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

Licensing Complaints


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Most licensed child care programs offer safe and healthy environments. Occasionally, parents may need to report that a child care facility is not meeting licensing standards. Some of the most common licensing complaint types are:

  • Lack of adequate supervision

  • Insufficient nurturing and care

  • Unsafe facility environment

  • Inappropriate discipline

  • Lack of proper sanitation (and other health concerns)

If you suspect child abuse or neglect in a licensed child care facility, please contact 1-866- END-HARM to report your concerns. Keeping Washington's children safe and healthy in licensed child care is a community-wide responsibility! Learn more about who is
required to report child abuse and neglect.

Complaint inspections by DEL

A Department of Early Learning (DEL) licensor will begin to take action on a complaint within five working days of the date the referral was received. The licensor will conduct an unannounced visit to a child care facility, observing the physical surroundings and the operation of the child care facility. The licensor also will review relevant on-site documentation. A licensor may also interview staff, parents, and the person who called in the complaint. The complaint is usually inspected and resolved within 45 days.


Complaints that are found to be valid (proven) are posted on Child Care Check.

Review the licensing and complaint history of child care providers

Child Care Check provides basic licensing information and the history of any complaints made about a licensed child care provider that was found to be valid. You can call 1.866.482.4325 to access this service or visit Child Care Check.


Child Care Check is meant as a tool to provide basic information to help you find a licensed child care provider and/or determine if a provider is licensed.

Investigations of Child Abuse and Neglect (DLR/CPS)

If a referral involves child abuse or neglect, the Department of Licensed Resources/Child Protective Services (DLR/CPS) at the Department of Social and Health Services will investigate the complaint. When there is a significant possibility that a child may be seriously physically or emotionally injured, DLR/CPS will have face-to-face contact with all identified alleged child victims within 24 hours. When a complaint does not involve immediate risk to children, DLR/CPS will interview all alleged child victims within 72 hours. The complaint is usually investigated and closed within 45 days.

Unlicensed facilities

If you suspect a facility does not have a license to care for children, you should also use the contact number 1-866-END-HARM to report your concerns. A license ensures a facility is meeting state minimum health and safety standards. 


Not all facilities require a license. Click here for more information about license-exempt care.