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

Background Check Requirements


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State law requires the Department of Early Learning (DEL) to conduct background checks on anyone who is authorized to care for or have unsupervised access to children in licensed child care facilities and ECEAP sites.

The requirements:

DEL issues portable background checks, valid for three years, which can be submitted through the Managed Education and Registry Information Tool (MERIT).

Individuals associated with a licensed child care facility or an ECEAP site must register in MERIT and have a STARS ID. This includes:

  • The licensed provider
  • Anyone who cares for or has unsupervised access to children in a licensed child care facility or ECEAP site
  • Anyone age 13 or older who live in the licensed family child care home

Visit MERIT online:

  • Sign in if you already have a STARS ID
  • Apply for a STARS ID if you do not have one
  • Click on the "application" tab
  • Click "Portable Background Check Application" and follow all the instructions
    • You will need the following to complete the application:
      • Name of the Licensed Child Care Provider or ECEAP site
      • Addresses where you have lived for the last three (3) consecutive years

Send payment as instructed. For detailed information on how to pay for your background application or fingerprints, CLICK HERE.

First-time applicants must complete the fingerprint process. Individuals must submit a new application prior to the expiration date of the active background check application. If this is not done then the individual must complete the fingerprint check process. Licensed providers can track the background check clearances for employees and applicable household members through the MERIT facility registration process.

Request a copy of results:

  • Individuals may request a copy of their background check results including any supporting documents. To make the request submit the Request for Background Check Results form.
  • Requirements for individuals wishing to share their background check results with OSPI can be found here.