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Department of Early Learning and Care

Certified Child Care Center

A "Child Care Center" or "Center" is defined by the Child Care Licensing Division (CCLD) as a child care facility that is certified to provide care and education of children, generally in a commercial or nonresidential setting, that is not a certified family child care home.

The Certified Center License

The Child Care Licensing Division issues three types of child care licenses:

While all three licenses have health and safety requirements, they are three very different licenses. In most cases, both Registered Family Child Care and Certified Family Child Care licenses are in residential homes, and Certified Child Care Center licenses are in commercial buildings. 

There are two types of Certified Centers, and each operates under a different set of Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs). 

(1) Certified Centers (CC) that care for any children from six weeks through age 12 operate under OAR 414-305‐0000 through 414‐305‐1620. These programs will be regulated according to these requirements, which are described in the rule book titled Rules for Certified Child Care Centers

(2) Certified School-age Center (SC) that ONLY cares for children that are school aged operates under OAR 414-310-100 through 414-310-0720. These programs will be regulated according to the requirements, which are described in the rule book titled Rules for Certified School-age Child Care Centers

Guide to Certified Child Care Centers (CCLD-0105) 

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Before You Apply

Before you apply for a child care license, you must first find a space where it is appropriate to do so. Your facility must meet local planning and zoning requirements, building codes, environmental health requirements, be approved by the fire marshal, and water faucets used for drinking, cooking, and preparing infant formula and food must be tested for lead. In addition, it must meet requirements in CCLD’s appropriate Rules for Certified Centers. 

Planning, Zoning and Building Codes

The Child Care Licensing Division requires child care centers to comply with all planning and zoning laws. Before you acquire a space for child care, it is important for you to verify with your local municipality that governs planning and zoning that the building you are interested in using is zoned appropriately for child care. This is usually the county or city where the building is located. You will be asked to provide documentation to CCLD that the building is zoned for child care before we can move forward with a pre-certification visit.

Specific building codes apply to child care centers. You will also need to ensure that the building meets the codes for the specific age groups of children you intend to care for, or be willing to complete the necessary renovations in order to obtain the proper permit. Contact your local building codes agency for more information.

child playing with blocks  

Floor Plan Review

To be licensed for the first time as a Certified Center, or if you are planning to remodel, you must submit a building floor plan or drawing of your facility to CCLD. It must show the dimensions of all rooms to be used (length and width), the placement of the kitchen and bathrooms, the locations of toilets, hand washing sinks, and fixtures and plumbing in the kitchen. It must also include a description of how each room will be used. If only part of the building will be used for child care, you may limit your floor plan to that area; however, the licensing specialist will conduct a brief review of all areas of the center.

If you are submitting a new application or planning on doing construction or remodeling, you will also need to submit floor plans to the environmental health specialist, the fire marshal, and the buildings department to ensure all codes and sanitation requirements are met. 

child playing with legos  

The Pre‐Certification Visit

After you acquire documentation that you have met planning, zoning, occupancy and building codes, you may contact CCLD to set up a pre‐certification visit. At the pre‐certification visit, your licensing specialist will visit your space, and estimate how many children the space can accommodate. In addition, your licensing specialist will provide guidance to you regarding any changes you may need to make to the space as you prepare for your initial licensing inspection.

The licensing specialist will take measurements of the rooms and outdoor space that you plan to use for child care. The square footage of each room will be calculated to determine the facility's capacity. Capacity is dependent on the amount of square footage available for children's use, the amount of available toilets and hand washing sinks, and the age of children that will utilize the space. Measurements that occur during a pre-certification visit provide for an estimated capacity. Final determination of capacity happens at your initial visit. The licensing specialist will also inspect the bathroom facilities, ensuring that there are enough toilets and hand washing sinks available for use. Outdoor space will be .reviewed to provide an estimated capacity and advise on other safety and use requirements in the rules for outdoor spaces.

The licensing specialist will discuss rules relating to staff qualifications, staff‐to‐child ratios and group size, enrollment in the Central Background Registry and rules specific to the age groups you plan to care for. During the precertification visit, we encourage you to ask questions about the licensing process and how you can meet licensing requirements.

Other Laws that Affect Child Care

As a licensed child care provider in Oregon, you will be required to follow several laws regulated by other agencies. More information on these laws is available upon request, or you may contact the agency directly to learn more about their requirements:

  • Immunizations (Oregon Health Authority)
  • Child Care Restrictable Diseases (Oregon Health Authority)
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting (Oregon Department of Human Services)
  • Vehicle Child Safety Systems and Seat Belts (Oregon Department of Transportation)
  • Bicycle Safety (Oregon Department of Transportation)
  • Civil Rights Laws (Bureau of Labor and Industries)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (

Application Materials

When your licensing specialist determines you are ready to apply for a license, they will provide you with an application packet. You will usually receive this packet at the pre‐certification visit. This packet will contain information on how to get your fire marshal and environmental health inspection scheduled. It will also include your application for a child care license, and applications for enrollment in the Central Background Registry. The packet will have other important materials for the licensing process, such as a sample checklist (CC Health and Safety Review Checklist, document # CCLD-0090). Use this checklist to prepare for your initial inspection.

Fire Marshal and Environmental Health Inspections

It is your responsibility to request fire safety and sanitation inspections. If an inspection report calls for corrections, the corrections must be made before an annual license is issued.  It is prudent to ask for fire safety and sanitation inspections as soon as possible. As it may take an agency several weeks to be able to act on your request. The applicant is responsible for any fees associated with these inspections.

The Child Care Licensing Division, and most fire marshals and environmental health specialists are able to give technical assistance to prospective child care providers. This means they can help you before you invest money in a building. You should use their expertise whenever you have questions, which could help avoid costly errors.

Application Form

The application must be submitted at least 45 days before you plan to operate. You must fill it out, sign it, and return it to the Child Care Licensing Division with the appropriate fee, floor plan, and lead testing results. This needs to be completed before the Child Care Licensing Division can act on your application. If you are a new applicant, you must also apply for enrollment in the Central Background Registry for yourself as well as any staff planning on working at your facility.

Forms must be correctly filled out, complete and signed. An incomplete application may delay the licensing of the facility. Feel free to call your licensing specialist if you have any questions.

Application Fees 
To apply for an initial application, a renewal, a change of owner, or a change of location, the fees are: 
  • NEW LICENSE: $100.00 plus $2.00 x licensed capacity (e.g. the fee for a Center licensed to care for 60 children is $100.00 + $120.00 = $220.00).
  • RENEWAL: $2.00 x licensed capacity

Withdrawing an Application 
To withdraw an application before the licensing process is completed, inform your licensing specialist, and they will give/send you a facility voluntary withdrawal or closure form (CCLD-0123) to fill out, sign, and return to the Child Care Licensing Division. This will close out your pending application.

Denial of the Application  
If the facility or its operation does not comply with applicable statute or rules or with any term or condition imposed under the certification or registration, CCLD may issue a notice of intent to deny the application.

boy playing with toy


Enrollment in the Central Background Registry

The Child Care Licensing Division requires all individuals including administrative, child care and support staff in child care facilities to be enrolled in the Central Background Registry. Other individuals who are not employed by the facility may also be required to be enrolled if their presence or role permits unsupervised access to the children. Federal and state law requires the Child Care Licensing Division perform FBI fingerprint background checks and obtain other criminal history information on all applicants.

After individuals apply for enrollment in the Central Background Registry, the Child Care Licensing Division must approve the individual for enrollment before they are allowed to work in the child care facility. CCLD covers the cost of fingerprinting for child care staff. For more information on who needs to be enrolled in the CBR in your facility, please contact your licensing specialist or call Child Care Licensing Division customer service at 1‐800‐ 556‐6616..

Visit the Central Background Registry (CBR) Page for more information

Testing for Lead in Drinking Water

The Child Care Licensing Division requires all applicants for licensing to test the water supply for lead at least every six years if the plumbing fixture is used for drinking, cooking, or preparing infant formula or food. Test results must be submitted with the initial license application. A floor plan indicating which faucets have been tested must also accompany the results. Fixtures must be re-tested every six years. Lead testing questions, lab reports, alternative water declaration forms and other communication regarding lead testing can be emailed to

Testing supplies can be obtained from any ORELAP approved laboratory.  To find a laboratory you can search from this website or search the DELC website resource library for document CEN-0020 ORELAP Labs for Lead Testing.  Other lead information and resources are available on the DELC website here:

If certain fixtures or all fixtures fail this test, you will be required to submit and comply with a mitigation (correction) plan. Faucets that do not pass, may not be used until the issue is corrected and the faucet(s) pass a re-test.

If the facility does not use any of the on‐site plumbing fixtures to obtain water for drinking, cooking, preparing infant formula, or preparing food, the program must submit form CEN-0016 Alternative Water Declaration to CCLD identifying the alternative source of water and confirming that the program does not use any on‐site plumbing fixtures for drinking, cooking, preparing infant formula or preparing food.
Visit the Lead Resources Page

The Initial Inspection

When you have approval or approval with corrections for your fire safety and sanitation inspection, the licensing specialist will conduct your initial inspection. They will inspect the facility for compliance with the requirements in your Child Care Licensing Division Rules for Certified Center Child Care Center rule book. Prior to operation, a facility must meet only those requirements that do not relate to the presence of children. For example, CCLD will not inspect children’s enrollment records if you have no children enrolled yet.

The licensing specialist will check for health and safety requirements and review any written information and required policies. They will verify the location of faucets that have been identified as being tested for lead. They will also check staff qualifications. If the licensing specialist observes any noncompliance with the rules, you will be informed and given an opportunity to correct the issue(s). 

A temporary license is issued if the facility shows the majority of CCLD’s requirements are met. Once you receive a temporary license, you may begin to care for children. Temporary licenses may also be issued when a facility moves or changes ownership, and when an applicant is renewing their child care license. A temporary license can be issued for up to 180 days.
An application will be denied if the facility does not show majority compliance with the statutes or the administrative rules.

Man playing with child on swing  

From Initial Temporary License to Annual Child Care License

Within 180 days, a new facility must show that it can meet all requirements on a continuing basis in order to qualify to move from a temporary license to an annual license.

While the applicant has a temporary license, the licensing specialist will visit the site to evaluate the facility’s compliance with the requirements, including those which apply to the presence of children. During this visit, often called a Program Review visit, the licensing specialist will look at all the items on the checklist that were not completed at the initial health and safety review. This may include your curriculum, child files and observing each group of children. The applicant will be informed of the areas being checked, along with any findings.

After determining that the facility is in compliance with the rules, the licensing specialist will issue an annual license. The annual license replaces the temporary license and is valid for one year from the effective date of the temporary license unless it is voluntarily closed, the facility changes location or ownership, or legal action is taken by Child Care Licensing Division.

If the facility does not meet requirements during the temporary licensing period, the annual license may be denied. In addition, the temporary license may expire during this process. If this happens, the facility must stop providing child care.

Sample CC Health and Safety Review Checklist (CCLD-0090) 



During your licensed year, you will receive at least one unannounced visit from your licensing specialist. During this visit, the licensing specialist may arrive any time during the hours you have children in care. Your licensing specialist will, at minimum, look at the following:

  • How many children you have in the entire facility (capacity)
  • If children are appropriately supervised
  • If staff‐to‐child ratio requirements are met
  • If group size requirements are met
  • If qualified staff are with each group of children
  • Staff training requirements
  • Are all individuals fully enrolled in the CBR that may have unsupervised access to children?
  • Are attendance records accurate and up-to-date?
  • Are all hazardous items inaccessible to children?

Your licensing specialist may also check for compliance with any other rules in the book.

Monitor Visit Checklist SAMPLE (CCLD-0093)

English Spanish Russian

Annual License Renewal

The child care center license must be renewed annually. The renewal process includes on‐site visits by the licensing specialist and the environmental health specialist. A fire inspection must be conducted every 24 months. You will receive your renewal packet by mail four months before your expiration date. You MUST submit your application to CCLD at least 30 days in advance of your license expiration date in order to have your application considered timely. The expiration date of the current certificate, unless officially revoked, remains in force until CCLD has acted on the timely application for renewal and has given notice of the action taken.
Similar to your initial inspection, at the time of renewal you will need an approved inspection from environmental health prior to a visit from CCLD. You will also need approval from a fire marshal every 2 years.

In addition, each of your staff in the center may have on‐going training requirements. You will need to ensure this training is completed and submitted to the Oregon Registry Online (ORO) well before the renewal date. Please consult your rule book for more details on the training requirements or talk to your licensing specialist.
After your renewal visit, an annual license is usually issued. A temporary license is only issued at renewal if the application was untimely and corrections cannot be completed before the license expiration date.  

Moving a Center to a New Location

If you are planning on moving your program into a location other than what CCLD has approved, the following steps apply:
  • Contact the licensing specialist you currently work with and discuss the timeline for the move and follow the application process.
  • The building cannot be used for child care purposes until a license from CCLD has been obtained.