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

Types of School-Age Care


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Most communities offer a variety of school-age care programs. Families should plan ahead to research and visit the program before enrolling. High-quality school-age care helps ensure healthy physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. Not all programs fit all kids!


Licensed Care

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) licenses school-age programs to make sure they meet minimum standards for health and safety. The ratio for licensed school-age programs is 15 children to one qualified staff member.



To find licensed school-age care, contact your local Child Care Aware Washington resource & referral agency or call toll-free 1.800.446.1114.


Recreational (unlicensed) Care

Not all school-age programs must be licensed, including those that are operated by a local parks and recreation department. Other types of recreational care include:

  • Visual and performing arts programs
  • Sports leagues
  • Recreational groups
  • Cultural and social development activities
  • Academic assistance and enrichment components
  • Community service projects
  • Leadership opportunities
To find recreational activities, you can check with your local:

  • Community of faith
  • Parks and recreation department
  • United Way or volunteer center
  • Newspapers and publications
  • County and city websites
Your local school district, YMCA or YWCA may provide both licensed child care programs and unlicensed recreational activities.