Updated Guidance for Exempt Child Care Programs

Oct. 29, 2021

Certain types of care are not considered “child care” under Delaware Code and DELACARE Regulations. The following facilities that run for less than 24 hours per day do not need a license:

  • Youth camps that provide care for only school-age children and are issued permits from public health (Please note: Beginning the summer of 2022, youth camps that accept Purchase of Care must be licensed. Contact the Office of Child Care Licensing for more information  DELACARE: Regulations for Youth Camps )
  • Programs run by the State of Delaware;
  • Summer religion classes that last less than a month, for example, vacation bible school;
  • Programs that have an onsite child care center where parents do not leave;
  • Programs that offer free activities for children, who are school-age, where children can come and go as they please, and there is no agreement with parents that care is provided;
  • Programs that offer school-age care on a limited basis in order to meet an emergency or special need, or only during school in-service days, school holidays, or school vacations;
  • Programs that solely provide lessons or classes, for example, tutoring, music, a sport, dancing, karate, or painting; and
  • Programs run by schools that provide regular and thorough instruction through at least the 6th grade that are registered with the Department of Education. Please note: Senate Bill #169 of the Delaware State 151st General Assembly removed this exemption.  As of January 1, 2023, any child care, “including early education programs for children below the grade of kindergarten that are operated by public or private schools” must be licensed by the Office of Child Care Licensing.  Only the early education program must be licensed and follow DELACARE Regulations for Early Care and Education and School-Age Centers.  Register for a virtual Information Session to learn more.  This is the first step toward licensure so start early!  
My Child DE is a user-friendly website that brings together resources to help families, providers and other caretakers make informed choices for the children of Delaware. The goal of My Child DE is to help these groups feel welcome, informed and empowered to engage, learn and take the next steps needed to support children.