider Guidelines were revised and issued in October 2000, incorporating the recommendations of a workgroup formed in 1999. The workgroup consisted of TWC, Board staff, child care contractors, and child care providers from across the state. In 2000, the revisions mainly updated the assessment and certification procedures. TWC updated the recertification and monitoring time frames for TRS providers on October 3, 2003. Additionally, TWC approved two accreditations that were included in the June 2008 update of the TRS Provider Guidelines. Finally, TWC approved updates to the TRS Provider Guidelines in July 2012 following changes to Child Care Licensing requirements for annual training hours.
Texas Rising Star Revision (2013-2015)
In 2013, TWC convened a workgroup dedicated to the revision of TRS. The workgroup was established by House Bill 376 (HB 376), enacted by the 83rd Texas Legislature. HB 376 created tiered reimbursements for child care providers who are certified TRS and serve subsidized children, providing higher reimbursement rates for providers who meet higher levels of distinction within TRS. The purpose of the TRS Workgroup was to recommend revisions to the TRS Program. The workgroup requested participation from various stakeholders and encouraged public comment.
Effective September 1, 2013, House Bill 376, 83rd Texas Legislature (Regular Session), amended Chapter 2308 of the Texas Government Code relating to the TRS program. As amended, Chapter 2308 required the Commission to:
- Create a TRS program review workgroup to recommend revisions to the TRS program;
- Propose rules that incorporate the TRS workgroup’s recommended revisions;
- Establish graduated reimbursement rates for TRS providers;
- Require Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards) to use at least 2 percent of their annual allocations for quality child care initiatives; and
- Make funds available for Boards to hire TRS assessors and mentors to provide TRS program technical assistance to child care providers.
TRS Program Review Workgroup
As required by Texas Government Code §2308.321, the TRS workgroup was appointed by the Agency’s executive director and, as required, included representatives from the following:
- Texas Workforce Commission (one representative)
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) (one representative)
- Texas Education Agency (one representative)
- Texas Early Learning Council (TELC) (one representative)
- TRS program providers (four representatives)
- Texas School Ready! (TSR!) Project participant (one representative)
- Boards (one representative)
- Board staff (three representatives)
The TRS workgroup invited stakeholders from around the state of Texas to participate in workgroup discussions and provide input into the proposed TRS program revisions. Stakeholders included individuals from the following entities:
- Board child care contractors
- Child care providers
- Children’s Learning Institute
- Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office
- Texans Care for Children
- Texas Association for the Education of Young Children
- Texas Association for Infant Mental Health
- Texas Licensed Child Care Association
- Texas Partnership for Out of School Time
- Texas Department of State Health Services
Pursuant to Texas Government Code §2308.321, the TRS workgroup was required to take the following into consideration when making recommendations:
- Professional development standards for child care directors and employees, including training and annual professional development requirements;
- Education and experience requirements for assessors and mentors;
- Early learning and school readiness standards;
- Guidelines for infants and toddlers in child care;
- Training hours for providers;
- Playground standards;
- Best practices guidelines based on standards adopted by nationally recognized organizations, including Head Start Program Performance Standards, National Health and Safety Performance Standards, National Association for the Education of Young Children program standards and accreditation criteria, National Association for Family Child Care standards, US Department of Defense standards, national accreditation standards, and Texas School Ready! certification standards;
- Research on infant and toddler brain development; and
- Strategies for long-term financing of the TRS program, including financing the payment of:
- Incentives to child care providers participating in the TRS program; and
- Grants and rewards to child care providers that achieve and maintain high levels of service.
The TRS workgroup also considered the work of the Texas Early Learning Council, specifically its:
- Texas Quality Rating and Improvement System recommendations;
- Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines; and
- Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators.
The TRS workgroup addressed the following topics:
- Minimum licensing requirements for TRS providers;
- Structure and scoring of TRS program standards;
- Minimum requirements for assessing and monitoring providers on the TRS program standards, including TRS providers that move or expand locations;
- Assessments and monitoring for nationally accredited facilities and facilities regulated by the US Military;
- Process for providers to request reconsiderations of their TRS program assessment; and
- Recommendations regarding long-term financing of the TRS program.
HB 376 required that the workgroup submit recommendations proposing changes to TRS by May 1, 2014, and rules that incorporate the proposed changes by September 1, 2014. The proposed changes to TRS were approved by TWC on January 27, 2015. The TRS Child Care Certification Guidelines represent the work of the TRS workgroup as well as many early childhood stakeholders from across Texas.