Washginton DC
Washginton DC Childcare
State Requirements



Worker Qualifications

In the District of Columbia teachers must be at least 18 and have a Bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field including a minimum of 15 hrs. in early childhood education courses; or 2 or more years of college including a minimum of 15 hrs. in early childhood education courses and 1 year experience in a child development facility; or a HS diploma or equivalent and 3 yrs. experience as teacher or assistant teacher in child development  center and 9 college credit hours in early childhood education from an accredited college or university;  or experience as a teacher or assistant teacher in licensed child development center with a CDA.

Licensing and Compliance
All child care programs operating in the District of Columbia must comply with the established child care requirements. Child care requirements ensure that programs are meeting the minimum standards for care in the District of Columbia. Programs must maintain substantial compliance. Child care licensing requirements that are checked in a program’s compliance history include:

Ownership, organization, and administration
Supervision of children
Condition of equipment and materials
Discipline practices
Child/staff ratios
Environment indoor and out doors
Staff qualification and training development
Criminal background checks
Menus and food served
In addition, child development facilities are required to comply with sanitation, building and fire codes and lead clearances as required by other District agencies to become licensed. These include a certificate of occupancy, home occupation permit, lead clearance, fire approval, a letter of good standing if incorporated and a certificate of attendance at an OSSE child care orientation within 12 consecutive months.

Unless specifically exempted, every Caregiver and Child Development Facility, regardless of the name by which the Facility is designated must be licensed to operate a child care facility in the District of Columbia.

If you do not meet any of the exempted categories below, then you need to apply for a license. The exemptions are:

Occasional babysitting in a babysitter’s home or a child’s home for the children of one family;
Care provided in a child’s home by a caregiver paid for by a child’s family;
Care provided for more than one child in a Nanny-Share, as defined in this chapter;
Informal or occasional parent-supervised play groups;
Adult gyms or clubs that provide temporary babysitting as a benefit in order for members to utilize services;
Adult education programs that provide child care services while parent(s) are on the same campus as the child attending a class or education program for a temporary period of time;
Child-centered businesses that solely provide sessions, classes or activities including, but not limited to, tutoring, music, dance, sport, or art, while parent(s) or guardian(s) remain on the business’ premises;
Care provided in places of worship during religious services;
Care provided by a related person;
Facilities operated by the Federal Government on Federal Government property, except that a private entity utilizing space in or on Federal government property is not exempt unless Federal law specifically exempts the Facility from the District of Columbia’s regulatory authority;
A District of Columbia public school or public charter school providing education services to children in grades pre-K3 through grade 12 during a full school day;
A private school providing education services to children in grades pre-K through twelfth grade 12 during the a full school day;
A community based organization providing only pre-K education services to pre-K age children pursuant to the Pre-K Act and funded by OSSE;
Facilities that provide only before school care, only after school care, or only summer camp to school age children.


Provider /Child Ratio
Age Range Ratio For Center Based Care in Washington DC
2 years - 2 ½ years 4:1
2 ½ - 3 years 8:1
4 years 10:1
5 years 15:1
6 - 14 years 15:1
Mixed age group Ratio shall be adjusted to protect the welfare of the younger children
Age Range Ratio For Family Child Care in Washington DC
All ages 5:1
Infants 2:1

Contact Information
Child Care Licensing Agency
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
1050 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 727-6436
Fax: (202) 442-9430
Email: [email protected]
District of Columbia Daycare Listings

Child Care Subsidy Agency
DC Department of Human Services
Early Care and Education Administration
717 14th Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 727-1839
Fax: (202 )727-7728 or (202) 727-8166

Head Start - State Collaboration Office
Office of Early Childhood Education
717 14th Street, NW, Suite 450
Washington, DC, 20005
Phone: (202) 727-8113
Fax: (202) 727-8164

Child Care Food Program Agency
Special Nutrition and Commodities
State Education Office
441 4th Street NW Suite 350N
Washington D.C. 20001-2714
Phone: (202) 724-7655
Fax: (202) 727-2834
State Child Care Resource & Referral Contact
Washington Child Development Council
1400 Sixteenth Street, NW, Suite 715
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 387-0002
Fax: (202) 387-0411

Office Child Support Services Division
Office of the Attorney General
Judiciary Square 441 Fourth Street NW, 5th Floor
Washington, District of Columbia 20001
Phone: (202) 724-2131
Fax: (202) 724-3710
Child Abuse Reporting

To report suspected child abuse or suspected neglect in District of Columbia, call Local (toll): (202) 671-SAFE (202-671-7233).

For national child abuse information, call Childhelp®, 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453), or your local CPS agency


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