Licensed Child Care


The Department of Early Learning (DEL) licenses more than 6,000 child care centers and family home child care providers in Washington. Licensed child care providers follow minimum licensing requirements set by the state to ensure children in licensed care are in safe, healthy, and nurturing places.

DEL licensors work to help licensed child care providers offer the best programs possible. DEL licensors provide orientation workshops, ensure provider application packets are complete, process background checks, inspect and monitor facilities, and take corrective action as necessary. Working with licensed providers, licensors identify strengths in the child care setting, and offer information and resources when something needs to be changed.

DEL issues non-expiring licenses for child care providers who have demonstrated compliance with all the licensing standards during the initial license period. Since 2011, non-expiring licenses replaced the renewal license used in the past. Licensees must submit paperwork to DEL annually to maintain this non-expiring license. Family home child cares, child care centers, and school-age programs must be monitored every 12 months.

Checking out a child care facility

When visiting a child care facility, the children should look happy and engaged.
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Licensed child care benefits

The benefits of licensed child care include:
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Licensing complaints

Occasionally, parents may need to report that a child care facility is not meeting licensing standards.
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Child Care Check

Child Care Check provides the licensing and complaint history of licensed child care providers.
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Unlicensed child care

A license ensures a child care facility is meeting state minimum health and safety standards.
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Licensing Orientations

DEL holds licensing orientations throughout the year at locations around the state. The orientations are mandatory for people who wish to become licensed providers. Sessions are available in English and Spanish.
>> View the schedule

Licensed Child Care Reporting

DEL posts data regarding serious injury and child fatalities that occur within licensed child care in Washington State. More>>

Provider Highlight: ABC Kidcare, Mount Vernon

ABC Kidcare​ is a licensed child care provider in Washington State's Northwestern region, in Mount Vernon. This provider has used social/emotional learning, healthy activity and parent engagement to prepare kids for Kindergarten! Please find the script for this video here: SCRIPT.

Know of a child care provider in your community that is willing to share positive experiences within their curriculum? Reach out to

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Washington State Department of Early Learning and its affiliates, or its employees.