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Licensing and Registration Information

Child Care Services is committed to improving the quality, availability and affordability of child care and before and after school programs in South Dakota. This helps parents, providers and others promote the importance of providing safe, healthy, and caring environments for children through the regulation and support of programs that provide care and supervision of children.

Types of Regulated Programs

There are four types of regulated (registered and licensed) programs. Click on the links below to learn more about each type of program; the rules and regulations for becoming a regulated program, as well as the process for monitoring and inspections and background checks. Contact information is also included to obtain additional information:  

  1. Registered family day care (up to 12 children in care)
  2. Licensed group family day care (from 13-20 children in care)
  3. Licensed day care centers (21 or more children in care)
  4. Licensed before and after school care (care of school age children)
  5. Informal or in-home child care provider (care provided for only one family)

Informal or in-home providers are exempt from being registered or licensed, but they can receive child care assistance payments for the one family in care, if they meet the minimum standards set by the state and federal government. These standards, that help ensure children’s safety, include: training, a background check, meeting health and safety standards, and an annual inspection of the home to ensure compliance with health and safety standards.

Types of Unregulated Programs

There are programs operating in the state that are not required to be regulated.

  1. Unregulated family day care (up to 12 children in care). 
  2. Relative child care providers

Unregulated Family Day Care providers have the option of being registered with the department, but are not able to receive child care assistance payments or other federal funds unless they become registered.  As unregulated providers, there are no standards required to be met by these providers.

Relative providers care only for children they are related to. Federal and state regulations exempt these relative providers from licensing meaning they can receive child care assistance payments even though they are not required to meet training or other regulations. Families choosing relative care tend to know that type of provider better than a non-relative, and typically have more information about the provider in order to make informed choices.

Report a Concern  

  1. Concerns of non-compliance with licensing regulation: To report a concern about a regulated child care provider, you may contact a licensing specialist directly, call Child Care Services at 800.227.3020, or submit your concern using our online complaint system.

  2. Concerns of child abuse and neglect:  All suspicions or concerns related to the abuse or neglect of children in a child care program are to be reported to Child Protection Services at 877.244.0864 or your local law enforcement agency.

Child Care Data Includes data related to licensed for-profit and/or non-profit centers and before-and-after school programs as well as registered family child care homes.   

If you would like to contact a licensing specialist about finding a registered or licensed provider, or with questions about a provider or this website, visit our Licensing Districts page.