Appendix 1000-1: Determining Whether a Program or Operation Is Regulated by Licensing – Questions and Answers
CCI March 2014
Licensing staff may use the following questions and answers as a guide to determining whether a program or operation is regulated by Licensing.
A. Youth Camps
1. What are the general characteristics of a youth camp licensed by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS)?
DSHS defines a youth camp as a program that:
a. provides supervision, instruction, and recreation, using a variety of activities primarily in an outdoor, natural environment, for children who are apart from their parents or legal guardians;
b. operates during school vacation periods (summer break, spring break, and the holiday season), for not more than 120 days per calendar year; and
c. accepts a child for a minimum of four consecutive days for more than four hours per day.
2. Does DSHS license martial arts programs as youth camps?
DSHS issues a license for a martial arts program to serve as a youth camp only if the program meets all of the characteristics of a youth camp, as defined in A.1, directly above.
Most martial arts programs meet the requirements listed in TAC §745.129(2), Single Skill Programs, and are, therefore, exempt from Licensing regulation by law.
For the requirements to be considered a program that offers direct instruction in a single skill or proficiency, see the Human Resources Code, Chapter 42, §42.041(b)(18).
3. Can Licensing recommend that a recreational program apply for a license from DSHS to operate as a youth camp, rather than apply for a license from DFPS Licensing?
Yes, in some cases; however, Licensing staff must first determine whether the program is exempt from regulation or must be licensed as a school-age program.
To determine whether a program is exempt, Licensing staff:
• review the relevant definitions; and
• compare the information on the program’s exemption determination (Form 2821) with the characteristics and definition of a youth camp.
Recreation programs for children ages 5-13 are commonly known as neighborhood recreation programs. The requirements for exemption as a neighborhood recreation program are listed in §745.129(1), under Exempt Miscellaneous Programs.
Programs that do not meet all of the requirements to be exempt as a neighborhood recreation programs may meet the requirements to be exempt as a school-age program. A school-age program is a child-care facility that provides supervision, recreation, and skills instruction or training, before or after the customary school day, for at least two hours a day, three days a week, to children attending prekindergarten through grade six. A school-age program may also provide transportation and may operate during school holidays, the summer period, or any other time when school is not in session.
If, after determining that a program is not exempt, Licensing staff believe that the program would more appropriately be licensed by DSHS, Licensing staff:
• may recommend that the operation apply for a license from DSHS; and
• request that the program send confirmation that its application was sent to DSHS within 14 calendar days of contacting Licensing.
If Licensing staff believes that Licensing must regulate the program, and no confirmation about a DSHS license has been received, or the program cannot be determined to have the characteristics of a youth camp, Licensing staff proceed with the application process for a permit from Licensing.
Licensing staff do not officially determine that a program is exempt from DFPS regulation, unless:
• the program is already licensed by DSHS; or
• the program can show proof of application for a DSHS youth camp license within 14 calendar days from the date that the Licensing representative contacted the program.
An operation cannot make its own determination about being regulated or exempt from regulation.
4. Can a program that holds a current license from DFPS Licensing request a youth camp license from DSHS?
No. DSHS does not issue a license to an operation that holds a current license from DFPS Licensing.
5. Since Licensing may issue a license to some but not all of an operation’s programs (such as issuing a license for after-school care only), can DSHS issue a youth camp license to some but not all of an operation’s programs?
No. If DSHS issues a youth camp license to the operation, then all of the programs at the operation are exempt from regulation by Licensing. Under Human Resources Code §42.041(a)(5), a youth camp licensed by DSHS is exempt from regulation by Licensing. So if DSHS issues a license to an operation for a youth camp, even though the operation includes programs that constitute child care and have no characteristics of a youth camp, Licensing cannot regulate any of the operation’s programs.
B. Educational Exemptions for Charter Schools
1. Are charter schools exempt from licensure by Licensing?
Yes, charter schools are exempt from licensure by Licensing.
2. Is an after-school program that is operated by a charter school exempt from regulation by Licensing?
Yes, an after-school program that is operated by a charter school is exempt from regulation by Licensing. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has authority to grant a charter for operation to a school or may authorize a school district to grant the charter.
3. Is an after-school program that is operated by the contractor of a charter school exempt from regulation by Licensing?
No, an after-school program is not exempt from Licensing regulation if it is operated by a contractor for a charter school. The TEA does not approve the curriculum for such after-school programs.
4. Is a charter school exempt from regulation by Licensing if it offers more than one program at the same location (for example, offering first grade along with after-school care)?
Just as with school districts, child-care programs that are operated by a school district or charter school for children younger than three years are subject to regulation by DFPS. If the various programs offered operate separately from each other, Licensing exempts only those that qualify for an exemption. If the programs do not operate separately from each other, Licensing regulates all of them.
To demonstrate that its programs are separate, a school must meet the criteria for defining whether programs are separate.
5. May an after-school program exempt from regulation by Licensing offer care on school holidays and staff in-service days?
Yes, an after-school program may offer part or full day care on school day holidays and staff in-service days as long as the program is operated by a school district or charter school and the dates are within the designated school year.
6. How do Licensing staff determine the designated school year?
Each school/school district publishes a calendar that outlines school days, school holidays, and staff in-service days. School holidays and staff in-service days are considered to be within the designated school year as long as these days are specified in writing on the school calendar.
C. Collaborative Programs – Head Start and Prekindergarten
Licensing staff use the following guidelines when determining whether to license a Head Start program:
1. Is an operation that combines subsidized programs, such as Head Start and prekindergarten, exempt from regulation by Licensing?
An independent school district is exempt from regulation by Licensing, if it:
a. operates either a Head Start program or combined program that offers Head Start and prekindergarten; and
b. meets all of the exemption criteria in 40 TAC §745.119(1).
The program is not exempt from regulation if it also receives public funding that requires an operation to be licensed by Licensing in order to receive the public funding; for example, an operation that receives public funding for child care management services (CCMS).
To determine who operates a program, Licensing staff ask who is responsible for hiring, supervising, and firing staff?
Head Start programs and early care and education operations that do not meet the exemption criteria in §745.119(1) must be licensed and regulated by Licensing.
D. Miscellaneous Questions and Answers
1. If a facility is sold to a buyer who plans to open an educational program (for example, a Montessori school for children who are 4 to 5 years old), and the buyer is not subject to licensing, must the buyer still complete an exemption form?
Yes. An operation cannot make its own determination about being regulated or exempt from regulation. Having information about the new program on the exemption form provides Licensing staff with useful information about the new facility and helps Licensing staff determine whether or not it is exempt from regulation by Licensing.
2. How does an operation that offers a skills class in connection with another program (such as a day care, nursery school, or preschool) demonstrate that the skills class is separate from the other programs and, therefore, exempt from regulation by Licensing?
To demonstrate that its programs are separate, an operation must meet the criteria for defining whether programs are separate.
3. Are court-ordered children’s exchanges (domestic relations offices) exempt?
The visitation services provided by a domestic relations office or its contractor do not fit the Licensing definition of child day care, so Licensing neither regulates them nor exempts them from regulation. Provisions for domestic relations offices and their contractors are covered in the Texas Family Code, §203.004(a)(11).
4. Are the healthy snack programs, administered by the Food and Nutrition Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, exempt?
Most healthy snack food programs do not fit the Licensing definition of child day care, so Licensing neither regulates them nor exempts them from regulation.
Among the centers that do fit the definition, those that operate for fewer than two hours a day are not required to obtain an exemption or complete an exemption determination form.
Centers that operate for two hours or more a day are required by the federal food and nutrition program to:
• obtain a DFPS license or proof of exemption; or
• modify their hours to operate for fewer than two hours a day.