This land use code amendment (LUCA) reconciled provisions related to the maximum number of children allowed at in-home family care locations and corrected outdated references for family child care homes in the Land Use Code (LUC), in response to recent amendments to state law.
Home-based childcare providers are regulated and licensed by the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). Under the previous land use code and state law, providers were limited to no more than 12 children under their care at any given time. However, in 2021, the Washington state Legislature passed, and the governor signed, Senate Bill (SB) 5237, which in part directed DCYF to establish a waiver program for qualifying providers to care for more than 12 children. Because of these amendments, DCYF established a waiver program, effective January 2022, to consider approval of more than 12 children by reviewing important factors, such as square footage of the provider's home, staff-to-children ratios, working toilets, the license's experience, and other qualifications.
Because Bellevue's Land Use Code previously defined family child care homes as having no more than 12 children at any time, this LUCA was necessary to conform the city's provisions with state law.
Capacity limits for family child care homes
- Consistent with state law, the definition of family child care homes was updated to reflect the waiver program established by DCYF (codified as WAC 110-300-0358). Family child care homes will still be limited to 12 children, except for those approved for waiver by DCYF.
- Additionally, a provision limiting childcare to no more than 24 hours per day was removed, as DCYF is the regulatory authority for licensing childcare programs.
- The LUCA also amended outdated references to state agencies and other applicable codes related to family child care homes.
LUCA Schedule and Public Notice
- September 6, 2022: City Council Study Session 1
- September 8, 2022: Weekly Permit Bulletin with Notice of Application and Public Hearing
- September 26, 2022: City Council Public Hearing and Final Action