Important Child Care Update

Effective immediately, WSNCT has paused accepting new child care applications through June 30, 2024 due to transitioning to a new child care case management system called the Texas Child Care Connection. Click here for more information.
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Early Learning Program FAQs

Early Learning Program FAQs

What is the Texas Rising Star program?
The Texas Rising Star program is a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for child care programs participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) scholarship child care program. Texas Rising Star certification is available to licensed Early Learning Programs (ELP) and licensed and registered Early Learning home facilities that meet the certification criteria. A Texas Rising Star-certified program must have an agreement to serve Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)-scholarship children.

The Texas Rising Star program offers three levels of quality certification (2-Star, 3-Star, and 4-Star) to encourage Early Learning Programs to attain progressively higher levels of quality. These certification levels are tied to graduated enhanced reimbursement rates for children receiving scholarships.
Eligibility Requirements for Relative Providers
  • The relative must be related to the child/ren by blood, marriage or court decree;
  • The relative must be 18 years of age;
  • The relative must be related in one of the following ways:
    • The child’s grandparent;
    • The child’s great-grandparent;
    • The child’s aunt or uncle; or
    • The child’s sibling (who resides in a separate residence);
  • The parent and relative provider cannot live in the same home (some exceptions apply)
  • The relative provider must become a listed provider with Child Care Licensing and sign a Provider Agreement before being paid to provide child care in the relative’s home;
  • The relative provider cannot provide care for the child/children in the child’s home unless one of the following applies: The child has a disability that makes it difficult to take the child outside his/her home;
    • The child is under 18 months old;
    • The child is a child of a teen parent;
    • The parent's work schedule requires evening, overnight, or weekend child care in which taking the child outside of the child's home would be disruptive to the child;
    • Other child care provider arrangements are not available in the community.

Please contact Child Care Services at 1-800-234-9306 for relative provider packet.

Eligibility Requirements to become a CCS Provider
  • The provider must be a regulated child care provider as defined below: 
    • licensed by Texas Child Care Licensing (CCL);
    • registered with CCL;
  • The provider cannot currently be on Corrective or Adverse Action with Child Care Licensing;
  • The provider or any staff member cannot be in serious non-compliance, seriously deficient by, or debarred from either state or federal programs such as the child food and nutrition program;
  • The provider agrees to accept the maximum reimbursement rates paid by Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas Child Care Services, unless the provider published rate is lower, which is the amount that will be reimbursed;
  • The provider agrees to maintain documentation on CCS subsidized children for 3 years and 3 months as required by federal law.
Steps to Become a CCS Provider
  • Gather the following documentation:
    1. A copy of your license or permit from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Texas Child Care Licensing or United States military;
    2. A copy of the published rates you charge for child care for all age groups for which you provide services.
  • Contact CCS at or 800-234-9306 and set up a time to meet with a Provider Service Specialist to go over requirements and gather additional information about your facility/home.
  • Once all documentation has been provided, the Provider Service Specialist will set up a time to meet with you via telephone or at your facility/home to go over CCS policies and sign provider paperwork.
How do I know my Early Learning Program (ELP) is eligible to get into the Texas Rising Star program?
Licensed Early Learning Programs, licensed home-based programs, registered home-based programs, and licensed school age programs are eligible to become Texas Rising Star certified if they meet certain eligibility criteria. Learn more about Texas Rising Star eligibility.
What is the application process like?
If you would like to apply to be a Texas Rising Star-certified program, please review the information on Getting Ready to Apply to Texas Rising Star. Then, begin your application by submitting your Interest Form.

Once your Interest Form is received, you will be contacted by a Texas Rising Star Mentor to help you begin the application process and complete the application forms. Your Texas Rising Star Mentor will help go over the Texas Rising Star guidelines and assessment measures with you and help your program get everything in order to prepare for your Texas Rising Star assessment. The amount of time it takes for an ELP to move through the application process varies. An ELP that is diligently works on preparation with their Texas Rising Star Mentor can generally get ready for assessment in 2-4 months. When you are ready to move forward with assessment, you will be given a two week window of time during which your Texas Rising Star assessment will take place. Once completed, the assessment will be scored and you will be assigned your new Texas Rising Star star rating! The Director will be required to join TECPDS and create a CLI Engage account. 

Your Texas Rising Star certification is good for three years. After three years, your ELP will have to go through a reassessment to continue your active status in the program.
What does the Texas Rising Star program look for during an assessment?
The Texas Rising Star program organizes measures into four categories:

Category 1: Director and Staff Qualifications and Training
Category 2: Teacher-Child Interactions
Category 3: Program Administration
Category 4: Indoor/Outdoor Learning Environments

During your ELP’s Initial Assessment into the Texas Rising Star program, the assessor confirms all required measures, such as written policies, are verified. The assessor assesses the points-based measures, such as teacher-child interactions and environments in observation blocks of one to one-and-a-half hours per classroom. Programs may not become certified with only structural (required) measures reviewed.

Texas Rising Star assessors evaluate the program as a whole with the Facility Assessment Record Form (FARF) and each classroom with the age-appropriate Classroom Assessment Record For (CARF) by scoring each of the applicable measures specific to the facility type and/or the classroom’s age group. The assessor then enters the assessment scores into CLI Engage, which generates the program’s final star-level certification.

Nationally Accredited Facilities
Upon receipt of the documents for application, nationally accredited facilities will receive a modified Initial Assessment, in which the assessor observes and scores Categories 2 and 4 for all classrooms. Categories 1 and 3 are not observed/assessed during the initial assessment or recertification process. 
What are the benefits of being in the Texas Rising Star program?
As a Texas Rising Star program, you could receive:
  • Higher reimbursement rates with Child Care Services
  • One-on-one support from a WSNCT Mentor
  • Scholarships for educational and professional development opportunities
  • Make improvements with access to equipment and materials
  • A free invitation to the annual Texas Early Learning Summit
  • Families with Child Care Services who select a Texas Rising Star program for child care can receive a 25% reduction in parent share of cost

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