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Licensing and Accreditation

At PATCH, we understand the delicate balance of family life. We understand that finding high-quality child care is an important step to raising healthy children. Resource and referral agencies like PATCH, located throughout the country, help parents take the guesswork out of choosing care – arming them with referrals and information about the elements of quality care and state licensing requirements, as well as the availability of child care subsidies.

And because the child care needs of every family vary, resource and referral counselors provide guidance by phone, in person, and in other ways, such as the Internet, that are tailored to each individual family rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.

Experts say that the first few years of life are the most important in the development of good mental, physical and emotional health. During this time your child will:

  • Form his or her personality
  • Learn to work and play with others
  • Build self-esteem
  • Develop language skills
  • Develop the small and large muscles of their bodies
  • Learn good habits

Child Care and State Licensing

The State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services licenses some types of child care to protect the health, safety and well-being of children. A license does not assure quality. A licensed child care provider is required to meet minimum standards, while the quality of these programs can vary greatly. Therefore, you must carefully review all programs, whether they are licensed or not, to be sure it is the best one for you and your child.

According to Hawaii law, caregivers who care for 3 or more unrelated children are required to be licensed. However, there are exceptions to the licensing laws for both family child care homes and child care centers. (These facilities are considered “License Exempt” programs and are not monitored by the State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services).

For programs to be licensed, the State:

  • Performs criminal background checks on family child care providers and anyone in their homes 18 years of age or older, and on all center staff.
  • Inspects homes and centers to identify and correct health and safety hazards.
  • Requires programs to serve well-balanced meals and snacks when meals are provided.
  • Requires children’s activities that are suitable for the age of the child.
  • Requires child care providers to take training classes and/or to improve their knowledge and skills. Centers and teachers must meet specific requirements for education and experience. Completion of First Aid and Infant & Child CPR is required for all licensed family child care providers, and at least one adult at a child care center.
  • Sets minimum standards for the number of adults who must be present with groups of children. This ensures that children receive adequate attention and supervision. The ratios vary according to the type of setting, number and ages of children.

Licensing Contact Information

The State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services Child Care Licensing Office can answer any question you might have regarding licensing requirements and about specific child care providers. For more information on licensing of child care providers, contact your local state licensing office listed in the right-hand column. Or to visit their website click here.

Click here for the Choosing Quality Child Care Options grid.

What does “Accreditation” mean?

Accredited homes and centers voluntarily measure up to national standards of quality that have been established by national child care organizations. Programs that are accredited have gone beyond minimum licensing standards and have made a commitment to provide the kind of care, attention, and stimulating activities that you and your children require.

Caregivers in many accredited programs take part in on-going child development training. Trained caregivers are more likely to understand children’s needs at different ages, plan appropriate activities, and interact with children in warm and stimulating ways. They are also more likely to provide positive guidance for children, rather than harsh discipline.

Childcare and State Licensing

State Licensing Contacts

For more information on licensing of child care providers, call your local Department of Human Services Child Care Connections office. Or to visit their website click here.


Child Care Licensing Unit I
Pohulani Elderly Housing Project

677 Queen Street, Room 400A
Honolulu, Hawaii 96713
(808) 587-5266

Child Care Licensing Unit II
Waipahu Civic Center

94-275 Mokuola Street, Room 203
Waipahu, Hawaii 96797
(808) 675-0470


Central Hilo Unit
Prince Kuhio Plaza
1990 Kinoole Street, Suite 109
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
(808) 981-7290


North Kona Unit II
Lanihau Professional Center
75-5591 Palani Road-Room 2004
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740
(808) 327-4755

MAUI (Includes Lanai & Molokai)

Maui Central Unit
Waiehu Beach Center
270 Waiehu Beach Road, Suite 107
Wailuku, Hawaii 96793
(808) 243-5866


Kauai Unit
Dynasty Court
4473 Pahee St., Suite G
Lihue, Hawaii 96766
(808) 241-3660

Or you can call your local PATCH office. We'll walk you through the process.