Please use the toggles below to find answer to our most frequently asked questions.


Do I need a license?

  1. Any person, association, agency, or organization that has custody or control of one or more children under age 18, unattended by parent or guardian, for the purpose of providing the child or children with care, education, protection, supervision or guidance; is compensated for services; and advertises or holds himself, herself or itself out as conducting such child care; requires a license.
  2. Homes in which children have been placed by any child placing agency properly licensed to place children in this State do not need a license.

How do I become licensed?

There are many steps to becoming a licensed child care facility. Information sessions and orientations were created to help walk you through the process. Depending on the type of care you are interested in providing, choose from the following options:

How much does a child care license cost?

There is no fee for a license. However, licensing regulations require inspections that have a fee. For example, a fire marshal inspection, lead-risk assessments, radon testing, etc.

If I become licensed, how often will I be monitored?

All facilities are reviewed annually and when a complaint is reported, and when on an enforcement action.

Can I see what is in a licensing file?

The Office of Child Care Licensing maintains a file on each licensed facility. Each file includes copies of applications for licensure, licenses, compliance reviews and corrective action reports, fire marshal approvals, lead-risk assessments, radon testing results, and as applicable, any complaints filed against the facility, enforcement actions, appeal hearing records, and agreements of understanding. These files are available for public review. If you wish to review a file, you should contact one of the Licensing offices to schedule a time. If you wish to have copies of documents from the record, the first 20 pages of standard-sized, black and white copies will be provided free of charge and a fee of 10 cents for each additional page will be charged.

Can you care for your own relatives without being licensed?

Yes, you can care for children that you have the following relationships with by blood, marriage, or adoption: parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, step-parent, step-brother and step-sister. Cousins are not considered relatives.

If I’m not getting paid, do I need a license?

You do not need a license if you are not paid.

I’m just “helping out” a friend by watching her child/children. Why do I need a license?

You need a license if you are providing care in your home and being paid for that service. The law requires a license.

What is a background check?

A fingerprinted Delaware and Federal (national) report of a person’s entire criminal history, a Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ child protection registry check, and other checks as required by State and federal law.

Who is required to have a background check?

Persons 18 and over who have regular direct access to children receiving care or providing services directly to a child or children in the following categories:

  • Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ contractors, employees, and volunteers;
  • Department of Education employees and contractors;
  • Applicants for adoption, foster care, respite care, and their household members;
  • Licensed residential and child placing agency applicants, employees, substitutes, volunteers, and contractors; and
  • License-exempt relative care homes, employees, substitutes, volunteers, contractors, and household members.

Note: License-exempt youth camp applicants, employees, substitutes, volunteers and contractors may voluntarily submit to a fingerprinted background check.

What is the process for a background check?

  1. Fingerprinting locations are available in all three counties. Schedule a fingerprint appointment with the Delaware State Police by calling 302-739-2528 in New Castle County and Sussex County. In Kent County, call 302-739-5871 or walk-in to be fingerprinted without an appointment.
  2. Complete a Background Check Request form.
  3. After fingerprints are obtained, the person receives a Delaware State Bureau of Identification receipt of fingerprinting as proof of being fingerprinted.
  4. Delaware State Police forwards criminal results to the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ Criminal History Unit (CHU).
  5. CHU conducts a child protection registry check and any other checks as required by State and federal law.
  6. CHU determines eligibility based on the results of the background check and notifies the agency/employer when a person is ineligible or prohibited.

Note: When a person is determined ineligible or prohibited, CHU also notifies the person through U.S. postal mail of the background check results and provides instructions on how he/she can request an administrative review to challenge the accuracy or completeness of the results.

What are the employer’s responsibilities regarding background checks?

  1. Direct persons to the Delaware State Police to have fingerprints taken.
  2. Ensure that all persons have been fingerprinted and have provided a Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI) receipt of fingerprinting.
  3. Maintain a copy of the SBI receipt of fingerprinting for each person.
  4. Notify the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ Criminal History Unit (CHU) when an applicant has been terminated from employment or denied approval prior to completion of the background check.
  5. Immediately terminate an individual or deny an individual for adoption, foster care, or respite care when notified by CHU of a prohibited conviction or substantiation.
  6. Require all persons to notify agency or employer of any subsequent criminal charges and subsequent allegations of child abuse or neglect against them as a condition of continued employment or approval.

What are the grounds for denying employment or approval regarding a background check?

  1. Prohibited criminal convictions and prohibited child abuse and neglect substantiations as designated under 31 Delaware Code, Section 309 and 16 Delaware Code, Section 923Note: Applicants for adoption, foster care, respite care, and their household members must also comply with the prohibited convictions under the federal Adoption & Safe Families Act of 1997.  Ineligible criminal convictions other than those that are prohibited shall be reviewed in consideration of other criteria below.

License-exempt relative care home applicants will also be disqualified based on the convictions listed below as designated by Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014:

    • Refuses a background check
    • Knowingly makes a materially false statement in connection with the background check
    • Is registered, or is required to be registered, on a state sex offender registry or repository or the National Sex Offender Registry
    • Has been convicted of a felony consisting of murder, child abuse or neglect, crimes against children (including child pornography), spousal abuse, crime involving rape or sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, physical assault, or a drug-related offense committed during the preceding 5 years
    • Has been convicted of a violent misdemeanor committed as an adult against a child
  1. The review will be conducted by the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ Criminal History Unit. A recommendation will be made utilizing the following criteria:
    1. Types of criminal convictions (including but not limited to):
      1. Offenses against an individual where physical harm or death has taken place.
      2. Drug Offenses.
      3. Offenses involving weapons, explosive devices, or threat of harm.
      4. Offenses involving public indecency and obscenity.
      5. Offenses that show a disregard of others.
      6. Cruelty to animals or deviant behavior.
    2. Number of convictions
    3. Length of time since conviction(s)
    4. Criminal record since the conviction(s)
    5. Relationship of the conviction(s) to the type of job assignment or responsibilities of the person
    6. Current probation or parole status as a result of the conviction(s)
    7. DELACARE Regulations – Background Checks for Child-Serving Entities
    8. Policies of DSCYF

How do I appeal an ineligible or prohibited background check determination?

The background check is only one factor being considered in the hiring or approval process. If the employer makes an adverse judgment before the check is completed or based on any criterion other than the background check, this administrative review does not apply. Any person who is determined ineligible or prohibited as a result of an adverse judgment made by the Criminal History Unit on the basis of the criminal background check results, shall be entitled to an administrative review for reconsideration. If the person believes the criminal background check information resulting in a determination of ineligible or prohibited is inaccurate or incomplete, the person may request an administrative review. The request must be submitted in writing to the Criminal History Unit within 10 business days of receiving notification of the determination of ineligible or prohibited.

When a person has requested an administrative review, the following shall apply:

  • The person shall be removed from direct access to children or provisions made for on-site supervision of the person during working hours pending the results of the review.
  • In the case of foster parents, children may be removed from the home or no further placements shall be made pending the results of the review.
  • In the case of adoptive parents, the application shall remain active, but children may be removed from the home pending results of the review.
  • The employer shall notify the criminal history specialist of the action taken with the person pending the review results. This notification is in addition to following established procedures and regulations already governing State personnel or individual facilities or agencies.

In the case of an administrative review of a decision involving a Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) operated facility or DSCYF employee, the applicable division director or designee shall conduct the review in conjunction with personnel and within the context of these regulations, merit rules and labor agreements, and the employment status of the person.

When the administrative review involves a Division of Family Services approved foster parent, the director of the Division of Family Services or designee shall conduct the review.

In the case of an administrative review of a decision involving a contracted facility or child placing agency, the division director or designee of the contracting division shall conduct the review.

In the case of an administrative review of a decision involving a license-exempt relative care home applicant, the Department of Health and Social Services senior administrator or designee shall conduct the review and issue a written decision within 10 business days.

The employer and the person shall be bound by the final decision of the administrative review which is made by the person that conducted the review. If the employer does not accept and follow the decision, sanctions shall apply.

What is a comprehensive background check?

A fingerprinted Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report of a person’s entire criminal history, a search of the Delaware Child Protection Registry, Delaware Sex Offender Registry, all necessary out-of-state sex offender registries, and the National Sex Offender Registry.

Note: People that currently reside or have resided outside of Delaware within the last 5 years require additional state criminal history and child abuse and neglect searches as described under, “What is the process for a comprehensive background check?”.

Who is required to have a comprehensive background check?

People 18 and over who have regular direct access or unsupervised access to children receiving care in a:

  • Family Child Care Home
  • Large Family Child Care Home
  • Early Care and Education and School-Age Center
  • Licensed Youth Camps

What is the process for a comprehensive background checks?

  1. Fingerprinting locations are available in all three counties. Schedule a fingerprint appointment with the Delaware State Police by calling 302-739-2528 in New Castle County and Sussex County. In Kent County, call 302-739-5871 or walk-in to be fingerprinted without an appointment.
  2. After fingerprints are obtained, the person receives Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI) receipt of fingerprinting as proof of being fingerprinted. Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers and Licensed Youth Camps shall maintain the form in the person’s personnel file. Family Child Care providers shall immediately send a copy of the form to their licensing specialist.
  3. Delaware State Police forward the SBI and FBI criminal history results, Delaware Sex Offender and the National Sex Offender Registry checks to Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ (DSCYF) Criminal History Unit (CHU).
  4. CHU conducts a search of the Delaware Child Protection Registry and all necessary out-of-state sex offender registries to determine if the person is named as a perpetrator in any Delaware substantiated case(s) of child abuse or neglect or appears on any out-of-state sex offender registries.
  5. Simultaneously, child care persons currently residing or who have resided outside of Delaware within the last 5 years, shall contact each state of residence and request an out-of-state child abuse and neglect search and an out-of-state criminal history search, if applicable. Child care persons shall provide the search results to the licensed child care provider.
  6. The licensed child care provider submits the results of the out-of-state checks to the DSCYF, Criminal History Unit
    • via fax to 302-633-5191,
    • via email to DSCYF, or
    • via postal mail to Criminal History Unit, The Concord – Hagley Building, 3411 Silverside Road, Wilmington, DE 19810.
      Note: A comprehensive background check cannot be completed without the results of all required criminal and child abuse and neglect searches.
  7. CHU makes an initial eligibility determination within 45 days based on the results and notifies the licensed provider by email. Note: When a person is determined ineligible or prohibited, CHU also notifies the person through U.S. postal mail of the background check results and provides instructions on how he/she can request an administrative review to challenge the accuracy or completeness of the results.

What are the responsibilities of a licensed child care provider regarding comprehensive background checks?

  1. Ensure that all adults who have regular direct access or unsupervised access to children receiving care have been fingerprinted, and have provided a Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI) receipt of fingerprinting.
  2. Maintain a copy of the SBI receipt of fingerprinting for each person.
  3. Ensure persons currently residing outside of Delaware or persons who have resided outside of Delaware within the last 5 years request the necessary out-of-state criminal and child abuse and neglect searches. Based on the current guidance from the Federal government, for States participating in the Interstate Identification Index (III) National Fingerprint File (NFF) — FBI, an FBI fingerprint check satisfies the requirement to check both the FBI fingerprint database and the requirement to search the State’s own criminal history record repository. The Department of Services for Children, Youth and Families’ Criminal History Unit will inform you what checks are required to complete the comprehensive background check process. Child abuse and neglect checks are always required for people who currently reside out of state and for those who have resided out-of-state in the past five years.
  4. Provide the results of the searches to the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ (DSCYF) Criminal History Unit (CHU).
  5. Immediately notify CHU when a person has been terminated from employment prior to completion of the comprehensive background check.
  6. Immediately remove a person from direct access with children when notified by the CHU or the Office of Child Care Licensing of a prohibited determination for centers or a prohibited or ineligible determination for family and large family child care.
  7. Require all people to immediately notify employer/licensee of any prohibited criminal convictions or entry on the Child Protection Registry at a level III or level IV.
  8. Immediately notify the Office of Child Care Licensing of all known prohibited criminal convictions and entries on the child protection registry at a level III and level IV.

What are the grounds for denying employment or licensure regarding comprehensive background checks?

  1. Prohibited criminal convictions and prohibited child abuse and neglect substantiations with time parameters as designated under 31 Delaware Code, Section 309, 16 Delaware Code, Section 923, and the convictions listed below as designated by Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014:
    • Refuses a background check
    • Knowingly makes a materially false statement in connection with the background check
    • Is registered, or is required to be registered, on a state sex offender registry or repository or the National Sex Offender Registry
    • Has been convicted of a felony consisting of murder, child abuse or neglect, crimes against children (including child pornography), spousal abuse, crime involving rape or sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, physical assault, or a drug-related offense committed during the preceding 5 years
    • Has been convicted of a violent misdemeanor committed as an adult against a child
  2. Ineligible criminal convictions other than those that are prohibited shall be reviewed in consideration of other criteria below. The review will be conducted by the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families’ (DSCYF) Criminal History Unit. A recommendation will be made using the following criteria:
    • Types of criminal convictions (including but not limited to):
      1. Offenses against an individual where physical harm or death has taken place.
      2. Drug Offenses.
      3. Offenses involving weapons, explosive devices, or threat of harm.
      4. Offenses involving public indecency and obscenity.
      5. Offenses that show a disregard of others.
      6. Cruelty to animals or deviant behavior.
    • Number of convictions
    • Length of time since conviction(s)
    • Criminal record since the conviction(s)
    • Relationship of the conviction(s) to the type of job assignment or responsibilities of the person
    • Current probation or parole status as a result of the conviction(s)
    • Policies of DSCYF
    • DELACARE Regulations – Background Checks for Child-Serving Entities

How do I appeal an ineligible or prohibited comprehensive background check determination?

The background check is only one factor being considered in the hiring or approval process. If the employer makes an adverse judgment before the check is completed or based on any criterion other than the background check, the administrative review does not apply.

Any person who is determined ineligible or prohibited as a result of an adverse judgment made by the Criminal History Unit (CHU) on the basis of the criminal background check results, shall be entitled to an administrative review for reconsideration. If the person believes the criminal background check information resulting in a determination of ineligible or prohibited is inaccurate or incomplete, the person may request an administrative review. The request must be submitted in writing to CHU within 10 business days of receiving notification of the determination of ineligible or prohibited.

When a person has requested an administrative review, the following shall apply:

  • The person shall be removed from direct access to children or provisions made for on-site supervision of the person during working hours pending the results of the review.
  • The employer shall notify the criminal history specialist of the action taken with the person pending the review results. This notification is in addition to following established procedures and regulations already governing State personnel or individual facilities or agencies.

In the case of an administrative review of a decision involving a licensed center, family child care, or youth camp, the Office of Child Care Licensing director or designee shall conduct the review and issue a written decision within 10 business days.

The employer and the person shall be bound by the final decision of the administrative review which is made by the person that conducted the review. If the employer does not accept and follow the decision, sanctions shall apply.


Can I take first aid and CPR online?

First Aid may be taken online if given by an OCCL approved agency. CPR may be taken online if given by an OCCL approved agency and includes a hands-on demonstration of these skills as a part of the certification.

Does OCCL have a copy of my medication certificate?

The Office of Child Care Licensing does not keep records of individuals who have completed the Administration of Medication training.

In an emergency situation, may I give Diastat to children?

Yes, you may administer Diastat, an emergency medication inserted rectally for seizure control, as long as the following requirements are met:

  • You have a valid Administration of Medication certificate;
  • You have written parent/guardian permission on a Medication Administration Record;
  • The medication is properly labeled;
  • A parent/guardian has provided written instructions and training to you stating the conditions under which the medication should be given, how to give the medication, and any follow-up requirements;
  • You follow all other requirements found in the Administration of Medication Self-Study Training Guide and the DELACARE Regulations; and
  • You must notify a parent/guardian immediately, if the medication was given.

In an emergency situation, may I give Glucagon to children?

Yes, you may administer Glucagon, an emergency medication used to treat severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) by increasing blood glucose levels, as long as the following requirements are met:

  • You have a valid Administration of Medication certificate;
  • You have written parent/guardian permission on a Medication Administration Record;
  • The medication is properly labeled;
  • A parent/guardian has provided written instructions and training to you stating the conditions under which the medication should be given, how to give the medication, and any follow-up requirements;
  • You follow all other requirements found in the Administration of Medication Self-Study Training Guide and the DELACARE Regulations; and
  • You must notify a parent/guardian immediately, if the medication was given.

Do I have to be certified in administration of medication to use an epi-pen on someone?

Yes, you must be certified in administration of medication.


Is it okay that my child’s center has mixed age groups in the mornings and late afternoons?

Yes, as long as the staff-to-child ratios and group size requirements are maintained for the youngest child present. Groups may be mixed for the first and last 90 minutes that the center is open each day.

I don’t like my child care provider’s policies. Can OCCL help?

Child care providers can have whatever policies they want as long as they are not in violation of DELACARE Regulations. OCCL can help you find a new child care by using our child care search.


What is the difference between “babysitting” and “child care”?

Babysitting occurs in the child’s home whereas child care occurs in your home. You must be licensed to provide child care for non-relatives in your home.

Why are there so many regulations?

There are so many regulations because providing care for children is a very important service and many things can go wrong. To limit the risk to children, rules were made to ensure their health, safety, and well-being.

What is the Delaware Child Protection Registry?

A central registry of information about persons the Division of Family Services has found cause to believe, or a court has substantiated through court adjudication, as having committed child abuse or neglect since August 1, 1994. The reportable substantiated incidents shall be designated at one of three levels: II, III, IV.

What is a sex offender registry?

A central registry of information about people the courts adjudicated as a sexual offender. States have their own laws that determine how sex offender information is collected, maintained, and displayed. Not all sex offenders appear on a state’s sex offender registry public website.