Family, Friend and Neighbor Care

Family, friend and neighbor (FFN) providers include grandparents, aunts and uncles, elders, older siblings, friends, neighbors, and others who help families by providing child care. Both in Washington and around the nation, FFN care is the most common type of child care for infants and toddlers and for school-age children before and after school.

FFN providers are unlicensed and not regulated by the state, although some FFN providers can receive child care subsidies for the care they provide.

To be considered an FFN provider you must meet Washington Administrative Code requirements WAC 170-290-0130 through WAC 170-290-0167.

Why Choose FFN Care

Families choose FFN care for a number of reasons, including:

  • Existing bonds of love and trust with a family member, friend or neighbor
  • Shared language, culture, and values
  • Families raising a child with special health or behavioral needs choose FFN care as the best match for their child 
  • Some families need the greater flexibility of FFN care in order to meet non-traditional work hours

Most FFN providers view themselves as extended family or surrogate parents, rather than professional child care providers. One of the predominant reasons FFN providers say they do this work is that they enjoy being with the children they care for, and they enjoy helping parents. In many cultures, FFN care is not seen as a child care arrangement but as a way the family and community work together to raise children.

Can I Get Help to Pay My FFN Provider

Some families qualify for help to pay their family, friend or neighbor (FFN) child care. This is called a subsidy. Caregivers can be paid by the state for caring for children of eligible families. Caregivers paid by the state are called "in-home/relative providers."

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) determines a family's eligibility for a child care subsidy, and approves the requested provider.  

There are 3 ways to apply:

View the instructions on how to create an online account with Washington Connection.