Child Care Licensing

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.

How does child care licensing protect the health and safety of my child?

Child care licensing ensures 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.

Who is required to acquire an Idaho State daycare license?

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.
What are the requirements of an Idaho State daycare license?
  • 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.
Are there differences between state and city licensing laws?

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.

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