Rules & Laws



  • 5 CSR 25-300 License-Exempt Child Care Facilities
  • 5 CSR 25-400 Licensing Rules for Family Child Care Homes
  • 5 CSR 25-500 Licensing Rules for Group Child Care Homes and Child Care Centers
  • 5 CSR 25-600 Child Care Comprehensive Background Screening

Rule Updates

As of January 30, 2024, the licensing rules for group child care homes and child care centers have been updated and are in effect. The following chart provides an overview of the new and updated rules:

To identify which rules have been added or updated in the Code of State Regulations, child care providers should refer to the "authority" section at the bottom of each rule section. For example, changes to 5 CSR 25-500.102 Personnel, which allow for a Junior Aide to count in staff/child ratio in licensed group child care homes and centers, became effective on January 30, 2024, the date highlighted in yellow below; therefore, a Junior Aide could not have counted in staff/child ratio prior to this date.

Regulation Rule Change

The following resources have been made available for child care providers who would like to learn more about these rules:

If a child care provider has any questions about implementation of these rules specific to their facility, they are encouraged to reach out to their assigned Compliance Inspector at their Regional Office.

Child care providers and all child care staff members are responsible for reviewing and having knowledge of all rules and must follow all rules in effect when providing care.


Certain child care facilities are not required to obtain a child care license from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). To document the exemption, these programs may file a Program Evaluation Questionnaire (PEQ) with DESE in order to obtain an exemption assessment. The exemption process questionnaire is reviewed in our central office. Depending on the type of licensing exemption a program may qualify for, that program may still be required to comply with certain child care laws and regulations. 

Exemptions are set forth in Missouri Statute, sections 210.201 and 210.211, RSMo. Anyone who is caring for six or fewer children, including a maximum of three children under the age of two, at the same physical address is not required to be licensed and does not have to report he/she is providing child care. For the purposes of this exemption, children who live in the caregiver’s home and who are eligible for enrollment in public kindergarten, elementary, or high school shall not be considered in the total number of children under the provider's care.

Any private organization elementary or secondary school system providing child care to children younger than school age, including Private school systems, religious school systems, and Montessori schools, must submit the PEQ and the School Review Form for Child Care Exemptions, along with all required paperwork, for review by DESE in order to obtain an exemption determination. This form must be submitted to DESE on an annual basis after the exemption determination to ensure the program continues to meet exemption requirements.”

Nursery schools and child care programs maintained and operated under the exclusive control of a religious organization are license-exempt under Section 210.211, RSMo. These programs must file a Program Evaluation Questionnaire (PEQ) with the Office of Childhood to obtain an exemption determination. These types of license exemptions require a program to comply with certain child care laws and regulations in accordance with Section 210.252, RSMo.