Becoming a Child Care Provider

Information for those interested in learning how to become a licensed child care provider in Idaho.

Licensing and exemptions

Idaho law sets the basic framework for licensing, but 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

  • Provide care for seven or more children
  • Receive compensation for providing care for one or more of those children

Exempt from a license

  • 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 4 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, step-parents, 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


    License application, fees, and requirements

    State licenses are issued by the Department of Health and Welfare. Customer support specialists with IdahoSTARS collect the documentation and assist the applicant through the state licensing process. 

    If you are interested in becoming a state-licensed provider, review all of the information required for both the application process and ongoing as a licensed provider. Contact your city or county planning and zoning office to see if there are requirements that may prohibit your ability to comply with local ordinances and complete the licensing process.

    Upon receipt of your application by IdahoSTARS, a referral will be made to your local public health district for the collection of the licensing fee. Your health district will then contact you with information on how to make your fee payment. The fee amount is determined by the criteria outlined below.

    Type of care facility fee
    Large center with 26 or more children in attendance at any time $325
    Small center with 13-25 children in attendance at any time $250
    Group facility with 7-12 children in attendance at any time $100
    Family home with 6 or less children in attendance at any time $100


    Childcare worker using colored pencils with toddler
    2-1-1 Idaho CareLine
    If you have questions or need more information, call the Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 (Idaho) or 800-926-2588 (outside of Idaho).
    Licensing requirements

    IdahoSTARS processes all state licensing applications for child care and can answer your questions.


    For state licensing, each owner or operator of a center licensed by the department must receive and ensure that each staff member receives and completes four hours of ongoing training every 12 months after the staff member’s date of hire.

    “Training” means continuing education in child development areas relating to child care. Child care providers participating in the Idaho Child Care Program (ICCP) are required to complete a series of free online courses designed to cover a variety of health and safety topics for providers in Idaho. 

    For state licensing, the training will count if the staff member takes the training after their hire date. It will be credited for the licensing period in which the training was taken and will only count one time. Providers licensed by their city should check with the city to determine if trainings will meet local ordinances.

    Criminal history compliance

    The IDAPA standards require each owner, operator, and applicant seeking licensure for a daycare center, group daycare facility, or a family daycare home must submit evidence that is satisfactory to the department that owners, operators, staff, and all other individuals 13 years of age or older who have unsupervised direct contact with children or are regularly on the premises have successfully completed and received a clearance for a department criminal history and background check under the provisions of sections 39-1105 and 39-1113, Idaho Code.

    A background check clearance completed within the last three years can be transferred to a new employer. When using a transferred department criminal history check clearance for licensing, the transferred clearance must be an enhanced clearance and the new employer must also ensure that a new Idaho State Police name-based record check is completed with no disqualifying crimes found.

    For more information, read our Criminal History Compliance Facts and Guidelines document. 

    Insurance and fire inspection

    Proof of liability and fire insurance and a copy of your approved Fire Safety Inspection must be submitted with the license application. 

    Local compliance

    Your city or county may have local ordinances which cover building codes, electrical codes, and planning and zoning codes. Proof of compliance with local ordinances must be submitted with the license application. Check with your city and county to determine what compliance requirements are in place for licensed child care providers. 

    Verification of pediatric CPR and pediatric first aid

    Certifications in pediatric rescue breathing, infant-child CPR, and first aid treatment must be submitted with your license application. Certification needs to be completed through a course offered by a certified instructor. Online courses are not accepted.

    Health inspection

    After the public health district receives the referral from the customer support specialist that you are ready for your health inspection, you will be contacted by your public health district to complete the required inspection.


    Records requirements

    It's important to keep good records about staff, the children who have attended, and the children currently attending a facility for at least 12 months. Read the complete list of record requirements to find out what kind of information you must keep on file to be in compliance for your license.

    Idaho Child Care Program (ICCP)

    Child care providers can participate in the Idaho Child Care Assistance Program (ICCP), which helps low-income families pay for child care. ICCP’s tuition assistance for child care is available to eligible families. The purpose of the program is to support families working toward or maintaining employment.

    Reasons to become an ICCP provider

    • You receive child care payments on a more regular basis
    • You help provide care for children who may be in the greatest need of quality child care
    • You can market your business through child care referrals
    • You can provide tools to help parents who are struggling to be more competent in their financial management skills

    For more information about ICCP

    Visit the ICCP page at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or call the Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 (Idaho) or 800-926-2588 (outside Idaho), and ask to speak to your local child care resource specialist.

    Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan

    Review the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for Idaho for more information about the program and applicable statutes and regulations.

    Idaho licensing law and rule

    The requirements for state licensing are dictated by Idaho Statutes and the Idaho Administrative Procedures Act (IDAPA). To view applicable sections from each, see below:

    Note: Sections 000-299 are applicable to various licensing programs. Sections 300-399 are specific to licensing. 

    IdahoSTARS licensing program
    Connect with a customer support specialist 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. MT (7 a.m. - 5 p.m. PT) Monday through Friday.

    1199 West Shoreline Lane
    Boise, ID 83702
    United States

    Other information

    The following situations may cause provider overpayments

    • Failing to report a change in costs of care
    • Not providing care for the child
    • Misrepresenting charges