Child Care

Licensing

The Division of Child Care Services is committed to improving the quality, availability and affordability of child care in South Dakota. The Division helps parents, child care providers and others promote the importance of providing safe, healthy, and caring environments for children. In turn, parents and child care providers are encouraged to recognize and advocate for quality child care.

  • Each child care program offers unique features and services for children and families.
  • South Dakota's minimum child care regulations establish a foundation for basic health and safety.  Minimum regulations address:
    • Number of staff needed
    • Nutritious meals and snacks
    • Amount of space needed
    • Types of program activities
    • Ages and qualifications for staff
    • Health practices
    • Fire and life safety features
  • The safety and quality of child care programs is further enhanced by training and technical assistance available through the Division of Child Care Services. Licensing specialists also offer consultation to providers to help them increase quality of care beyond the minimum standards.
  • Child care licensing is a means of reducing the risk of harm to children in child care settings by establishing and enforcing regulations that require maintenance of minimum standards. 
  • Without licensing, to achieve compliance with states' regulations, children would be at higher risk from fire, unsafe buildings, unsafe play equipment, injury, disease, and developmental impairment.
  • Types of regulated child care

How to Become a Registered In-Home Child Care Provider

How to Become a Licensed Group Family, Child Care Center or Before and After School Program

Licensing and Registration Resources