(C.R.S. 26-6-103)



A child care license is not required for (per General Rules 7.701.11, Licensing Exemptions [revision effective 4/1/11]):


  • A special school or class in which more than 75 percent of the time that children are present is spent in religious instruction.  Religious instruction is defined to include such developmentally appropriate children’s activities as worship, singing religious songs, listening to religious stories, learning and practicing religious cultural activities, and participating in religious celebrations.  Colorado law and state regulations do not exclude child care programs from licensing just because traditional religious values or philosophy are an integral part of the child care program.  Religious institutions that operate child care programs are required to be licensed.


  • A special school or class operated for a single skill-building purpose.


  • A child care center operated in connection with a church, shopping center, or business where children are cared for during short periods of time, not to exceed three (3) hours in any 24-hour period of time, while parents or persons in charge of such children, or employees of the church, shopping center, or business whose children are being cared for at such location are attending church services at such location, shopping, patronizing or working on the premises of the business.  This facility must be operated on the premises of the church, business, or shopping center.  Only children of parents or guardians who are attending a church activity or patronizing the business or shopping center or working at the church, shopping center or business can be cared for in the center.


  • Occasional care of children with or without compensation, which means the offering of child care infrequently and irregularly that has no apparent pattern.


  • A family care home in which less than 24-hour care is given for only one (1) child or two (2) or more children who are siblings from the same family household at any one (1) time.


  • A child care facility that is approved, certified, or licensed by any other state department or agency, or by a federal government department or agency, which has standards for operation of the facility and inspects or monitors the facility.


  • The medical care of children in nursing homes.


  • Guest child care facilities – Public Services short-term child care facilities as defined at Sections 26-6-102(5) and 26-6-103.5, C.R.S.



Requirements for Legal Exemption


How do you request an exemption from the requirement to be licensed as a child care facility?


Any organization or individual that is requesting to be declared exempt from the Child Care Licensing Act, based on the subject matter of their program, must submit a written request.


The written exemption request must include:


  • The name, location and mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number of the facility; and,

  • The number of children in care and their ages; and,

  • The hours and days of operation; and,

  • A basic description of the program; and,

  • The philosophy or mission statement of the program; and,

  • The daily activity schedule of the program, specifying each activity for each age group of children, broken down into 15 minute increments; and,

  • Specific curriculum examples detailing each listed activity for each age group of children; and,

  • The qualifications of staff, including documentation of education and relevant work experience; and,

  • A copy of the promotional material used to advertise the program, and the website address; and,

  • Verification that your facility is in compliance with the local zoning department approving operation of the facility; the approval must include the facility address, and the ages and number of children to be served

  • Verification that your facility is in compliance with local business, fire, and health department requirements.


Decisions of the State Department regarding exemptions are the final agency decision of the Department and cannot be reviewed by an Administrative Law Judge.  All final agency decisions are effective and binding three (3) days after the date of the written notice of the approval or denial of the requested exemption even if the third (3rd) day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.  The organization or individual requesting the exemption has the right to apply for judicial review of the agency decision by the filing of an action in District Court pursuant to the provisions of Colorado Revised Statutes 24-4-106(4).  Any such action must be filed in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure for courts of record in Colorado within 30 days after this decision has become effective.


Please submit your written application packet to:


Karen Sparacino, Licensing Supervisor

Division of Early Care and Learning

Colorado Department of Human Services

1575 Sherman St., 1st Floor

Denver, CO  80203-1714


For additional questions or concerns, please contact Ingrid De Ruiter, Evaluations Coordinator, at or 303-866-5948.


Early Care & Learning >Child Care Licensing & Administration > Legal Exemption from a CC License