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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.

Child Care Licensing Administrative Rules Under Review

Proposed Rules for Review

The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) has evaluated the state’s child care licensing standards (administrative rules of South Dakota, ARSD). The State has gathered feedback from child care providers to help guide us in the proposed rewrite of South Dakota’s child care licensing standards. Additional engagement sessions were held for child care providers, parents and child care stakeholder the week of January 16, 2023 to further inform the draft rule revisions proposed.   The intent of the proposed rules is to remove barriers to licensure for child care providers, ensure federal health and safety standards are being met, reduce the administrative burdens to providers, streamline language, and provide better clarity overall.

Next Steps
DSS will host an administrative hearing for final comments on the rule revisions proposed on May 12, 2023 at 11:00 am CST. For more information please visit,

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:

In-Home and Informal Providers

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.

State Unregulated 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. Unregulated providers are not required to meet any federal or state standards.

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.