In Washington State, any individual who is paid to care for children in his or her own home on a regular basis is required to be licensed, unless the children are related to that person. Two types of child care are licensed by the Washington State Department of Early Learning: family child care (in an early learning professional’s home) and child care centers (traditionally in a commercial facility).
Steps to attain a license
Make sure you meet the requirements: The Washington State Department of Early Learning is the regulatory authority for child care licensing requirements, which are detailed in the Washington Administrative Code.
To view the licensing requirements, click here.
Review the Department of Early Learning Handbook: To download a PDF of the handbook, Licensed Child Care in Washington State: A Guide for Child Care Providers, click here.
How Child Care Resources supports you before you become licensed
Licensed child care providers are subject to the terms of the Complaint and Provider Referral Policy when they consent to be included in Child Care Resources' referral database.
Individualized Guidance: You can contact us to find out if opening a child care business would be a good choice for you. We can provide information about the start-up costs and whether your facility should be licensed and help you determine if the market is favorable for a new child care home or center in your area.
Help with MERIT: Our trained staff can help you over the phone and in person at MERIT help classes or at our Seattle office (by appointment), as you work with Washington State’s online tool.
For more information on MERIT, click here.
How Child Care Resources supports you after you become licensed
Referral Service for Providers: Add your business to our statewide childcare database so parents searching for child care can find you! We have 8 Call Center Specialists available Monday - Friday by phone and a 24 hour searchable online database. We will contact you to update your information annually, or you can contact us if you have any changes or have vacancies. In 2013, our Family Call Center served over 18,000 parents and caregivers looking for childcare options. If you’d like to be added to our referral database, click here to fill out the online form.
Support Services: We offer a range of support services to licensed early learning professionals, both in person and over the phone. Topics can include business practices, marketing your child care facility, organizing the environment of your child care to best support children’s learning and exploration, help with outdoor play areas, and more.
Ordering Handbooks and Manuals: Having information about your child care center or family child care available, such as a parent handbook or staff policies, is a licensing requirement. CCR can support you with templates that you can complete with the specific details of your facility.
To purchase a template for Family Child Care here.
Our Resource Library: On the left, you’ll find convenient access to our Resource Library, a central hub for data and information, materials and guides for early learning professionals, as well as families and community and advocacy groups. All items are available to download, print, and share.
Professional Development for All Licensed Early Learning Professionals: We offer training opportunities for all early learning professionals, including Early Learning STARS trainings.