Child Care Licensing

If you are currently providing exempt child care services, including part day services, drop-in services, etc., and would like to start providing services for more than four hours per day and/or infant/toddler services, please contact your licensing office. We are implementing an emergency waiver process to speed up necessary licensing activities.

If you are currently licensed and would like to extend the capacity of your services, start serving additional age groups or include additional working hours to your services, please contact your licensing office. We are implementing an emergency waiver process to speed up necessary licensing activities. There are no fees for changing your license.

Please see the regional child care licensing offices contact information.

March 18, 2020

If you are currently licensed and would like to extend the capacity of your services, start serving additional age groups or include additional working hours to your services, please contact your licensing office. We are implementing an emergency waiver process to speed up necessary licensing activities. There are no fees for changing your license.

If you are currently providing exempt child care services, such as part day services, drop-in services, etc., and would like to start providing services for more than four hours per day and/or infant/toddler services – please contact your licensing office. We are implementing an emergency waiver process to speed up necessary licensing activities.

Please see the regional child care licensing offices contact information

March 18, 2020

DCYF Licensing Division has an emergency waiver process in place. Child care providers may request waivers for certain requirements. Please contact your DCYF Licensing Field Office for additional guidance.

March 18, 2020

In emergency cases, please call 9-1-1. Follow your child care business and health policies and procedures.

DOH guidance says if a student or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19 while at the facility, please isolate the person until they can leave the facility. If a student or staff member tests positive, you should close the facility and thoroughly clean before re-opening. Work with local public health to identify the close contacts who will need to quarantine. All members of the infected child’s or adult’s cohort would be considered close contacts.

For additional recommendations, please visit:

March 18, 2020

DOH Child Care Resources & Recommendations is guidance for child care providers to support them in organizing child care services during the COVID-19 pandemic and focus on the necessary measures to minimize the coronavirus from spreading. While DOH guidance is not a child care licensing rule, it is guidance for DCYF advising child care licensing regarding how to support child care providers ensuring healthy and safe environments for providers, children and their families. The DOH guidance is informing DCYF child care licensing decisions regarding emergency child care waivers and helping with technical assistance.

March 25, 2020

Family Home providers are more than welcome to use the emergency waiver process for increasing capacity of their services.

On Monday (3.16.2020), the White House announced new guidelines, urging Americans to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people. This guidance is based on new modeling on how the virus might spread, according to Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force.

For child care providers that remain open, it is crucial to minimize the risks of spreading coronavirus. Social distancing is one of the main strategies to slow the spread of the virus.

The DOH ‘group of 10’ guidance suggests to not have groups larger than 10 people total, including children and adults (for example, one adult and nine children, two adults and eight children, etc.) per classroom. The capacity waivers will be approved in consideration with the DOH guidance. Limiting the group size is an emergency measure that will help reduce potential coronavirus exposures and may prevent an entire program from shutting down if exposure does occur.

Please contact your local licensing office if you need technical assistance regarding emergency waivers.

March 25, 2020

Please follow your child care business and health policies and procedures, and stay in compliance with the 72-hour rules being fever free from any fever over 100.4°F.

If you do choose/had to to close for any period of time, please notify your DCYF Licensing Field Office.   

For additional COVID-19 information, please visit:

March 18, 2020

Child care providers and community partners (libraries, parks and recreations, community centers) that are interested in organizing emergency child care for medical professionals and other priority workforce groups around the state, please contact EmergencyChildcare@dcyf.wa.gov or 509-544-5712. Medical professionals are one of the priority categories that we must continue to serve and provide child care, especially in the health emergency our state is facing. DCYF is looking for partnerships with hospitals and child care providers who are serving medical professionals.

March 18, 2020

We understand the staffing challenges that may occur during this emergency. You should continue to recruit and hire staff. If you are able, use fully qualified workers who have cleared a background check. Work with your local licensing office to get approval. Bringing children to work is okay as long as it’s meeting each program/service policies and procedures.

DCYF also has a substitute pool for licensed providers that offered by The Imagine Institute and will be expanding services. If you would like support from the state’s substitute pool, please email subpool@imaginewa.org.

March 18, 2020

Telephone and/or video consultations is a good workable solution. Please make the needed arrangements with the providers.

March 18, 2020

DCYF will not make changes to ratios across the board. Please work with your licensor and submit a request for a waiver, based on what you can provide.

March 18, 2020

Use your natural supports and work with your employer for a flexible schedule, use of paid leave, extended leave, and the possibility of teleworking with children.

March 13, 2020

Please follow the WAC 110-300-0205 in reporting to DCYF staff and the Washington State Department of Health. For Center for Disease Control (CDC) requirements and guidelines, please visit for additional guidance on how to monitor yourself and keep others around your healthy: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

March 13, 2020

Governor Inslee has designated child care and licensed pre-K as an essential function for essential workers and uniquely vulnerable children. While parents are encouraged to stay home with their children if they're able to do so, we understand that child care services for our frontline health care workers, first responders and other essential workers is necessary during this pandemic. You can find the full list of essential workers here. DCYF encourages child care professionals to follow DOH child care guidance on group size and social distancing.

March 30, 2020

If you are a child care and/or a foster care provider, you are considered to be an essential worker. Please see Governor Inslee’s declaration and a list of essential workers.

March 30, 2020

Please continue to provide care to already enrolled families, including families with school-age children.

March 30, 2020

Washington State does not have any laws or rules that say at what age a child can be left home alone. In general, children under 10 should not be left on their own.

March 30, 2020

DCYF is working directly with first responder organizations such as hospitals and others that want to provide care on-site to stand up child care sites quickly through an emergency licensing process. This also includes some of our 24/7 state facilities. If you are interested in this resource, please contact emergencychildcare@dcyf.wa.gov or 509-544-5712.

March 30, 2020

The facility will not need to begin a new licensing process. Please contact your child care licensor to ensure that the COVID-19 closure is being tracked.

March 30, 2020