170-295-2080  <<  170-295-2090 >>   170-295-2100

WAC 170-295-2090

Agency filings affecting this section

What are the required staff to child ratios and maximum group sizes for my center?

(1) You must ensure the required staff to child ratios are met at all times when children are in your care. In centers licensed for thirteen or more children, the licensee must conduct group activities within the group size and staff to child ratio requirements, according to the age of the children:
If the age of the children is:
Then the staff to child ratio is:
And the maximum group size is:
(a) One month, through 11 months (infant)
(b) Twelve months through 29 months (toddler)
(c) Thirty months through 5 years (preschooler)
(d) Five years through 12 years (school-age child)
(2) In centers licensed for twelve or fewer children, you may combine children of different age groups, provided you:
(a) Maintain the staff-to-child ratio designated for the youngest child in the mixed group; and
(b) Provide a separate care area when four or more infants are in care. In such case the maximum group size is eight infants.
(3) You must conduct activities for each group in a specific room or other defined space within a larger area.
(4) You must ensure each group is under the direct supervision of a qualified staff person or team of staff involved in directing the child's activities.
(5) We may approve reasonable variations to group size limitations if you maintain required staff-to-child ratios, dependent on:
(a) Staff qualifications;
(b) Program structure; and
(c) Useable square footage.
(6) After consulting with the child's parent, you may place the individual child in a different age group and serve the child within the different age group's required staff-to-child ratio based on the child's:
(a) Developmental level; and
(b) Individual needs.
(7) You may combine children of different age groups for no more than one hour, provided you maintain the staff-to-child ratio and group size designated for the youngest child in the mixed group.
(8) In centers licensed for thirteen or more children, you may group ambulatory children between one year and two years of age with older children, provided:
(a) The total number of children in the group does not exceed twelve; and
(b) Two staff are assigned to the group.
(9) You must ensure the staff person providing direct care and supervision of the child is free of other duties at the time of care.
(10) You must maintain required staff-to-child ratios indoors, outdoors, on field trips, and during rest periods. During rest periods, staff may be involved in other activities if:
(a) Staff remain on the premises; and
(b) Each child is within continuous visual and auditory range of a staff person.
(11) You must ensure staff:
(a) Attend to the group of children at all times; and
(b) Keep each child (including school age children) within continuous visual and auditory range of center staff. Toilet trained children using the toilet must be within auditory range of a center staff member.
(12) When only one staff person is present, you must ensure a second staff person is readily available in case of emergency.
(13) When only one caregiver is required to meet the staff to child ratio, you must be sure there is coverage for emergencies to meet both ratios and worker qualifications by either:
(a) Posting the name, address, and telephone number of a person who meets the qualifications of at least a lead teacher, who has agreed in writing to be available to provide emergency relief and who can respond immediately; or
(b) Having a second person that meets the qualifications of at least a lead teacher on the premises who is not needed for the staff to child ratio, but is available to provide emergency relief.
(14) Service staff, such as cooks, janitors, or bus drivers, may be counted in the required staff to child ratio if they meet all child care worker qualifications.
[WSR 06-15-075, recodified as § 170-295-2090, filed 7/13/06, effective 7/13/06. Statutory Authority: Chapters 74.12 and 74.15 RCW. WSR 04-09-093, § 388-295-2090, filed 4/20/04, effective 5/21/04; WSR 03-14-110, § 388-295-2090, filed 6/30/03, effective 8/1/03.]