Washington Childcare
State Requirements

Worker Qualifications

Daycare Staff: Must be 18 years old or older and have a high school education or equivalent or child development knowledge and experience.

How Providers Become Licensed
Licensed child care centers and family child care homes must pass a criminal background check, attend initial and ongoing training, and pass health and safety inspections.

Staff/Child Ratio Requirements
The number of children who can be cared for by one adult is limited by licensing regulations. Before choosing a program, ask to see the license and observe for yourself that the number of children does not exceed the number allowed.

Who Needs a License

There are different types of licensed early learning programs in Washington State:

Family home early learning program is an early learning program licensed by the department where a family home licensee provides child care or education services for 12 or fewer children in the family living quarters where the licensee resides.

Child care center early learning program is a facility providing regularly scheduled care for a group of children birth through 12 years old for periods of less than 24 hours a day.

School-age program is a facility providing regularly scheduled care for a group of children five through 12 years old for periods less than 24 hours a day when children are not attending school.

Provider /Child Ratio
Age Range Ratios for Center-based Care in Washington State
Staff/Child Ratio
1 to 11 months (Infant) (1:4) Group size 8
12 to 29 months (Toddler) (1:7) Group size 14
30 months to 5 years (Preschool) (1:10) Group size 20
5 years and older (School-age) (1:15) Group size 30
Mixed age group: ratio for youngest child in group
Age Range Ratios for Family Child Care in Washington State
Rules for family child care homes differ from those of child care centers and do not fit easily in a small chart. If there are any children who are not yet walking, the number of children per adult should be 6 or fewer. If all children are walking and age 2 or older, 2 staff can care for up to 12 children. The group size will be smaller if there are up to 4 children not walking.

Contact Information
Child CareLicensing Agency
Washington State Department of Early Learning
P.O. Box 40970
Olympia, WA 98504-0970
Phone: (360) 725-4665
Toll Free: (866) 482-4325
Fax: (360) 413-3482
Washington Daycare Listings
Child Care Subsidy Agency
Department of Children, Youth, and Families
1500 Jefferson St SE
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 725-4665
Eligibility Supports Provider Line: (800) 800-394-4571
Provider Help: ProviderHelp@dcyf.wa.gov
Head Start - State Collaboration Office
Department of Early Learning
P.O. Box 40970
Olympia, WA, 98504-0970
Phone: (360) 725-4686
Fax: (360) 413-3482
Child Care Food Program Administrator
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Post Office Box 47211
Olympia, Washington 98504-7200
Phone: (360) 725-6200
Fax: (360) 664-9397
State Child Care Resource & Referral Contact
Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network
917 Pacific Avenue, Suite 600
Tacoma, WA 98402-4437
Phone: (253) 383-1735
Toll Free: (800) 446-1114
Fax: (253) 572-2599
Office of Child Support Enforcement
Divison of Child Support
Economic Services Administration
P.O.Box 9162
Olympia, Washington 98507-9162
Phone: (360) 664-5000
Fax: (360) 664-5444

Child Abuse Reporting Hotline
To report suspected child abuse in Washington, call (866) 363-4276 or (866) END-HARM.

For national child abuse information, call the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline (staffed 24 hours daily with professional crisis counselors) at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) or the T.D.D. line at 1-800-2-A-CHILD (800-222-4453).

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