MERIT Workforce Registry

MERIT is the Workforce Registry and official system of record for early learning professionals in Washington State. It is an online system used to record and recognize the growth and achievements of the early learning field statewide.

In MERIT, you can build a professional profile to:

  • Record employment, training and educational accomplishments
  • Complete a Portable Background Check application
  • Find training opportunities
  • Manage employee records for a facility or site
  • Be recognized and receive awards for professional achievements

The information collected helps policymakers identify and analyze barriers to access, support career advancements and program-wide improvements. This information is crucial for encouraging increased recognition and compensation for well-qualified workforce.

MERIT Support

  1. Visit MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov
  2. Click on ‘Sign In or Register’
  3. Fill out the required fields and 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. Your username is your email address
  7. Once signed in, go to the ‘My Applications’ tab
  8. Click on the application 'STARS ID Number’
  9. Follow the steps to apply for your STARS ID

To update your name and/or date of birth in MERIT, you must provide a copy of one of the following:

  • Washington State Driver’s License
  • Out of State Driver’s License
  • Washington State ID
  • Out of State ID
  • Passport
  • Government-Issued ID
  • U.S. Uniformed Services ID

You may send a photographed or scanned copy of your 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 (PBC) application.  Please verify that your first name, last name, date of birth and gender in MERIT match what is listed on your current ID. If your information does not match, please send a copy of your current ID to merit@dcyf.wa.gov.

Portable Background Check application instructions:
  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 who needs to complete a Portable Background Check?

To update your employment information in MERIT, complete the following steps:

  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 and click “Go”
  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

The Facility/Site tab is a management tool for staff who oversee and track employee records in MERIT. To access the Facility/Site tab you must submit a Facility/Site Registration application. To submit the application, you must be listed as either the Primary Contact or an Additional Designee.

Primary Contact Process

To submit a Facility/Site Registration application, you must be listed as the Primary Contact for your Facility/Site. Primary Contacts may be one of the following roles:

  • Owner (Center)
  • Family Home Owner
  • Director
  • Site Manager

Your first name, last name and date of birth listed under the Primary Contact information in FamLink must match what is recorded in MERIT. Contact your Licensor to verify or update this information. If your information is updated, you will need to wait one business day before submitting the Facility/Site application (see instructions below).

Additional Designee Process

Any role may submit a Facility/Site Registration application as an Additional Designee once given permission by the Primary Contact. To grant permission, the Primary Contact will need to select the “Allow user to Apply for Additional Designee” box in your employment record. The employment record must also have a “confirmed” or “verified” status.

Facility/Site Registration application instructions:
  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 submitted, your Licensor will review the request for access to the “Facility/Site” tab.

For additional information, please see our Facility/Site guide.

Use the Health and Safety section in MERIT to record the following pre-service and training requirements:

  • Blood Borne Pathogen
  • CPR certification
  • First Aid certification
  • Food Handlers Permit, if applicable
  • Safe Sleep, if working with infants/toddler
  • TB Test
Adding Health and Safety Information 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 in MERIT, you must complete an education application and submit copies of supporting documents. Complete the following steps:

Step 1: Gather your supporting documents.
  • This may include official transcripts, High School diplomas and/or certificates of completion.
  • If you are only submitting education for annual In-Service training hours, you may submit copies of unofficial transcripts.
Step 2: Submit an education application in MERIT.
  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. Complete the following sections, as needed:
    “Diplomas, Degrees, Colleges Attended”
    • Use this section to submit education for licensing staff qualifications.
    • Submit completed college credits. You do not need to have a completed degree.
    • You must submit a copy of official transcript(s) for verification.
    • If verifying a degree, the transcript must include the date of degree completion.
    “College Coursework”
    • Use this section to submit completed college coursework for annual In-Service training hours (formerly known as Annual Continuing Education STARS hours).
    • Only submit coursework completed within the past three years.
    • This section does not verify education for licensing staff qualifications.
    • Only three courses may be submitted per calendar year.
    “Certificate and Credentials”
    • Use this section to submit certificates and credentials for licensing staff qualifications.
    • You must submit copies of your certificate of completion for verification.
Step 3: Submit copies of supporting documents.

Once an education application is submitted and all supporting documents are received, please allow up to 45 days for the verification process.

  • If unable to upload supporting documents at the end of the education application, please email them to centraliamerit@centralia.edu.
  • Always include copies of both the front and back of each transcript page.
  • Keep the original copy of the official transcripts for your personal records. Submit a scanned copy for review.
  • Education applications are withdrawn after 90 days if supporting documents are not received.

Once an education application is submitted and all supporting documents are received, please allow up to 45 days for the verification process.

To submit education earned outside of the U.S. for verification, you must complete the following steps:

Step 1: Complete a course-by-course evaluation with any of the NACES member organizations.

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

Step 2: Complete an education application in MERIT and submit course-by-course evaluation. 

High school diplomas do not need a course-by-course evaluation. However, if your diploma is in a language other than English, it must be translated.

To complete an ECEAP Staff Qualification application in MERIT as an ECEAP lead teacher, assistant teacher or family support staff role, complete the following steps:

Step 1: Gather your information and supporting documents.
  • Employment information: Name of ECEAP sites you have worked for, ECEAP job start and end dates.
  • College information: Names of colleges attended, your majors and minors, graduation dates, course codes and dates for any courses counted toward your ECEAP staff qualifications.
  • Certificate and credential information: Issuer and date of completion.
Step 2: Complete ECEAP Staff Qualification Application in MERIT.
  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. Select “yes” for “I am an ECEAP lead teacher, ECEAP assistant teacher and/or ECEAP family support staff,” if true.
  5. Click on the blue “Go” button
  6. Complete Steps 1-5 by following the directions on each page then clicking “Next”
Step 3: Submit copies of supporting documents.
  • Scan or email copies of your official transcript(s) and certificates to centraliamerit@centralia.edu.
  • Always include copies of both the front and back of each transcript page. 
  • Keep the original copy of the official transcripts for your personal records. Submit a scanned copy for review.
  • Applications will be withdrawn after 90 days if supporting documents are not received.

DCYF uses Education Awards to recognize and reward the educational achievements of all early learning professionals. Once your education is verified in MERIT, you may be eligible to earn education awards for the following achievements:

  1. Highest level of education
  2. Up to four ECE (early childhood education or early care and education) majors
  3. Up to three ECE certificates and credentials

To receive your award, you must have a Statewide Vendor (SWV) Number listed in your MERIT record. If you do not have a SWV number, you can find the necessary forms and instructions for applying for one:

For additional information, please see our Education Award Guide

To appeal a decision regarding verified education, training or an ECEAP Staff qualification application, you must submit the Education Appeal Form within 60 days of the decision.

Training

An early learning professional with at least 12 months of cumulative employment must complete 10 hours of annual In-Service training

  • The annual training requirement is based on DCYF fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). Providers have the full year to meet all 10 In-Service training hours.
  • Five In-Service training hours may be carried over from one fiscal year to the next fiscal year. At this time, this carry over is not captured in MERIT. To complete this option, please contact your licensor.
  • “STARS hours” or “state-approved training” are other phrases commonly used when referring to “In-Service training.”
  • Additional information on licensing standards for training is available under the “Training” section.
There are multiple ways to meet annual In-Service training hours:

Use the "Find Trainings" feature in MERIT to search for state-approved trainings. Trainings are recorded in MERIT by the State-Approved Trainer. If your MERIT record does not reflect your completed training after 30-business days, please contact merit@dcyf.wa.gov.

For learning experiences completed through non-state-approved training, such as attending out of state conferences, you may submit a Continuing Education Proposal (CEP) application to request annual In-Service training hours. Additional information on this option is included in the “Continuing Education Proposal” section below.

To receive annual In-Service training hours for college coursework related to the WA State Core Competencies for Early Care and Education or School-Age Professionals, complete the college “Coursework” section of an Education Application in MERIT and submit copies of unofficial transcripts to centraliamerit@centralia.edu. Only up to three courses may be submitted per calendar year. All courses must have been completed within the past three years.

Use any of the following methods to find state-approved trainings for annual In-Service hours or to complete required trainings:

MERIT

Use the “Find Trainings” feature in MERIT to search for in-person, self-paced and online State-Approved trainings.  

DCYF Student Training Portal

Use the DCYF Student Training Portal to complete some of the required trainings for your role online.

Child Care Basics (CCB) is the initial training to meet the health and safety requirements for educators working in licensed early learning facilities. Included below are all of the various ways you can meet the CCB training requirement. Additional information is available in the Completing CCB guide.

In response to COVID-19, DCYF is offering a temporary, condensed version of CCB for early learning professionals working in licensed facilities. For those who select this option, you will need to complete the full CCB version during the 2021-2022 fiscal year (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022).

  • The “COVID-19 Temporary Health and Safety Training” is available online in the DCYF Student Training Portal.
  • The training is available in English, Spanish and Somali.
  • The training takes approximately three hours to complete.

Complete this training online or in-person with a State-Approved trainer. Use the “Find Trainings” feature in MERIT to search for available trainings. The CCB training will soon be offered online by DCYF at no cost. 

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • The training will be recorded in MERIT by the State-Approved trainer.
  • If your training is not recorded in your MERIT account within 30 days, please contact merit@dcyf.wa.gov and provide a copy of your CCB certificate.

Complete this college course as a DCYF-recognized alternative to CCB. Use the Early Learning Career Planning Portal to find institutions offering this course near you.

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • Complete an education application in MERIT and submit supporting documents that show course completion to centraliamerit@centralia.edu.
  • For instructions on submitting an education application, please see the “Education Verification” section above.
  • If you submitted an education application for this course before fall 2019 and the CCB requirement was not approved, please contact merit@dcyf.wa.gov.

Complete this college course as a DCYF-recognized alternative to CCB. Use the Early Learning Career Planning Portal to find institutions offering this course near you.

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • Complete an education application in MERIT and submit supporting documents that show course completion to centraliamerit@centralia.edu.
  • For instructions on submitting an education application, please see the “Education Verification” section above.

To complete this option, you must have both eligible education and all five “Federal Health & Safety Training” modules verified in your MERIT record. This option aims to support individuals who have already completed their education but whose coursework did not include one of the alternative options listed above. Education eligible for this option includes:

  • 12 ECE or ECE/School-Age college quarter credits
  • 13 Military Modules Certificates of Completion
  • A current Child Development Associate (CDA)
  • Montessori Credential/Endorsement (MACTE)
How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?

DCYF has partnered with Head Start, ECEAP and School Districts to recognize Health and Safety training content provided by the site or program as meeting state and federal requirements. To complete the CCB requirement through this option, speak with your site supervisor to see if they offer recognized training to staff.

How do I record my CCB requirement in MERIT?
  • Site supervisors are responsible for creating, attesting training plan to DCYF and notifying the date of completion. For additional information, site supervisors may contact training@dcyf.wa.gov.

Use the DCYF Student Training Portal to complete some of the required trainings for your role. These trainings may include:

  • Child Care Licensing Orientation
  • Safe Sleep
  • Federal Health and Safety Modules
  • Electronic Attendance System
 DCYF Student Training Portal Registration Instructions:  
  1. Visit the DCYF Student Training Portal at dcyftraining.com.
  2. Click on the “Sign Up” option.
  3. Fill out the required fields.
    1. You must have a STARS ID number.
    2. Your name must match what is listed in MERIT. If you need to change your name in MERIT, contact merit@dcyf.wa.gov.
  4. Create a password.
  5. Click on “Continue to Your Training” to see a list of all training options.

The Continuing Education Proposal (CEP) application allows you to request annual In-Service training hours for a learning opportunity not connected to a state-approved training. You may complete a CEP application for the following types of professional learning experiences: 

In-person or online training, examples may include:
  • Community-based trainings (i.e., training offered by a hospital, Chamber of Commerce or local library)
  • Online webinar or self-paced course
  • Training series (a training that occurred over a period of time)
Conference:
  • In-state events that are not already approved for in-service hours
  • Out-of-state events
You are eligible to submit your learning experience if it meets the following criteria: 
  1. You completed the learning experience within the last 12 months.
  2. The learning experience covers topics that are in the WA State Core Competencies for early care and education or school-age professionals.
  3. You applied what you learned to your work.
  4. The learning experience was at least one hour long.  
Continuing Education Proposal Application Instructions: 

Step 1: Gather your information and supporting documents.

  • Official description of the training: handouts, brochure, link to specific training.
  • Proof of attendance. Must include: title of training, number of hours/credits earned, date of training, your name, name of trainer or organization. 

Step 2: Complete a Continuing Education Proposal application in MERIT.

  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Select the Continuing Education Proposal application in the “My Applications” tab.
  3. Review information included in the “Continuing Education Proposal,” “Personal Info” and “Employment” sections. Click “Next” after each page.
  4. Complete the “Training Information” section:
    • Select the Training Type: Class or Conference.
    • Make sure the training title, start date and end date match your supporting documents.
    • Provide detailed responses to each section to help us understand what you learned, how it relates to your work and how you plan to apply this information in your position.  Each response must be a minimum of 200 words.
    • Complete “Organization Details” section.
  5. Review and Submit.

Step 3: Submit copies of supporting documents to merit@dcyf.wa.gov within 30 days.

The application will automatically withdraw if supporting documents are not received within 30 days. We may follow-up with you if more information is needed.

DCYF offers reimbursement for state-approved training costs for professionals currently employed in a licensed facility. You may apply for a training reimbursement only once per DCYF fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) for up to $250, while funding is available. The following roles are eligible for training reimbursements:

Child Care Center

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

Family Home Child Care

  • Family Home Owner
  • Family Home Lead Teacher
  • Family Home Assistant Teacher
  • Family Home Aide

School-Age Program

  • School-Age Program Director
  • School-Age Assistant Director
  • School-Age Site Coordinator
  • School-Age Lead Staff or Group Leader
  • School-Age Child Care Assistant
Training Reimbursement Application Instructions

Step 1: Verify information in your MERIT Professional Record.

  1. Login to MERIT at merit.dcyf.wa.gov.
  2. Click the subtab for “Professional Record.”
  3. Confirm state-approved training is listed in the Annual Continuing Education Training section of your professional record.  
  4. Confirm you have current employment in an eligible job role with a confirmed or verified status listed in the employment section of your MERIT professional record.

Step 2: Complete a Training Reimbursement Application.

  1. In MERIT, select “My Applications” tab.
  2. Select “Training Reimbursement.”
  3. Follow the steps to complete and submit the application.

Step 3: Verify an active Statewide Vendor (SWV) number is listed in your MERIT record.

A Conference/Special Event application is designed to give organizations, practitioners or individuals the option to provide In-Service training hours. This option must be pre-approved.

Conference/Special Event Application Instructions:

Step 1: Verify your training is eligible for In-Service training hours. 

  • Ensure the training aligns with the WA State Core Competencies for early care and education or school-age professionals.
  • Ensure the training has defined learning objectives, allows participants the opportunity to engage with other trainees and apply what is learned. 

Step 2: Gather your information and supporting documents.

  • 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.  

Step 3: Complete a Conference/Special Event application in MERIT.

  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. 

Step 4: Submit copies of supporting documents to training@dcyf.wa.gov

  • The application and supporting documentation must be received at least 21 days before the training event to allow us time to review.
  • Incomplete applications automatically withdraw 30 days after the submission date..

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