Subchapter VI — Physical Environment and Safety
Buildings and grounds.
General physical environment.
Bath and toilet facilities.
Carbon monoxide detector.
General safety and sanitation.
Subchapter VII — Specialized Programs
Exceptions and additional requirements for type 2 programs.
Exceptions and additional requirements for short-term programs.
Respite care services programs.
Subchapter VIII — Need Determination and License Application
Determination of need for additional beds.
Inspections and complaint investigations.
Subchapter IX — Rate Regulation
Ch. DCF 52 Note
Chapter HSS 52 was renumbered chapter HFS 52 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., and corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register, June, 1999, No. 522
. Chapter HFS 52 was repealed and recreated, Register, February, 2000, No. 530
, eff. 9-1-00. Chapter HFS 52 was renumbered to chapter DCF 52 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
DCF 52.01 Authority and purpose.
This chapter is promulgated under the authority of s. 48.67
, Stats., to ensure that residential care centers for children and youth protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of residents, respect the rights of individual residents, provide the most appropriate conditions possible for each resident, help each resident develop socially acceptable patterns of behavior, develop resident treatment plans consistent with the state's permanency planning policy to support the integrity of the family, and help each resident return as quickly as possible to the resident's family or achieve permanency through adoption or guardianship. This chapter is also promulgated under the authority of s. 49.343
, Stats., to establish the rate that a residential care center may charge for its services and to promote efficient provision of services.
DCF 52.01 History
Cr. Register, February, 2000, No. 530
, eff. 9-1-00; EmR1106
: emerg. am., eff. 9-16-11; CR 11-026
: am. Register December 2011 No. 672
, eff. 1-1-12; CR 21-107: am. Register June 2022 No. 798, eff. 7-1-22.
This chapter applies to the department, to applicants for a license to operate a residential care center for children and youth and to all licensed residential care centers for children and youth, except as provided in s. DCF 52.57
for type 2 residential care center programs, in s. DCF 52.58
for short-term programs and in s. DCF 52.59
for respite care services programs.
The department may grant an exception to a nonstatutory requirement of this chapter if the department determines that the exception will not jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of any child served by the center. A request for an exception shall be made on a form prescribed by the department. The request shall justify the exception and describe the alternative provision that meets the intent of the requirement.
DCF 52.02 Note
Form DCF-F-5023-E, Child Welfare Request for Exception
, is available in the forms section of the department website, http://dcf.wisconsin.gov
, or from a department field office. A request for an exception to a requirement of this chapter should be sent to the licensing representative of the department's Division of Safety and Permanence. See Appendix D for the address of the field office for your area.
The department may impose one or more specific conditions on any exception granted under this subsection to protect the health, safety or welfare of residents. Violation of a condition is a violation of this chapter.
DCF 52.02 History
Cr. Register, February, 2000, No. 530
, eff. 9-1-00; correction in (1) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7.
, Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
: emerg. am. (2) (a), eff. 8-1-14; CR 14-054
: am. (2) (a) Register April 2015 No. 712
, eff. 5-1-15.
DCF 52.03 Definitions.
In this chapter:
“Aftercare” means follow-up services provided to a young person after the young person is discharged from a center.
“Age or developmentally appropriate activities” means activities that are generally accepted as suitable for children of a given chronological age or level of maturity or that are determined to be developmentally appropriate for a child based on the cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities that are typical for children of a given age or age group or, in the case of a specific resident, activities that are suitable for the resident based on the cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities of that resident.
“Center" means a residential care center for children and youth.
DCF 52.03 Note
Residential care centers for children and youth were formerly called child care institutions (CCIs) and in ch. 48
, Stats., are referred to as child welfare agencies.
“Child" is a person who is under 21 years of age and is under juvenile court jurisdiction or other court order, is being provided services by a child welfare or juvenile justice agency, or is placed under a contract or agreement.
“Child-placing agency" or “placing agency" means any agency that is required to be licensed under s. 48.60
, Stats., and ch. DCF 54
, to place children into adoptive homes, foster homes or group homes, to accept guardianship of children or to license foster homes, or a county department with powers and duties as defined under s. 48.57
, Stats., the department or the Wisconsin department of corrections or any other lawful placement authority.
“County department" or “county" means a county department of social services under s. 46.215
, Stats.; a county department of human services under s. 46.23
, Stats.; or a county department under s. 51.42
“Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
“Family interaction plan” means a plan developed by a placing agency to promote a resident's interaction with members of the resident's family and includes interaction by face-to-face contact; telephone calls; letters; emails; and attendance at routine activities, such as counseling sessions, medical appointments, school events, and faith-related activities.
“Full-time staff" means a center staff member who works 40 or more hours per week in the same staff position or 2 or more part-time staff members who together work in the same staff position 40 or more hours per week.
“Guardian" means a person appointed by a court under s. 48.9795
, Stats., to have the duties and authority of guardianship described under s. 48.023
, Stats., or as defined under s. 938.02 (8)
“Informed consent" or “consent" means signed written consent which is voluntary and based on understanding by a person 18 years of age or older or a minor resident as provided under law who is competent and who understands the terms of the consent, and as otherwise provided under law by the resident's parent, guardian or legal custodian or as provided under a court order or other lawful authority.
“License" means written permission of the department for a center to operate, consisting of a license certificate which shows the location of the center, identifies the licensed premises and lists licensing provisions, and a licensing letter of transmittal that includes any special conditions.
“Licensee" means the person, partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation or other legal entity to which a license is issued under this chapter and which has final responsibility and authority to operate the center.
“Licensing representative" means a department employee responsible for licensing residential care centers.
“Medical assistance" means the assistance program operated by the department of health services under ss. 49.43
, Stats., and chs. DHS 101
“NFPA" means the National Fire Protection Association.
“Normalcy” means a resident's ability to easily engage in healthy and age or developmentally appropriate activities that promote his or her well-being, such as participation in social, scholastic, and enrichment activities.
“Permanency plan" means a plan required under s. 48.38 (2)
, Stats., that is designed to ensure that a child placed in a residential care center is reunified with his or her family whenever appropriate, or that the child quickly attains a placement or home providing long-term stability.
“Placing agency" means a licensed private child-placing agency; county department with powers and duties under ss. 48.57
, Stats.; the department; the Wisconsin department of corrections; or a licensed child welfare agency from another state authorized to place children in residential care centers.
“Professional" means a person who is a Wisconsin certified alcohol or drug abuse counselor or a person with at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university who has specialized training to do therapy or counseling or to provide other treatment services or a social worker licensed under s. 457.08
“Psychiatrist" means a physician licensed under ch. 448
, Stats., to practice medicine and surgery who has satisfactorily completed 3 years of residency training in psychiatry or child psychiatry in a program approved by the accreditation council for graduate medical education and is either certified or eligible for certification by the American board of psychiatry and neurology.
“Reasonable and prudent parent standard” means a standard for use in making decisions concerning a resident's participation in age or developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities that is characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, best interests, and cultural, religious, and tribal values of the resident while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the resident.
“Resident" means a child who is admitted to and resides in a residential care center for children and youth.
“Residential care center for children and youth" or “residential care center", “center", or “RCC" means a residential facility required to be licensed as a child welfare agency under s. 48.60
, Stats., that provides treatment and custodial services for children under 21 years of age.
“RPPS decision maker” means an individual who has successfully completed training on the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard and makes reasonable and prudent parenting decisions under s. DCF 52.415
“Staff person" means a person who is either employed by a center or under contract for a center to perform the functions identified in s. DCF 52.12 (1) (a)
or (2) (i)
“Treatment plan" means a written plan of services to meet the specific treatment goals and needs of an individual resident.
“Type 2 residential care center" means a center designated by the department of corrections as a type 2 child caring institution that is approved by the department to operate under its residential care center license to provide care and maintenance for juveniles who have been placed in the residential care center under the supervision of the department of corrections or a county department under s. 938.34 (4d)
“Type 2 status" has the meaning specified under s. 938.539
, Stats., and includes the status given by the court to a youth who is placed by the court in a type 2 residential care center.
“Wisconsin public purchaser" means a county department, the department, or the Wisconsin department of corrections.
DCF 52.03 History
Cr. Register, February, 2000, No. 530
, eff. 9-1-00; corrections in (3), (5), (7), (8), (15) and (24) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6.
, Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
: emerg. r. and recr. (4), am. (23), cr. (19m), (28), eff. 9-16-11; CR 11-026
: r. and recr. (4), am. (23), cr. (19m), (28) Register December 2011 No. 672
, eff. 1-1-12; EmR1414
: emerg r. and recr. (22), am. (23), eff. 8-1-14; CR 14-054
: cr. (2m), r. and recr. (22), am. (23) Register April 2015 No. 712
, eff. 5-1-15; EmR1633
: emerg. cr. (1m), (5m), (16m), (21g), (22m), (23m), eff. 11-18-16; CR 16-051
: cr. (1m), (5m), (16m), (21g), (22m), (23m) Register July 2017 No. 739
, eff. 8-1-17;
correction in (7) made under ss. 13.92 (4) (b) 7.
, Stats., Register September 2020 No. 777
; CR 21-107: am. (1) Register June 2022 No. 798, eff. 7-1-22.
DCF 52.11 Licensee responsibilities.
A licensee shall protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of children served and meet all applicable requirements under this chapter. If this chapter does not specify who should complete a task or function, the licensee shall make the necessary arrangements to achieve and maintain compliance. The licensee shall do all of the following:
Table of organization.
Maintain an up-to-date table of organization showing the center's administrative and staffing structure with position titles and lines of authority.
Written schedules of staff coverage that document the specific resident care workers and resident services case managers that worked each shift to meet the applicable staff-to-resident ratios in s. DCF 52.41 (3)
Retain records under par. (a)
for 5 years and make all records immediately available upon request of the department.
Operate the center in accordance with the provisions of the center's license and in compliance with this chapter.
Comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws as determined by those authorities.
Notify the department in writing within one week after there is a change in the person filling the center director position.
Notify the department in writing before making any general change affecting center organization, administration or operation or in the center's treatment program as described in the center's program statement and operating plan under s. DCF 52.41 (1)
. A general change is one that affects the overall structure of how a center is organized, administered or operated or in how a treatment program or approach is delivered.