Texas Rising Star Eligibility

As provided in Texas Government Code §2308.3155, the Texas Rising Star program is a voluntary, quality-based child care rating system of child care and early learning programs participating in TWC’s subsidized child care program.

All programs applying for Texas Rising Star certification must:

  • have an active agreement with a Board to provide subsidized child care and a current Pre-Star designation;
  • have a permanent (non-expiring) license or registration from CCR*;
  • have at least 12 months of licensing history with CCR*;
  • demonstrate a high level of compliance with CCR minimum standards* over the preceding 12 months in accordance with the Texas Rising Star Initial Screening Form; and
  • ensure that a center director account is created in the Workforce Registry and that the director encourage their staff members to create individual accounts within the Workforce Registry.

*Programs that are not regulated by CCR but are regulated by the US military and in good standing are also eligible to apply for Texas Rising Star certification.

Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Child Care Regulation (CCR) is the licensing and regulatory agency for the state of Texas. CCR standards establish minimum licensing requirements that all child care and early learning programs must follow. If an early learning program has repeated licensing deficiencies, CCR may place the program on corrective action. CCR may initiate an adverse action to include a revocation or suspension of a license if:

  • deficiencies are not corrected timely;
  • there are repeat deficiencies; or
  • there is an incident or single deficiency that poses an immediate risk to children.

Accordingly, as set forth in §809.131, early learning programs placed on corrective or adverse action by CCR are automatically found not to have demonstrated consistent compliance with minimum licensing standards and, therefore, are not eligible to participate in Texas Rising Star.
Texas Rising Star-certified programs choose to meet standards that exceed CCR’s minimum standards and must demonstrate consistent compliance with the state’s minimum licensing requirements. Programs are screened for licensing compliance over the most recent 12 months prior to any assessment and on a quarterly basis.

Additional eligibility criteria include:

  • having less than 15 total CCR weighted High and/or Medium-High deficiencies
  • not being on Board Corrective Action or Notice of Freeze
  • not being cited for the facility’s applicable CCR weapons minimum standard

View each facility type’s screening form for initial Texas Rising Star application: Center-based, Homes, or After-School Program

Star-Level Drop Deficiencies

Programs are not eligible to apply for Texas Rising Star if any of the noted deficiencies listed below are cited during the most recent 12-month CCR licensing period. Programs that are currently Texas Rising Star will incur a star-level drop for each deficiency cited during the most recent 12-month CCR licensing period. 2-Star certified programs will lose certification.

Deficiencies Leading to a Star-Level Drop—Centers
  • 635: Criminal Convictions or Central Registry Findings—Take Appropriate Action [High]
  • 641: Background Checks Requirement—Providing Direct Care [High]
  • 1201(4): Responsibilities of Employees and Caregivers—Ensure No Child is Abused, Neglected, or Exploited [High]
  • 1201(5): Responsibilities of Employees and Caregivers—Report Suspected Child Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation [High]

 

Deficiencies Leading to a Star-Level Drop—Homes
  • 635: Criminal Convictions or Central Registry Findings—Take Appropriate Action [High]
  • 641: Background Checks Requirement—Providing Direct Care [High]
  • 207(4): Reporting Suspected Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation [High]
  • 1501(a)(3): Responsibility of Caregivers—Ensure No Child is Abused, Neglected, or Exploited [High]

 

Deficiencies Leading to a Star-Level Drop—School-Age Programs
  • 635: Criminal Convictions or Central Registry Findings—Take Appropriate Action [High]
  • 641: Background Checks Requirement [High]
  • 1201(4): Responsibilities of Employees and Caregivers—Ensure No Child is Abused, Neglected, or Exploited [High]
  • 1201(5): Responsibilities of Employees and Caregivers—Report Suspected Child Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation [High]

 

Probation Deficiencies

A child care program is not eligible to apply for Texas Rising Star if the program has any of the deficiencies listed below in its most recent 12-month CCR licensing compliance history. Programs that are currently Texas Rising Star will be placed on a six-month probation if any noted deficiency is cited during the most recent 12-month CCR licensing period.

Deficiencies Resulting in a Probation—Centers
  • 621: Background Checks Requirement—Submitting Requests [High]
  • 1003: Director Responsibilities [(1), (3–6) High (2) Medium]
  • 1201(1): Responsibilities of Employees and Caregivers—Demonstrate Competency, Good Judgment, Self-Control [High]
  • 1203(4): Responsibilities of Caregivers—Supervision of Children [High]
  • 1315: First Aid and CPR Requirements [Medium-High]
  • 2805: Prohibited Punishments [High]
  • 3805(a): Administering Medication—How to Administer Medication [High]
  • 3805(b): Administering Medication—How to Administer Medication [(2) High; (1), (3) Medium-High]

 

Deficiencies Resulting in a Probation—Homes
  • 621: Background Checks Requirement—Submitting Requests [High]
  • 207 (1–3), (5–7): Primary Caregivers Responsibilities [(6) High; (1–3), (7) Medium High, (5) Medium]
  • 1501(c)(1): Responsibilities of Employees and Caregivers—Demonstrate Competency, Good Judgment, Self-Control [High]
  • 1501(c)(4): Responsibilities of Caregivers—Supervision of Children [High]
  • 1313: First Aid and CPR Training [High]
  • 2705: Prohibited Punishments [High]
  • 3605(a): Administering Medication—How to Administer Medication [High]
  • 3605(b): Administering Medication [(2) High; (1), (3) Medium-High]
  • 3501: Safety—Areas Free from Hazards [(1–7) Medium-High, (8) High]

 

Deficiencies Resulting in a Probation—School-Age Programs
  • 621: Background Checks Requirement [High]
  • 1005(a)(1)–(6): Director Responsibilities [Medium-High]
  • 1201(1): Responsibilities of Employees and Caregivers—Demonstrate Competency, Good Judgment, Self-Control [High]
  • 1203(4): Responsibilities of Caregivers—Supervision of Children [High]
  • 1315: First Aid and CPR Requirements [Medium-High]
  • 2105: Prohibited Punishment [High]
  • 2655(a): Administering Medication—How to Administer Medication [High]
  • 2655(b): Administering Medication—How to Administer Medication [(2) High; (1), (3) Medium-High]

 

Per CCR, deficiencies are not posted on the website until after the appeals process has been completed. Once a deficiency is posted on the CCR website, it is considered final, and Texas Rising Star impacts are applied accordingly.

If a specific licensing standard is listed on the screening form, for example, 746.3805(a), only that specific standard would apply, whereas if whole sections are listed, rather than a specific standard, such as 746.280, any deficiency cited in the whole section would apply.

Learn more about the impact of deficiencies on Texas Rising Star status.

Department of Defense and Nationally Accredited Early Learning Programs

Department of Defense–Operated Child Care and Early Learning Programs

Facilities operated and monitored by the US Department of Defense (DoD) are required to meet high-quality standards established and monitored by DoD. Therefore, DoD-operated facilities receive 4-Star certification without requiring submittal of application or an assessment. DoD-operated facilities are not subject to or monitored by CCR and, therefore, not subject to the screening process. Additionally, DoD-operated facilities are not subject to the annual unannounced monitoring visit or the three-year recertification visit.

TWC-Recognized National Accreditations

Child care and early learning programs with a TWC-recognized national accreditation will receive a modified Initial Assessment. These facilities must meet Texas Rising Star eligibility requirements and are subject to and monitored by CCR and, therefore, are subject to ongoing screenings of licensing history. Additionally, programs with recognized accreditation are required to comply with the procedures for the annual monitoring visit and recertification assessments detailed in Section 3 of these Guidelines. Texas Rising Star staff will also verify a program’s national accreditation status at least annually.

The following national accreditations are recognized by TWC:

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)
  • National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)
  • National Accreditation Commission for Early Child Care and Education (NAC)
  • Council of Accreditation (COA)
  • Cognia (previously AdvancED) Quality Early Learning Standards (QELS)
  • Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
  • Early Head Start and/or Head Start Programs regulated by CCR

Note: This list is subject to change.

National accrediting entities that wish to become recognized by TWC will need to complete the Texas Rising Star Accreditation Recognition Process within the Texas Rising Star Guidelines.

Application Process

TWC-recognized nationally accredited child care and early learning programs wishing to participate in Texas Rising Star are required to complete the following at initial application and upon recertification:

  • Texas Rising Star Application
  • Texas Rising Star Screening Form, applicable to the facility type
  • Copy of current, valid national accreditation certificate

All nationally accredited early learning programs, other than those operated and monitored by the DoD, are regulated and monitored by CCR, subject to the screening process, and required to comply with the procedures for the Initial Assessment, Annual Monitoring visit, and Recertification Assessment. Texas Rising Star staff will verify a program’s national accreditation status at least annually.