Alert: Beginning July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning will become the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). After June 30, 2018, this website will no longer be updated. For the latest information on early learning, visit the DCYF website at



Q: What is the Department of Early Learning?

A: The Department of Early Learning is a state agency dedicated to helping all Washington's children realize their full potential. You can learn more about DEL on our About Page.

Q: How do I contact the Department of Early Learning?

A: DEL's state office is in Olympia, and we have field offices around the state. Please contact us for more information.

Q: How do I make a public records request?

A: You can make a public records request via email, fax, phone, mail or in person. Our public records request page has more information.

Q: Is the Department of Early Learning hiring?

A: Check DEL's employment opportunities.

Q: Do I need a license to provide care?

A: You need a license to provide care if:

  • You are caring for a child or children who are not related to you (except a close relative); and
  • The care is on an ongoing, regularly scheduled basis for the purpose of engaging in business.

You can also read the minimum licensing requirements for child care centers, family homes, or licensed school-age centers.

Q: How do I get licensed?

A: The licensing process begins with orientation, which can be a group meeting or an individual meeting with a licensor, depending on where you live. During orientation, you will receive information about:

  • The licensing process
  • Providing child care
  • Resources to help you through the licensing process
  • Access to training and other resources once you are licensed

During orientation, you will be encouraged to think about why you want to be a child care provider. You'll want to assess your:

  • Business skills
  • Abilities to work with children
  • Determination, personality, experience and finances
  • Particular child care space

You will receive a license application, instructions about how to fill out the application and other related information. The licensor(s) conducting the orientation will explain how to complete the application form and what other information you must send in with the application.

Once you send in your application, DEL has 90 days to act on your application. If you are applying for a home license, a DEL licensor will contact you to schedule an inspection. The DEL licensor and a DEL health specialist will come to your center to inspect it. They will also talk with you about how you plan to offer child care. Throughout the whole licensing process, DEL staff will work closely with you.

During the licensing process you might also want to be in touch with your local Child Care Aware Washington resource and referral agency. Resource and referral agencies maintain a list of licensed child care centers and homes so they can make child care referrals for parents and guardians who are looking for child care. Agencies also offer a variety of services both for potential and already-licensed child care providers.

Q: What kind of monitoring does DEL do for licensed child care providers?

A: DEL licensing staff works with licensed providers to offer safe, healthy, nurturing environments. Monitoring includes:

  • Inspection by a licensor of child care areas every three years.
  • Unannounced monitoring of the facility every 12 months (licensed family homes) and every year (child care centers.)
  • Health and safety inspections (centers only).
Q: What kind of training does a licensed child care provider need?

A: A provider needs current CPR, First Aid, and HIV/AIDS training, plus 20 hours of "basic training" the first year of being licensed and 10 hours for each additional year. Get more information by reading the Minimum Licensing Requirements (MLR).

Q: What kinds of training opportunities are available for me as a licensed child care provider?

A: There are various professional development opportunities available for licensed child care providers. Please visit our professional development section to learn more.

Q: How do I find activities to do with my children in my community?

A: There are many ways to find fun, low-cost things to do in your community. Start by checking your local newspaper's event calendar or visit the Web site of your local library, youth museum, parks and recreation department or community center. You can also visit our Just for Kids section.

Q: How do I find licensed child care?

A: You can contact your local Child Care Aware Washington office for a list of licensed child care providers in your community.

Q: How do I find out whether my family is eligible for child care subsidies?

A: Please visit our Working Connections Child Care page to find out if your family is eligible for child care subsidies.

Q: How do I learn the license status of my child care provider?

A: Visit DEL's Child Care Check online system, or call 1.866.482.4325 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.>

Q: How do I access my email via the web?

A: If you are not in a DEL building and not connected to the network via VPN or through a direct connection, you can log in at

If you are inside a DEL building and using a connected to the network via VPN or through a direct connection, you can log in athttps://webmail.wa.lcl/owa/

Q: How do I find information about contracting with DEL?

A:  DEL posts all bid opportunities on Washington State Electronic Business Solution (WEBS), the state's electronic vendor registration and bid notification system. WEBS provides bid opportunities from state agencies and other government entities statewide for goods and services. Vendors interested in being notified of state bidding opportunities must register at

Once you have registered with WEBS as a vendor, you will be notified by email of all bid opportunities and documents that are posted in WEBS for the commodity codes you selected. WEBS has information about how to register as a vendor, how to select commodity codes and how the bidding process works.