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

Information for Providers


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Licensing Regions Map

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) licenses approximately 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. 
If you are caring for several children on a regular basis, you may need a license. Families choose different kinds of child care to meet their needs. Some caregivers do not need a license. Those include informal parent cooperatives, and family, friends and neighbors who provide occasional care

Which types of providers need a license?

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.

Support for Friends, Family and Neighbor (FFN) providers

What's new in licensing?

Lead Water Testing Requirements:

All licensed home and center early learning providers are required to test their water supply for lead and copper by November 27, 2017. Review these documents for more information:

Getting started

The licensing process begins with an orientation, where you will receive information. Read More >

Licensing orientations

The licensing process begins with an orientation.

Child Care Licensing Policies and Procedures

Licensing Forms and Documents for Providers

Nonexpiring licenses

What a nonexpiring license is and what providers are required to do to maintain their license. Read More >

Background check requirements

State law requires DEL to run background checks on anyone who is authorized to care for or has unsupervised access to children in licensed child care facilities. Read More >

Child care licensing fees

DEL charges an annual fee to obtain and maintain a child care license. Read More >

Subsidy information for providers

Several state child care subsidy programs help eligible families with children pay child care costs. Read More >

Business resources for providers

DEL understands that as a licensed child care provider you not only care for children, but for your business too! Read More > 

Safe Sleep Training and Information