Washington among top in nation for child care center licensing

Washington once again ranks among the top in the nation for our licensing rules and oversight for child care centers, according to a National Association for Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) report released this week.

Washington ranks sixth in the nation overall for our center regulations and oversight. We ranked ninth in the last NACCRRA report, issued in 2009.

NACCRRA highlighted some of the strengths in our center licensing work, including: unannounced monitoring visits and complaint inspections; regulations that address all developmental domains as well as all basic health and safety standards; and an emphasis on parent involvement and information.

The Department of Early Learning licenses about 2,000 centers around the state, which includes school-age programs. View our state’s center rules and school-age rules here: www.del.wa.gov/laws/rules/licensing.aspx

NACCRRA recommends that Washington:

  • Increase frequency of inspections of child care centers (we currently inspect once every 12 months for centers).
  • Require center directors to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood education or a related field.
  • Increase the education requirements for lead teachers to a child development associate (CDA) credential or an associate degree in early childhood education or related field (currently high school diploma or GED).
  • Increase annual training requirements to 24 hours, including CPR and first-aid (currently 10 hours).
  • Require fingerprints for checking individuals’ criminal history (currently our state only requires fingerprints for those who have lived in the state less than three years).

See Washington’s report card here: www.naccrra.org/publications/naccrra-publications/publications/states/Washington.pdf

NACCRRA also ranks regulations and oversight for family home child care in a separate report—the 2010 report is available here: www.naccrra.org/publications/naccrra-publications/leaving-children-to-chance-2010.php