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Laws and Rules Documents


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School-age child care rules

DEL revised rules for school-age child care providers; the rules took effect December 10, 2012.

Final rules and related information

Family home child care rules

DEL revised licensing rules for family home child care providers as required by the state Legislature. The rules took effect March 31, 2012.

In general, the rules:

  • Increase education, and training standards for licensed providers and their staff. The pre-license education and training standards generally conform to the December 2010 Professional Development Consortium recommendations.
  • Enhance standards for playground safety, food service, cribs, emergency preparedness, nurture and guidance, and screen time.
  • Provide an annual non-expiring full license process in accordance with Senate Bill 5625, which replaces the three-year license renewals.
  • Require portable background checks in accordance with House Bill 1903.
  • Are less prescriptive regarding how the licensee meets standards.
  • Clarify confusing fire escape provisions in the current rules.
  • Require a higher level of communication with parents regarding the child's development and the licensed provider's child care philosophy.
  • Provide more clarity for consistency in interpretation and application than the current family home child care rules.

The final rules and related information


From January 2007 to December 2009, a Negotiated Rule-Making Team formed under RCW 43.215.350 to:

  • Review the current family home child care WAC plus related rules and laws.
  • Research national child care health and safety standards.
  • Discuss proposed alternatives to the current rules.
  • Recommend comprehensive changes to the entire WAC 170-296.

The team completed its work in January 2010 and gave DEL more than 400 recommendations for revising the current WAC, plus other suggestions for improving procedures.

In March and April 2010, DEL invited public input on the recommendations and held eight public forums around the state. More than 300 pages of comments were received from parents, child care providers, public health officials and other stakeholders. From May through September 2010, DEL reviewed the the recommended changes, public input and other research, and began drafting the rules.

The Concise Explanatory Statement contains a summary of public comments received in eight public hearings and written comments during June and July 2011 and DEL's responses, including whether the final rules were changed as a result.

Related information

Supporting Documents

2009 Negotiated Rule Making Meetings

2008 Negotiated Rule Making Meetings

2007 Negotiated Rule Making Meetings

Video recordings of DEL Negotiated Rule Making Team meetings from September 20, 2008 to the present, except June 20, 2009, are available free to the public. To order, email or write to the NRMT Coordinator, Department of Early Learning, P.O. Box 40970, Olympia, WA 98054-0970. Please note the meeting date(s) you wish to order, provide your postal address, and allow at least three weeks for delivery. These recordings are in DVD format only, and cannot be emailed.