MERIT

MERIT is Washington’s professional development registry for early learning professionals. MERIT helps keep track of education, trainings, qualifications, complete portable background checks, and assist with finding training opportunities.

MERIT is for anyone who works in or supports early care and education.

MERIT Support

  1. Visit MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov
  2. Click on ‘Sign In or Register’
  3. Fill out the required fields. Create a password
  4. Activate your account by clicking on the email sent to you. Check your spam folder if you don’t see it in your inbox.
  5. Return to ‘Sign In’ page
  6. Sign in. Username is your email address
  7. Once signed in, go to the ‘Applications’ tab
  8. Click on the application 'STARS ID Number’
  9. Follow the steps in order to apply for your STARS ID

We need proof of your current name and/or date of birth in order to update your MERIT account. Please provide a copy of one of the following:

  • Washington State License
  • Out of State License
  • Washington State ID
  • Out of State ID
  • Passport
  • Government-Issue ID
  • US Uniformed Services ID
  • Military ID

You may scan or photograph and email the ID to merit@dcyf.wa.gov. Please include your STARS ID number with your documents.

You must have a STARS ID Number before applying for a Portable Background Check application. Please verify that your first name, last name, date of birth, and gender matches what is listed on your ID. If your information in MERIT doesn’t match your ID please send a copy of your ID to merit@dcyf.wa.gov.

  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov
  2. Click on the “My Applications” tab.
  3. Click on the blue link labeled “Portable Background Check”.
  4. Complete and submit the application.
  5. Pay the $12 fee.
Are you a Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) provider?
  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Click on the “Professional Record” tab.
  3. Scroll down to the “Early Care & Education/School-Age Employment Information” section.
  4. Click on the “+ Click here to add Employment” button.
  5. Under “Program(s)”, check the box of the population you are serving.
  6. Pick your “Job Title”.
  7. Search for the Facility/Site by Name or by the Provider/Organization ID.
  8. Verify the address and click the blue “Select” button.
  9. Enter in your “Employment Start Date”. Do not enter in the “Employment End Date” if still employed.
  10. Press the “Save” button

To submit the “Facility/Site Registration” application, you will want to email or call your Licensor to verify that you are listed as the Primary Contact and that your first name, last name, and date of birth matches what is listed in your MERIT account. Once you verify the Primary Contact information for the Site, follow these instructions the next day:

  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Click on the “My Applications” tab.
  3. Click on the “Facility/Site Registration” application.
  4. Fill out and submit the form.

Once you submit your application, your Licensor will receive your request. If they accept your request, you will have access to the “Facility/Site” tab.

In order to add your Health and Safety Information please follow these instructions:

  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Click on the “My Record” tab.
  3. Click on the “Professional Record” sub tab.
  4. Scroll down to the “Health and Safety Information” section.
  5. Click on the blue “+ Click here to add Health and Safety Information” button.
    1. Choose your “Training Type”.
    2. Enter your “Completed Date”.
    3. Enter your “Expiration Date” if applicable.
    4. Click on the orange “Save” button.

Your employer can confirm your Health and Safety Trainings in their Facility/Site tab.

Education

To verify your education, you must complete an education application and submit copies of official documents. This applies to those with no degree but with any college credits as well.

  1. Login to merit.dcyf.wa.gov
  2. Click on the “My Education” tab.
  3. Click on the circle next to the words “Complete My Education: enter information about…”
  4. Click “No” to the ECEAP question.
  5. Click on the blue “Go” button.
  6. Click on the “Add Degree” button. This section is used to count how many ECE, School-Age, or ECE/School-Age Combined credits you have.
  7. Click on the “Add Certificate” button if you want to have a certificate or credential verified.
  8. Remember to submit copies of official transcripts to Centralia MERIT at: centraliamerit@centralia.edu.

In order to submit an Education Application for degrees earned outside of the US, also known as “Foreign Degrees” you must do the following two steps:

Step one: Complete a course-by-course evaluation of the degree.

Degree evaluation will determine coursework content and credit calculations from education systems outside of the US.

Choose from any of the NACES member organizations. If your degree is in a language other than English, it must also be translated into English.

 Prices vary by organization. The following two organizations provide the most cost effective options:

Step two: Complete the Education Application in MERIT.

Please note that high school diplomas do not need to be evaluated. However, if your high school diploma is in a language other than English, it must be translated into English.

If you have questions about this process contact DCYF.MERIT@dcyf.wa.gov or call 1-866-482-4325 (option 5)

Training

There are multiple ways to meet annual In-Service Training hours:

  1. State Approved Training
    These trainings are located in the “Find Training” tab in MERIT. If your training is not reflected in your MERIT account after 10-business days, contact training@dycf.wa.gov.
  2. Non-State Approved Training
    College credits, Continuing Education Units (CEUs), OSPI clock hours, or conferences.
    For trainings not taken through a state approved trainer, you must submit a Continuing Education Proposal (CEP) (See below)

To be eligible for In-Service hours, your application must meet the following criteria:

  1. The training was completed within the current calendar year.
  2. The training aligns with the WA State core competencies for early care and education or school-age professionals.
  3. The training has defined learning objectives with the opportunity to engage with other participants and apply what you learned.
How to submit
  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov
  2. Click on the ‘My Applications’ tab
  3. Under the Professional Development and Training section, click on ‘Continuing Education Proposal’
  4. Read the first page carefully and click ‘Next’
  5. Verify the Personal Information* section, click ‘Next’
  6. Verify the Employment* section, click ‘Next’
  7. Complete the ‘Training Information’ section, click ‘Next’ (please provide as much detail as possible about the training attended and how you applied it to your work.)
  8. Review and Submit

Supporting documentation is required before you receive in-service hours. This can include the training certificate, proof of attendance, etc.

Applications withdraw after 30 days of the submission date. Send supporting documents to training@dcyf.wa.gov.

Who's Eligible?

DCYF offers reimbursement for state-approved training costs for professionals employed in a DCYF licensed facility. Your employment must be confirmed or verified in your MERIT professional record. The following roles are eligible for training reimbursement for up to $250 per fiscal year:

Child Care Center

  • Center Director
  • Center Program Supervisor
  • Center Lead Teacher
  • Center Assistant Director
  • Center Assistant Teacher
  • Center Aide

Family Child Care Home

  • Family Child Care Provider
  • Family Home Lead Teacher
  • Family Home Assistant Teacher
  • Family Home Owner
  • Family Home Aide

School-Age Program

  • School-Age Program Director
  • School-Age Site Coordinator
  • School-Age Lead Staff or Group Leader
  • School-Age Child Care Assistant
  • School-Age Assistant Director
How do I apply?
  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Verify you have a current Statewide Vendor Number (SWV) on your professional record. Apply for a Statewide Vendor Number.
  3. Select the “My Applications” tab.
  4. Select “Training Reimbursement”.
  5. Follow the steps to complete and submit the application. Your reimbursement will be provided by DCYF within 2 to 4 weeks if you have a current SWV number.

For questions, contact MERIT Support services at (866) 482-4325 option 5 or email dcyf.merit@dcyf.wa.gov.

Training reimbursement is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

All pending reimbursements will expire one year after the application approval date.

Before providing a conference or special event application
  • The training aligns with the WA State core competencies for early care and education or school-age professionals.
  • The training has defined learning objectives with the opportunity to engage with other participants and apply what is learned.
How to submit a Conference/Special Event Application
  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov
  2. Click on the ‘My Applications’ tab
  3. Under the Professional Development and Training section, click on ‘Conference/Special Event Application’
  4. Select your Event Type and fill out the Organization Information and click ‘Next’
  5.  Fill out the Event Information, click ‘Next’
  6. Fill out the Session Information, click ‘Next’
  7. Review and Submit
Supporting documentation is required

A description of the purpose of the conference or special event and the target audience (this can be in the form of a brochure, conference flyer, or agenda). Additional information may be requested.

The information must be received at least 21 days prior to the training event. Applications withdraw after 30 days of the submission date. Send supporting documents to training@dcyf.wa.gov.

State Approved Trainer Resources

Create a Training Using a Template in MERIT
  1. From your MERIT profile, select the ‘State-Approved Trainer’ tab.
  2. Click on ‘Create Training’.
  3. From the dropdown menu select the training template of choice.
  4. Complete all required fields.
  5. Advance to page 2, complete all required fields.
  6. Click ‘Save’.
Adding Participants to Your Roster
  1. Click on “Roster”.
  2. Click on “Click here to add an attendee to the roster”.
    1. Participants can be added to your roster as a placeholder even if they do not have a STARS ID.
    2. Only participants with a STARS ID will be given credit even if they are on your roster.

Note: Please give your participants a certificate of completion. They will need this for verification purposes.

Questions? Email training@dcyf.wa.gov