Child Care Licensing

Idaho State Law establishes the basic framework for daycare or child care licensing which is managed by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in partnership with local health districts and fire departments.

Protecting the Health and Safety of Children

Child care licensing requires child care programs meet basic health and safety standards aimed at protecting the well-being of children in care.

Families who select licensed child care programs, are assured that fire, safety and health inspections have been passed; adults employed as care givers have successfully completed a background check; children enrolled meet immunization requirements; and employees receive annual training.

State Daycare Licensing

A State Daycare License is required of all Daycare Centers with seven (7) or more children enrolled and who receive compensation for providing care.

The following are exempt from State Daycare Licensing:

  • Daycare facilities licensed by city or county, not requiring state licensing;
  • Occasional or irregular care of a relative’s, neighbor’s, or friend’s child(ren) by a person who is not normally in the business of daycare;
  • Providing care for children who are related to you within the second degree of relationship (father, mother, step-father, step-mother, grandparents and their spouses, uncles and aunts and their spouses, first cousins and their spouses, nephews and nieces and their spouses, brother and sisters and their spouses);
  • Occasional care provided exclusively for children of parents who are simultaneously in the same building;
  • Operation of a private school or religious school for educational purposes for children over four years of age, or a religious kindergarten;
  • Operation of day camps, programs, and religious schools for less than twelve (12) weeks during a calendar year or not more often than once a week.

Idaho State Daycare License Requirements

  • Fire, Safety, and Health Inspections
  • Criminal Background Checks for anyone caring for four (4) or more children
  • Child care programs MUST REQUIRE all children enrolled to be age-appropriately immunized with state-required vaccines
  • Each employee is required to complete four (4) hours of training every twelve (12) months

State, City, and Local Licensing Laws

The policy for the Idaho State laws “establishes the minimum statewide system for the protection of children in daycare facilities. This system is intended to establish minimum standards, while still leaving primary responsibility for evaluation and selection of daycare services with parents.”

Some cities or counties in Idaho have specific requirements for operating a daycare or child care program, that are separate from the state licensing requirements. Some of these cities or counties have included additional licensing requirements such as annual background checks or increased training requirements. Some local ordinances may require a license despite meeting the state’s exemption criteria.

Need more information?

Visit Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Licensing

Call the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588