Texas cracks down on illegal child care

Do you know who is caring for your child?

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is now cracking down on illegal child care facilities across the state.

To ensure your kids stay safe while you TMre at work, the Texas Legislature funded DFPS $5 million to hire 40 inspectors to help unregulated child care facilities receive the required permits or shut them down.

You may think you're just doing a friend a favor by watching their children, but unless you have a child care license, you may be breaking the law.

"If you have one unrelated child you have to have a permit," child care licensing inspector Bianca Diaz said.

Three inspectors have been hired in the South Texas region, one located in the Rio Grande Valley, to ensure every child care facility is in compliance with state regulation.

"We want them to do it the correct way so we are going to offer them assistance," Diaz said.

Family and Protective Services says illegal child care facilities just aren't as safe, with no background checks, no inspections and no standards to protect your children.

"We inspect them regularly and we also make them run background checks so you know if they were cleared to be taking care of children, Diaz said.

Inspectors won't be knocking on every door to find unregulated childcare facilities but when reported, they will be investigated.

The goal isn't to shut them down but certify these child care operations and ensure Texas children aren't abused or neglected.

"Sometimes we get a call from parents or medical staff saying a child has been neglected or abused in a house. We double check and if they TMre not registered we investigate, Diaz said.

A child care permit costs between $25 to $70 depending on how many kids and where you are watching them, but it TMs far cheaper than what it could cost if you are prosecuted.

If you're looking for a day care DFPS offers four tips:

- Look at the caregiver's education and experience

- Learn if they are licensed and registered with the state

- Visit the daycare ahead of time

- Meet the caregiver or director