State of Idaho Daycare Licensing

Families who select licensed child care programs are assured:

  • fire, safety and health inspections have been passed
  • adults in child care facilities have successfully completed background checks
  • children enrolled meet vaccination requirements
  • employees receive annual training about health, safety, and quality in child care.

Licensing and Exemptions

Idaho state law has established health and safety standards in daycare licensing to protect the health and safety of children.

City and county governments can establish and enforce their own licensing requirements. Local ordinances or participation in certain programs may require you to be licensed even if you meet exemption criteria.

Need a license

You will need to get a license if you:

  • provide care for seven or more children, and
  • receive compensation for providing care for one or more of those children.


  • The occasional or irregular care of a neighbor’s, relative’s, or friend’s child or children by a person not ordinarily in the business of child care.
  • The operation of a private school or religious school for educational purposes for children older than four years of age, or a religious kindergarten.
  • The occasional care provided exclusively for children of parents who are simultaneously in the same building.
  • The operation of day camps, programs, and religious schools for less than 12 weeks during a calendar year or not more often than once a week.
  • Providing care for children who are related to you within the second degree of relationship (parents, stepparents, grandparents and their spouses, uncles and aunts and their spouses, first cousins and their spouses, nephews and nieces and their spouses, siblings, and their spouses).
  • Facilities licensed by a city or county, and not requiring state licensing. For more information about city and county licensing requirements, reach out to your local county or city.

Licensing requirements

Fingerprint background checks
You, your staff, and any household members over the age of 13 must have a cleared background check.

If you are required to get an Idaho State Day Care License, or if you are legally exempt from licensure, you will need to get an Idaho Criminal History Unit, Criminal History and Background Check. To do this, visit the Background Check Unit and follow all the directions provided.

If you are required to be licensed by a city, you must follow that city’s fingerprint requirements.

Pediatric CPR and pediatric first aid certifications
There must always be one person on the premises who is certified in pediatric CPR and pediatric first aid.

For assistance with the obtaining pediatric CPR and pediatric first aid, contact your local CCRC office by calling the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588. Ask to speak with a Resource Specialist.

Facility health and safety inspection
Your child care facility must pass a health and safety inspection. Here are some considerations you should take before your health inspection:

  • The facility must have at least two exits.
  • You cannot provide care in a basement or second story without an approved fire exit.
  • Water hazards like pools, hot tubs, ponds, canals, and other bodies of water on the premises must be inaccessible to children. A fence, minimum of four feet high with a self-locking gate, is required to prevent unsupervised child access. Your health department may require other fences.
  • If you are on well water, contact your local health district for information and assistance to ensure your water is from an approved source and free of contamination.
  • You may need approval from your Home Owners Association or landlord to operate a child care program in your home.
  • You will be required to have a disaster preparedness plan. See our Disaster Preparedness Planning (PDF).
  • View the Idaho District Health Department Child Care Guidelines (PDF) to review exactly what the health inspector will look for.

For assistance with health and safety requirements, contact your local CCRC office by calling the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588. Ask to speak with a Health Consultant.

We encourage you to consider participating in the Idaho Child Care Program (ICCP). This program is designed to assist low-income families with the costs of child care. Licensing and ICCP share many of the same requirements. You can apply for ICCP at the same time you apply for state licensing.

IdahoSTARS processes all state licensing applications for child care (daycare) and is here to answer your questions.

If you need more information, visit Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Licensing, or call 2-1-1. Ask to speak to IdahoSTARS Customer Support. Alternatively, email us at