Early Care & Learning >Child Care Licensing & Administration >Child Care Centers

Child Care Center Rules - Effective February 1, 2016

Child Care Centers

A Child Care Center is required to be licensed.  


Applying for a Child Care Center License 

The links below contain the information and forms you need to apply for a license to operate a Child Care Center. It is very important for you to complete all of the application requirements. Allow approximately ninety (90) days to become licensed after the Division of Early Care and Learning receives your completed application packet. Child care rules and finger print cards may be ordered from State Forms.


Your application packet will contain the following items:


A completed application package and licensing fee must be submitted to the Division of Child Care at least 90 days prior to the proposed opening date of the facility. After approval of the application package, a licensing specialist schedules an inspection of the facility, and determines whether or not a license should be issued.

Applicants, owners, and employees of licensed child care facilities must also submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for a Criminal Background Check, and their names must be checked against the Central Registry of Child Protection. Visit the Child Care Background Check page for  more information.  

Two Payments are Required


Portability of Background Checks

House Bill 11-1102 passed in the 2011 session of the Colorado Legislature, creates limited portability of criminal background checks in limited circumstances, which became effective on August 10, 2011.


Return the following items to the Division of Early Care and Learning

 Application Processing

Division of Early Care and Learning, Colorado Department of Human Services

1575 Sherman Street, 1st Floor

Denver, CO 80203-1714

Colorado Bureau of Investigation

690 Kipling Street, Ste 3000

Lakewood, CO 80215


After the Division of Early Care and Learning receives the items above and processes your application, a licensing specialist will contact you to set-up a time to inspect the center to verify that you have complied with all of the licensing rules and regulations.

License Applicants

Rules and Regulations Licensing Fees Child Care Background Checks Child Care Licensing FAQ Legal Exemption From A License

Licensed Facility Resources

Colorado Shines QRIS Training and Resources Injury Reporting Licensing Appeals Food Programs for Child Care Facilities Licensing Inspection Feedback Survey

Questions? Contact Us

Call 303-866-5958 or 1-800-799-5876 to speak with a licensing specialist.

It is the policy of the Colorado Department of Human Services ("the State Department") to promote and encourage child care in environments that contribute to the safety, health, protection and well-being of children. To verify compliance with standards intended to ensure such an environment, the State Department requires thorough and ongoing appraisals of child care facilities, persons working in the child care profession, and the nature of care provided.