Idaho State Law creates the basic framework for child care licensing, or daycare licensing. Child care providers are licensed by the state to improve the quality of child care services in Idaho.

The goal of child care/daycare licensing is to ensure and safeguard the health, safety, and developmental well-being of children in the care of a provider. Licensing is a form of consumer protection. Licensed child care offers parents the knowledge that providers are regulated through standards and monitoring. Child care providers are licensed by the state or cities to improve the quality of child care services in Idaho.

Licensing child care is needed to:

  • To protect the well-being, safety, and health of children
  • To regulate standards and encourages improvement of programs
  • To help parents know what basic health and safety requirements a facility meets
  • To assist parents in narrowing down their choices when looking for child care

Child care licensing is designed to ensure that a child care program meets the basic standards designed to safeguard your child's well-being. Over half of the children in Idaho are in some kind of child care facility while their parents work. It is fundamental that during this time, children are in a safe setting that promotes their healthy development. Without standards for child care, we place the health and safety of Idaho's children at risk.

Child care licensing also empowers families to make better decisions when looking for child care. All parents want what is best for their children. The development that occurs during the first five years of a child's life establishes the foundation for learning and achievement throughout their lifetime. Child care licensing is a manner to protect and support our children during this significant period of life.

A state daycare license is required of all daycare centers with seven (7) or more children.

The following are exempt from State daycare licensing:

  • 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 daycare;
  • The operation of a private school or religious school for educational purposes for children over 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 twelve 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 (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, brothers and sisters and their spouses);
  • Daycare facilities licensed by a city or county, not requiring state licensing.

View the Idaho State Daycare Licensing Law

  • Licensing includes fire, safety, and health inspections
  • Criminal background checks are required of anyone caring for four (4) or more children
  • Child care facilities must require all children enrolled to be age-appropriately immunized with state-required vaccines
  • Each employee is required to receive four (4) hours of training every twelve (12) months.

In some cases, yes. Idaho State Law creates the basic framework for child care licensing, or daycare licensing. 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 in Idaho have passed local ordinances to license and regulate child care, or daycare programs, to further ensure children's safety and healthy development.

In Idaho, there are 200 incorporated cities. The requirements for child care providers vary in each city. While some cities require a planning and zoning permit only, other cities require a city-issued license, proof of a state-issued child care license , and background checks for staff.


For more information call the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588.

Visit Dept of Health & Welfare Licensing