The Washington State Department of Early Learning oversees the licensure and continuing education of in-home daycare providers. The department also conducts background checks on child care workers.

Eligibility Requirements

In-home daycare providers in Washington must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma. Moreover, if you’re regularly providing care for even one child who isn’t related to you, the state of Washington requires that you obtain a license.

Attend Online Orientation

You must attend an online orientation within 12 months of applying for your child care license. As a part of that, you'll watch a one-hour online presentation. Following the presentation, print and complete a questionnaire and application.

Complete Application and Gather Documents

Complete the license application packet. It should include:

  • Application form
  • Copy of orientation certificate
  • High school diploma
  • Resume
  • Reference from three people not related to you
  • Copy of your Social Security card
  • Copy of your employer identification number if you plan to hire employees
  • Tuberculosis test results
  • Copy of CPR certification and HIV/AIDS training certificate
  • Copy of Washington state food handler permit
  • Background clearance forms for you and anyone 16 years or older who will be in contact with children
  • Noncriminal background clearance forms for household members 13 to 16 years old
  • Operation handbooks
  • Floor plan
  • Septic system inspection, well water report and lead/arsenic evaluation if needed

Attend an In-Person Interview

Contact your local licensing office to schedule an in-person interview. Bring your completed quiz, application, high school diploma and licensing fee. The Department of Early Learning will take action on your application within 90 days.

Pay License Fees

Pay license fees when you submit your application packet. The annual license fee of $30, as of this publication, is payable by check or money order. The license is valid for one year.

Meet With a Licensing Agent for Home Inspection

A licensing agent with DEL will contact you to schedule an inspection of your home. The inspector will confirm you have met all health and safety requirements as stated during your orientation. Refer to the Department of Early Learning Child Care Licensing Policies and Procedures for clarification.

Get Background Check Clearance

The DEL will conduct a background check on you, your employees and every person living in your home who is 16 years or older. Noncriminal background checks are required for household members 13 to 16 years old.

During the background check process, you will be asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime or if you have pending criminal charges. People who have not been cleared through DEL must not have unsupervised contact with children.