Washington Washington

Licensing Standards for DayCare Centers


WAC 388-150-190
Group Size and Staff-Child Ratios

(1) In centers licensed for thirteen or more children, the licensee shall conduct group activities within the following group size and staff-to-child ratio requirements, according to the age of the children:

AGE OF CHILDREN STAFF CHILD RATIO MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE
1 mo. through 11 mos. (infant) 1:4 8
12 mos. through 29 mos. (toddler) 1:7 14
30 mos. through 5 years(preschooler) 1:10 20
5 years and older(school-age child) 1:15 30

(2) In centers licensed for twelve or fewer children, the licensee may combine children of different age groups, provided the licensee:

(a) Maintains the staff-to-child ratio designated for the youngest child in the mixed group; and

(b) Provides a separate care area when four or more infants are in care. In such case the maximum group size shall be eight children.

(3) The licensee shall conduct activities for each group in a specific room or other defined space within a larger area.

(4) The licensee shall ensure each group is under the direct supervision of a qualified staff person or team of staff involved in directing the child's activities.

(5) The department may approve reasonable variations to group size limitations if the licensee maintains required staff-to-child ratios, dependent on:

(a) Staff qualifications;

(b) Program structure; and

(c) Usable square footage.

(6) After consulting with the child's parent, the licensee may place the individual child in a different age group and serve the child within the different age group's required staff-to-child ratio based on the child's:

(a) Developmental level; and

(b) Individual needs.

(7) The licensee may briefly combine children of different age groups provided the licensee maintains the staff-to-child ratio and group size designated for the youngest child in the mixed group.

(8) In centers licensed for thirteen or more children, the licensee may group ambulatory children between one year, and two and one-half years of age with older children, provided:

(a) The total number of children in the group does not exceed twelve; and

(b) Two staff are assigned to the group.

(9) The licensee shall ensure the staff person providing direct care and supervision of the child is free of other duties at the time of care.

(10) The licensee shall maintain required staff-to-child ratios indoors, outdoors, on field trips, and during rest periods. During rest periods, staff may be involved in other activities if staff remain on the premises and each child is within continuous visual and auditory range of a staff person.

(11) The licensee shall ensure staff:

(a) Attend the child or group of children at all times; and

(b) Keep each child within continuous visual and auditory range, except when a toilet-trained child uses the toilet.

(12) When only one staff person is present, the licensee shall ensure a second staff person is readily available in case of an emergency.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.15.020 and 74.15.030. 93-18-001 (Order 3623), §388150-190, filed 8/18/93, effective 9/18/93. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.15.030. 90-23-078 (Order 3103), § 388-150-190, filed 11/20/90, effective 12/21/90.]


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