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Washington state family child care licensing: Eligibility

This post is part of our series on the Washington State family child care licensing. For more on licensing in Washington, see the following posts:

Washington State Family Child Care Licensing: An Overview
Types of Licenses
The Licensing Process
Training Requirements
Home Requirements

If you’re planning to open an in-home preschool, you will have to meet certain eligibility requirements.  The following table summarizes the licensee and staff qualifications and requirements in Washington State:

Licensee Primary Staff Person Assistant Volunteer Household members
Minimum Age 18 18 14
High School Diploma or Equivalent Yes
Background Check Yes Yes Noncriminal background check only at 14-16 years Yes for 16 years or older. DEL issued non-criminal background check for ages 13-16
TB Test Yes Yes Yes yes for 16 years or older
DEL Orientation Yes
Basic STARS Training Yes Yes
Ongoing Training 10-hours per year. To include infant safe sleep if applicable Yes Yes
Fire Safety Training Yes Yes Yes
First Aid/CPR Yes Yes Yes
Food Handler Permit Yes See note below See note below

Note: when the licensee is not present, one staff person with a current state food handler permit must be present whenever food is prepared or served to children in care.



  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Education
    • For any initial family home child care license issued on or after March 31, 2012, the applicant must have a high school diploma.
    • If the applicant does not have a high school diploma, he or she must submit written evidence of equivalent education. As used in this section, “equivalent education” means:
      • Passing the general educational development (GED) tests;
      • Completion of twelve years of elementary and secondary education;
      • Possessing a current child development associate (CDA) credential as approved by the council for professional recognition;
      • Completion of forty-five credits of post-secondary education; or
      • Completion of the department approved early childhood education initial certificate.
    • In addition to equivalent education defined within this section, a family home child care licensee licensed prior to March 31, 2012, and continuously maintaining the license may meet the “equivalent education” requirement by achieving a level three rating in the early achievers program, Washington State’s quality rating improvement system, prior to March 31, 2017.

Primary Staff Person

  • Other than the licensee, only an individual meeting all the qualifications of a primary staff person is qualified to be left unsupervised with the children in the licensed family home child care.
  • A primary staff person must be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • A primary staff person must complete the basic STARS training prior to working unsupervised with the children.

Assistants and Volunteers

  • Age : the minimum age to be an assistant or volunteer is fourteen years of age.
  • Supervision : Assistants and volunteers are the individuals who help in the licensed child care but are supervised by the licensee or primary staff person at all times.
    • The licensee or primary staff person must be within the visual or auditory range of an assistant or volunteer sixteen years old or older and must be available and able to respond.
    • The licensee or primary staff person must be within the visual and auditory range of an assistant or volunteer fourteen years to sixteen years old and must be available and able to respond. When the licensee or primary staff person is the only supervisor, the assistant or volunteer may be in visual or auditory range for brief periods of time while the licensee or primary staff person attends to their personal needs on the premises.

Family child care training requirements

Basic STARS Training: a license applicant must complete the basic STARS training prior to an initial license being granted by the department. STARS training can be found by searching MERIT , Washington’s online tool for managing training and education.

Ongoing Training

  • The licensee and each primary staff person must complete ten hours of department-approved ongoing training each year. The training may include:
    • Licensee’s or primary staff person’s choice; and
    • Department directed training to include infant safe sleep training when the licensee is licensed to care for infants.
  • The licensee must complete the ongoing training requirement each year prior to continuing a non-expiring full license.
  • A primary staff person must complete the ongoing training requirement each year beginning from the date of initial employment.
  • A licensee who exceeds the ten-hour ongoing training requirement in any year may carry over up to five hours of ongoing training toward meeting the next year’s requirement. This does not include the required infant safe sleep training.


The applicant, and each staff person 14 years old and older, and each household member 16 years old and older must provide documentation signed by a licensed health care professional of tuberculosis (TB) testing or treatment consisting of:

  • A negative Mantoux test (also known as a tuberculin skin test (TST)) or negative interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) completed within twelve months before license application or employment; or
  • A previous or current positive TST or positive IGRA with documentation within the previous twelve months:
    • Of a chest X-ray with negative results; or
    • Showing that the individual is receiving or has received therapy for active or latent TB disease and is cleared to safely work in a child care setting. As used in this section, “latent TB” means when a person is infected with the TB germ but has not developed active TB disease.

First aid and CPR certification

The licensee and each staff person must have a current first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification as established by the expiration date of the document.

  • Proof of certification may be a card, certificate or instructor letter.
  • The first aid and CPR training and certification must:
    • Be certified by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, American Safety and Health Institute or other nationally recognized certification approved by the department;
    • Include infant, child, and adult CPR; and
    • Include a hands-on component.

HIV/AIDS training & bloodborne pathogens plan

The licensee, each staff, and each household member who is responsible for the care of children must complete the state Department of Health training on the prevention and transmission of HIV/AIDS.  The licensee must have a written bloodborne pathogens plan that includes:

  • A list of the staff, volunteers and household members providing child care who may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens; and
  • Procedures for cleaning up bodily fluid spills (blood, feces, nasal or eye discharge, saliva, urine or vomit), including the use of gloves, proper cleaning and disinfecting of contaminated items, disposal of waste materials, and handwashing.



Wonderschool is a network of quality in-home early childhood programs. Our mission is to ensure that every child has access to a home away from home that helps them realize their full potential. We work with experienced educators and child care providers to help them start their own child care or preschool out of their homes, whether they live in apartments, condos, or homes that they rent or own.