Unlike national accreditation programs, child care certification programs are administered under state governments and are not national systems. State certification programs are voluntary programs for specific categories of child care providers that meet certain criteria.
In Texas, our state certification system is Texas Rising Star. Child care providers that have an agreement with a local Workforce Development Board to serve Texas Workforce Commission subsidized children are eligible to apply for Texas Rising Star certification. Application is voluntary.
Certification is awarded to eligible child care providers that voluntarily exceed the state’s minimum licensing standards for child care facilities in five categories:
- Director and Staff Qualifications and Training
- Caregiver-Child Interactions
- Nutrition and Indoor/Outdoor Activities
- Parent Involvement and Education
The Texas Rising Star system provides graduated levels of certification as providers meet progressively higher certification requirements. Certification is awarded at the two-star, three-star and four-star levels.
- Two-Star: exceeds the minimum licensing requirements in all five categories
- Three-Star: meets higher-quality standards in all five categories
- Four-Star: meets the highest standards in all five categories
Certification as a Texas Rising Star provider is available to Licensed Centers, Licensed Child Care Homes and Registered Child Care Home providers that meet the certification criteria.
It is important to note that a Texas child care license and Texas Rising Star certification are not the same thing. A license is required to operate a child care program in the state. Texas Rising Star is a certification of exceeding the minimum standards that licensed programs are required to meet.
Texas Rising Star certification is a wonderful system for acknowledging child care providers that exceed minimum standards, and it is an excellent way to determine the quality of a child care program you are considering.
Remember, though, that participation is voluntary and limited to programs serving children through public subsidy. A child care provider may exceed standards without applying for Texas Rising Star or being eligible for Texas Rising Star, so it’s important to ask questions of your child care provider to help you determine the quality of its program.
Visit the Texas Rising Star website to learn more.
Also learn about national accreditation programs.