Register February 2012 No. 674
Chapter DCF 251
GROUP CHILD CARE CENTERS
Authority and purpose.
Physical plant and equipment.
Additional requirements for infant and toddler care.
Exceptions and additional requirements for care of school-age children.
Additional requirements for night care.
Complaints, inspections and enforcement actions.
Ch. DCF 251 Note
Corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, January, 1997, No. 493
. Corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1998, No. 513
. Chapter HFS 46 was renumbered to chapter DCF 251 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
Authority and purpose.
This chapter is promulgated under the authority of s. 48.67
, Stats., to establish licensing requirements under s. 48.65
, Stats., for group child care centers for children. The purpose of this chapter is to protect the health, safety and welfare of children being cared for in group child care centers.
Included and excluded care arrangements.
This chapter applies to all group child care centers, whether the facility in which the child care and supervision are provided is known as a day care center, nursery school or preschool, head start or school-age child care program, or by any other designation, but it does not apply to the following:
Care and supervision of children in a program, including religious education classes, which operates no more than 4 hours a week.
Group lessons to develop a talent or skill, such as dance or music lessons, social group meetings and activities and group athletic activities.
Care and supervision while the child's parent is on the premises and is engaged in shopping, recreation or other non-work activities.
Care and supervision provided at the site to the child of a recipient of temporary assistance to needy families or Wisconsin works who is involved in orientation, enrollment or initial assessment prior to the development of an employability plan or the child care is provided where parents are provided training or counseling.
Seasonal programs of 10 days or less duration in any 3-month period, including day camps, vacation bible schools and holiday child care programs.
Care and supervision while the child's parent is employed on the premises if the child receives care and supervision for no more than 3 hours a day.
DCF 251.02 Note
, Stats., exempts parents, guardians and certain other relatives; public and parochial (private) schools; persons who come to the home of the child's parent to provide care for less than 24 hours per day; and counties, cities, towns, school districts and libraries that provide programs for children primarily intended for social or recreational purposes from the requirement of a license. As specified under s. 49.155 (4)
, Stats., or s. DCF 201.04 (1)
, programs, other than those operated by public schools, are required to be licensed by the department or certified by a county agency in order to be eligible to receive a child care subsidy. To be eligible for child care subsidy payments under s. 49.155 (4)
, Stats., or DCF 201.04 (1), programs, other than those operated by public schools, may be required to be licensed by the department or certified by a county agency.
(2) Exception to a requirement.
The department may grant an exception to a requirement of this chapter when it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department that granting the exception will not jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of any child served by the center. A request for an exception shall be in writing, shall be sent to the department and shall include justification for the requested action and a description of any alternative provision planned to meet the intent of the requirement.
DCF 251.02 Note
Note: A request for an exception to a requirement of this chapter should be sent to the licensing representative at the appropriate field office of the Department's Division of Early Care and Education. See Appendix A for addresses of the regional offices.
DCF 251.02 History
Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493
, eff. 8-1-97; correction in (1) (d) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats.; CR 03-052
: am. (1) (intro.) and (d) Register December 2004 No. 588
, eff. 3-1-05.
In this chapter:
"Administrator" means the person responsible to the licensee for management of the group child care center.
"Assistant child care teacher" means a child care worker who works under the supervision of a child care teacher and meets the qualifications under s. DCF 251.05 (1) (e)
"Care" means providing for the safety and the developmental needs of a child in a group child care center.
"Caregiver background check" means the retrieval of information about an individual's past criminal conduct pursuant to s. 48.685
, Stats., and ch. DHS 12
that may bear on the suitability of that individual to assume a child caregiving role or have regular contact with children at the center.
"Center director" means the person responsible to the licensee for the supervision of the center's program for children and for the supervision of the center's staff and who meets the qualifications of s. DCF 251.05 (1) (c)
"Center-provided transportation" means transportation provided in a vehicle owned, leased or contracted for by the center or in volunteer or staff-owned vehicles regardless of whether the driver is reimbursed for the use of the vehicle.
"Center-provided vehicle" means a vehicle owned or leased by the center or a vehicle owned by the licensee or an employee that is used to transport children, but does not include a vehicle owned and driven by a parent or volunteer.
"Child care teacher" means a child care worker who plans, implements and supervises the daily activities for a designated group of children and meets the qualifications under s. DCF 251.05 (1) (d)
"Child care worker" means a child care teacher or assistant child care teacher in a group child care center.
"Complaint" means an allegation that a provision of this chapter or of ch. 48, Stats.
, has been violated.
"Course for credit" means a course that is worth at least 2 credits from an institution of higher education.
"Crib" means a bed for an infant or young child that is enclosed on 4 sides including play pens and portable cribs.
"Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
"Division" means the department's division of early care and education.
"Emergency" means situations such as: fire, tornado, flood, extreme outdoor heat or cold, loss of building service including, no heat, water, electricity, or telephone, threats to the building or its occupants, lost or missing children or a circumstance such as a medical emergency, illness or other situation requiring immediate attention that may be disruptive to a child or children in the care of the center.
"Field trip" means any experience a child has away from the premises of the center, while under the care of center staff, whether a child walks or is transported.
"Fit and qualified" means displaying the capacity to successfully nurture and care for children and may include consideration of any of the following:
A history of a civil or criminal conviction or administrative rule violation that substantially relates to caring for children, as described in ch. DHS 12
A history of civil or criminal offenses or any other action that demonstrate an inability to manage financial resources or the activities of a center.
"Full day center" means a center that accepts children for care for 5 or more consecutive hours in a day.
"Group" means a specific number of children who have a regularly assigned child care worker and who are cared for in the same self-contained room or area at the center.
"Group child care center" or "center" means a facility where a person for less than 24 hours a day provides care and supervision for 9 or more children who are not related to the provider.
"Hazard" means a potential source of harm that can jeopardize the health, safety or well-being of children in care.