To qualify for Entry Level designation, a child care and early learning program must meet the minimum quality standards outlined below and will receive technical assistance and support under the Texas Rising Star program:
Child care and early learning programs with initial permits or programs with fewer than 12 months of licensing history will be reviewed based on all available CCR licensing history.
The points threshold of 75 is based on points assigned to CCR-weighted high and medium-high deficiencies received within the child care and early learning program’s most recent 12 months of CCR licensing history. Point assignments are calculated as follows:
Child Care rule §809.20 states that only “certified” Texas Rising Star child care and early learning programs are eligible to receive enhanced reimbursement rates, therefore, programs with the Entry Level designation are not eligible for the enhanced reimbursement rates until they are Texas Rising Star-certified at a Two-, Three-, or Four-Star level.
Once designated as Entry Level, the child care and early learning program will have a maximum of 24 months to attain star-level certification in Texas Rising Star. Designated Entry Level programs can be assessed for star-level certification at any time within the 24-month timeframe if they meet certification eligibility and screening requirements prior to the prescribed deadlines.
New CCS regulated programs must meet Entry Level Designation at the time a CCS Provider Agreement is initiated with the Local Workforce Development Board (Board) and have 24 months from that date to achieve star-level certification.
Entry Level designated programs will be screened for Texas Rising Star certification eligibility at 12 months to determine if they are eligible for assessment.
If the program is not eligible for certification as Texas Rising Star by the 18th month, the program cannot receive CCS referrals for new families as an Entry Level provider, unless the program is located in a child care desert or serves an underserved population and is approved by TWC to accept new family referrals.
As of October 3, 2022, during the 24-month Entry Level period, regulated child care and early learning programs that are new to CCS must achieve the milestones shown in the table below:
Entry Level Timeline – New CCS Regulated Programs
|No Later Than…||Action|
|CCS Agreement Start||Must meet Entry Level designation eligibility|
|12th Month from CCS Start||Screening review for initial star-level certification|
|18th Month from CCS Start||If not meeting Texas Rising Star certification, no new family referrals|
|24th Month CCS Start||Deadline for attaining Texas Rising Star certification|
For child care and early learning programs that have CCS agreements with Boards as of October 3, 2022, the 24-month Entry Level period will begin on October 3, 2022 and programs will have 24 months, until September 30, 2024, to achieve star level certification.
Current CCS child care and early learning programs that exceed the points threshold for Entry Level designation as of October 3, 2022, will be provided a period of six months, through March 31, 2023, to comply with Entry Level designation. If the current CCS program fails to attain Entry Level designation after the six-month period, the program will no longer be an eligible CCS program but may apply for Entry Level designation at a later date.
At minimum, Entry Level designated programs will be reviewed for Texas Rising Star certification no later than the 12th month of the 24-month period (September 30, 2023). If an Entry Level designated program is not eligible for certification as Texas Rising Star by the 18th month (March 31, 2024), the program cannot receive CCS referrals for new families, unless the program is located in a child care desert or serves an underserved population as defined and is approved by TWC to accept new family referrals.
Entry Level Timeline – Current CCS Regulated Providers
No Later Than…
|October 3, 2022||Determine if meeting Entry Level designation|
|March 31, 2023||Deadline for meeting Entry Level designation|
|September 30, 2023||Screening review for initial star-level certification|
|March 31, 2024||If the program is not meeting Texas Rising Star certification criteria, no new family referrals may be made|
|September 30, 2024||Deadline for attaining Texas Rising Star certification|
Child care and early learning programs that are unable to achieve Texas Rising Star certification by the end of the 24-month timeframe, may submit a request to their Board for an extension waiver.
To be eligible for an Entry Level extension waiver the child care and early learning program must be:
*Note: An underserved population could include limited availability of infant capacity or care for children with disabilities.
TWC will review all Entry Level extension waivers and may grant the program up to an additional 36 months to remain at Entry Level in order for the program to achieve Texas Rising Star certification.