Daycares, Parents, and Court Orders

Written by Waldron & Schneider Attorney Kimberly A. Bartley.

As a daycare owner in Texas, when parents are parties to a custody agreement outlining when each parent’s visitation period begins and ends, are you bound by the Court’s Order? The Texas Administrative Code contains the minimum standards acceptable for a daycare’s activities. These including addressing parent/child relationships.

Texas’s Minimum Standards for Child-Care Centers, §746.4101, provide that a child should only be released to a parent or a person designated by the parent. The question in the custody case becomes what happens if a parent arrives at the daycare to pick up their child outside of the times provided in the Court Order? Do you, as the daycare facility owner, release the child?

Texas Health & Human Services, the agency responsible for overseeing the licensing of daycares, has determined that it is not the daycare facility’s position to enforce a Court Order. Rather, if a parent arrives to pick up their child outside the times provided in the Order, as long as the parent does not pose a visible threat to the child, the facility must release the child to the parent. As the owner, when this situation arises, you should immediately contact the local police through the non-emergency line and advise them of the situation.

While you may not legally withhold a child from their parent, part of your enrollment process with parents who are parties to custody orders should be to require written instructions on how the parents want you to handle a situation if you do not feel comfortable releasing a child to their parent. For example, is there another trusted individual you can contact to pick up the child? This agreement should be signed by both parents and a representative from your school.

If you need assistance addressing any issues relating to the enrollment or care of a child in your facility, the attorneys at Waldron & Schneider are here to assist you in the smooth operation of your school.

The legal information in this blog entry is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, nothing contained in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. This article and website are made available by Waldron & Schneider for educational purposes only and to give basic information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Waldron & Schneider. The article and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. For more information or questions you can contact us and one of our attorneys will be in touch soon.