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Families > Licensing & Complaints
Information About Licensing and Complaints
Are all providers licensed? No.
Child care centers and family child care homes are required by Washington State law to be licensed. Anyone who provides care on a regular basis for a non-related child must be licensed by the Department of Early Learning (DEL). Licensing indicates the program meets the minimum requirements set by the state of Washington.
Head Start/ECEAP programs, school-age programs, and child care programs for ill children are required to be licensed only if they are part of a child care center or family child care home.
Licensed child care programs must be inspected every 3 years by a DEL licensor. Additionally, child care centers are inspected by the health department and the fire marshal.
The chart below indicates licensing requirements for different types of care. “L” care is required to be licensed, “P” care requires licensing ONLY if it is part of a child care center or family child care home. “N” care is not required to be licensed.
How Do I Find Information About a Licensed Child Care Program?
Expect differences in quality. The State guarantees a minimum standard of care, but the quality varies widely even in licensed child care. It is important for you to be comfortable with your child's care provider. You are the best judge of your child's needs. For more information abut licensing, visit the Washington State Department of Early Learning website...
If you are enrolling your child in licensed care and want to know if any complaints have been filed against a licensed provider in King County, call the Licensed Child Care Information Line 1-866-482-4325. You can also find out a child care provider's licensing status and complaint history online
If you suspect child abuse or
neglect in a licensed child care facility, call toll-free 1.866.ENDHARM
To report licensing violations or child abuse at a child care center or family child care home, call 1 (800) 609-8764. If you have any questions about filing a complaint, please contact us.
Phone: (206) 329-5544
This policy document defines how we respond to complaints
received about a provider.
What are my rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal civil rights law that states that people with disabilities are entitled to equal rights in employment, state and local public services, and public accommodations such as preschools, child care centers, and family child care homes. The ADA requires that child care providers not discriminate against persons with disabilities on the basis of the disability. Child care providers have to make reasonable modifications to their policies and practices to integrate children unless doing so would constitute a fundamental alteration of their program. For more information or to file a complaint, please contact the Department of Justice.
Licensed child care providers are subject to the terms of the Complaint and Provider Referral Policy when they consent to be included in Child Care Resources' referral database. Complaint and Referral Policy (PDF)