Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) oversees childcare providers in the state. This agency is also responsible for licensing childcare administrators and child-placing agency administrators. You also need a permit from HHS to become a center-based childcare. You must meet various requirements to obtain and maintain these licenses and permits from HHS. As a result, complaints can result in losing your license and other sanctions. If you are facing a complaint that someone has filed with HHS about you, you likely need the advice of a child care provider license defense attorney.
Licensed Child Care Administrators and Child-Placing Agency Administrators
You must meet certain eligibility criteria, including supervisory experience and education, to receive a license to become a licensed childcare (LLC) administrator or a child-placing agency (LCP) administrator. You also must pass an examination and a background check.
Once you have a valid license from HHS, you must maintain that license by completing 15 hours of training during each two-year license renewal period.
If you fail to comply with the minimum standards, rules, and laws that apply to your profession, HHS can take remedial measures against you. More specifically, 40 Tex. Admin. Code §745.9031 allows HHS to impose the following remedial actions:
- Send you a letter of reprimand by certified mail.
- Place you on probation for a definite period, during which you are subject to conditions, including limitations on your practice.
- Refuse to renew your administrator’s license.
- Suspend your administrator’s license and require corrective action during your suspension period.
- Revoke your administrator’s license.
- Deny your administrator’s license.
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Various circumstances can lead to remedial actions by HHS against your administrator’s license. Under 40 Tex. Admin. Code §745.9037, the grounds that justify remedial action against you include:
- Violating, circumventing, attempting to circumvent, or engaging in fraud or deceit concerning any applicable law, rule, or minimum standard;
- Provide false or misleading information during the application or renewal application process, whether it is your application or someone else’s application;
- Make a statement about a material fact that you know or should know is false during the application or renewal application process;
- Fail to comply with necessary background checks;
- Use or abuse drugs or alcohol in a way that jeopardizes your ability to function as an administrator;
- Negligently perform your duties as an administrator; or
- Engage in conduct that makes you ineligible to receive a certain permit or be employed as a controlling person in certain facilities;
If you disagree with the remedial action that HHS is taking against you, you do have some remedies. Under 40 Tex. Admin. Code §745.9039, you can seek administrative review of any remedial actions. You also can request a due process hearing if HHS has denied, revoked, suspended, or refused to renew your administrator’s license.
Maintaining Your Center-Based Child Care Permit
You must have an HHS permit to operate all center-based child care facilities, including licensed child care centers, before or after-school programs and school-age programs. HHS regulates these permits if centers do not comply with all rules and laws that govern them.
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HHS Child Care Licensing Inspectors conduct routine monitoring inspections at center-based child care facilities. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure that the facility is compliant with all rules and laws and meets all minimum standards. If an inspector finds a violation of the minimum standards, rules, or laws, they can issue a deficiency to the center.
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A deficiency also may result from an investigation an inspector initiates when HHS receives a report from the public. These reports typically involve alleged violations of minimum standards, rules, or laws. Finally, a deficiency can stem from a self-report by the center itself. Centers must report specific serious incidents to HHS, such as a serious injury or illness to a child.
HHS does not report deficiencies online until the center operators have an opportunity to dispute the deficiencies. Under 26 Tex. Admin. Code §745.8603(a), HHS can resolve deficiencies in various ways, including:
- Imposition of a voluntary plan of corrective action for less serious deficiencies;
- Assessment of monetary fines or penalties for relatively serious deficiencies;
- Imposition of a mandatory corrective action plan when a center has a pattern of deficiencies or a single serious deficiency that endangers the health and safety of children; corrective action involves more frequent inspections; or
- Taking adverse actions, such as closing a center or adding permanent restrictions or conditions to a permit; HHS takes adverse actions when corrective action cannot reduce the risk at the center.
Under 26 Tex. Admin. Code §745.8613(a), you have due process rights that depend on the type of action HHS is taking against you. For instance, in the case of mandatory corrective action, you have the right to administrative review of the entire action or any of the conditions contained within the action.
On the other hand, when a center is facing adverse action, the center operators have the right to challenge the action through an administrative hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). If an administrative law judge upholds the adverse action, then the center must notify the parent or guardian of each who attends the center of the adverse action.
Furthermore, if HHS attempts to get a court order to stop your center from operating or assess a monetary penalty, you must seek relief from the court.
Get the Advice You Need About Your Professional License
When you face the potential loss of your livelihood, you cannot risk any mistakes. Don’t try to handle such a challenging situation on your own. The child care administrator license defense lawyers at Bertolino LLP, can look at your circumstances and help you devise the best strategy to protect your license or permit. Call us today at (512) 476-5757 or get more information about us online.