Outdoor Nature-Based Child Care Programs

Outdoor Nature-Based child care licensing is an available licensing option for child care providers as of July 25, 2021. If interested in applying, email dcyf.outdoornaturebasedchildcare@dcyf.wa.gov.

Child care licensing fees are suspended until June 30, 2023; however, due to recently passed legislation, effective July 1, 2023, child care fees will be required.

As a new license type, Outdoor Nature-Based (ONB) program rules are in WAC 300E, which describe a contract-based approach to licensure until the final WAC is filed in 2022. ONB licensing standards are avaialble in the ONB Child Care Touchstone Standards.

  • ONB programs can participate in Early Achievers, ECEAP, and child care subsidy programs (such as Working Connections Child Care).
  • Tribal programs can participate in this through an interlocal agreement through DCYF.
  • ONB advisory group convenes quarterly. For additional information, email dcyf.communityengagement@dcyf.wa.gov.

ONB Child Care Orientation

If you are interested in becoming licensed to operate a preschool or school-age program, you must attend an orientation. If interested, email dcyf.outdoornaturebasedchildcare@dcyf.wa.gov.

Step One

If you do not have a Stars ID number, you must register for one, which can be done in MERIT.

Step Two

For staff qualifications and professional development training, please visit the Qualifications & Roles Requirements for ONB Providers webpage.