This chapter is promulgated under the authority of ss. 48.62
, 48.64 (4)
, and 48.67
, Stats., to establish licensing requirements for foster homes and foster parents directed at protecting the health and safety and promoting the welfare of children placed in the homes; to establish a fair hearing procedure for foster parents; to establish requirements for certification of a foster home with a level of care and requirements for assessment of a child's needs and strengths; and to establish criteria for making supplemental and exceptional payments to foster parents.
A license to operate a foster home does not entitle the holder to placements of children who need foster care since placement decisions are based on a variety of factors, including the compatibility of what a specific child needs with what a particular foster parent can offer.
DCF 56.01 Note
Note: Public licensing agencies are required to provide a foster home license to any applicant who meets the requirements under this chapter. An agency is not, however, required to place children with a licensee simply by virtue of the fact that they have a foster home to license.
DCF 56.01 History
History: CR 00-020
: cr. Register February 2002 No. 554
, eff. 3-1-02; EmR0937
: emerg. am. (1), eff. 1-1-10; CR 10-021
: am. (1) Register September 2010 No. 657
, eff. 10-1-10; EmR1050
: emerg. am. (1), eff. 1-1-11; CR 10-148
: am. (1) Register August 2011 No. 668
, eff. 9-1-11.
To whom the rules apply.
This chapter applies to all persons proposing to provide or who are providing foster care for children in a foster home and to the department; county agencies under s. 46.215
, or 46.23
, Stats.; and licensed private child-placing agencies.
A licensing agency may grant an exception to any requirement in this chapter if the licensing agency determines that the exception will not jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of the foster children, except that the licensing agency may not grant an exception to any of the following requirements: ss. DCF 56.04 (1)
, (4) (a) 1.
, or 9.
or (b) 2.
, 56.05 (1) (a)
, (b) 1. b.
, 2. b.
, or g.
, (c) 1. b.
, i. j.
, or 2.
, or (3) (a)
, 56.07 (3) (a)
, (4) (b)
, or (h)
, (5) (a)
, or (10) (a)
, 56.08 (1)
, (6) (c) 1.
or 4. a.
, (7) (a) 3.
, (8) (a)
, or (c)
, or (10m)
, 56.09 (1)
, (1m) (a)
, (2) (c)
, (4) (c)
, or (12) (a)
, 56.13 (1)
, (4) (a) 1.
, or (b)
, (5) (a)
, (b) 1.
, (6) (a)
, (b) 1.
, 56.14 (1)
, (8) (a)
or (b) 3.
, 56.21 (2)
, or 56.23
An applicant or licensee wanting an exception to a nonstatutory requirement in this chapter that the licensing agency has authority to grant shall submit a written request to the licensing agency stating the specific provision of this chapter for which an exception is requested, the justification for the requested exception and an explanation of any alternative provision planned to meet the intent of the requirement.
Any exception granted under subd. 2.
or par. (b)
shall be specifically cited on the license and shall be in effect only as long as the conditions under which the exception was granted remain but no longer than 2 years from the date on which the exception is granted or the date the license terminates, whichever occurs first, by which time the licensing agency shall determine if there is continued justification for the exception. In addition, the licensing agency may impose conditions to be met within a specified period of time by the licensee as an alternative to compliance with the requirement for which an exception has been granted.
An applicant or licensee wanting an exception to a nonstatutory requirement in this chapter that the licensing agency may not grant may ask the department exceptions panel to grant the exception, with the approval of the licensing agency. A request for an exception under this paragraph shall be in writing on a form prescribed by the department.
DCF 56.02 Note
Copies of the Department's request form, “Application to DCF Exceptions Panel for Exception to Ch. DCF 56
," can be obtained from the licensing agency or by visiting the Department's website at: https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/cwportal/fc/forms
Any request under subd. 1.
shall include all of the following information:
The citation for the specific requirement for which an exception is requested.
An explanation of any alternative provision planned to meet the intent of the requirement.
The signature of the applicant or licensee and the date on which the applicant or licensee signed the request.
The applicant or licensee shall submit the completed request form to the licensing agency.
The licensing agency's authorized representative shall, in the space provided on the request form, indicate whether he or she supports or does not support the exception request or supports some alternative to the request, shall justify that position and shall sign and date the request form.
If the licensing agency approves the request or some alternative to the request, the licensing agency shall submit the completed request form to the department within 10 working days after the agency's receipt of the request form from the applicant or licensee. The licensing agency shall not submit to the department any request that it does not support.
The department exceptions panel shall, in writing, indicate its approval or disapproval of the request within 10 working days after the department receives the request form from the licensing agency and has all the information required to make its decision.
Notwithstanding subd. 6. a.
, the department exceptions panel shall, in writing, indicate its approval or disapproval of an application for certification to operate a Level 5 foster home under s. DCF 56.13 (7) (a)
within 45 working days after the department receives the application from the licensing agency and has all the information required to make its decision.
The department exceptions panel shall consist of at least 3 persons who collectively are knowledgeable about the foster care program, licensing practices and any special needs of children who may be served by the applicant for an exception.
The chairperson of the panel shall be designated by the director of the department's
bureau of permanence and out-of-home care.
The panel chairperson shall designate the remaining members of the panel.
(c) Non-safety-related waiver for relatives.
The licensing agency or the department exceptions panel may grant a waiver to the following non-safety-related requirements for the relative of a child without an alternative provision to meet the intent of the requirement:
The licensing agency may grant a waiver to any requirement in s. DCF 56.04 (4) (a) 7.
, 56.05 (4)
, 56.07 (2)
, (4) (a) 1.
, or (8)
, or 56.09 (4) (g) 1.
, or (10) (b)
, or (f)
DCF 56.02 History
History: CR 00-020
: cr. Register February 2002 No. 554
, eff. 3-1-02; CR 03-033
: am. (2) (a) 1. Register December 2003 No. 576
, eff. 1-1-04; correction in (2) (a) 1. made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7.
, Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
: emerg. am. (2) (a) 1., (b) 5., 6., 7. b., cr. (2) (c), eff. 1-1-10; CR 10-021
: am. (2) (a) 1., (b) 5., 6., 7. b., cr. (2) (c) Register September 2010 No. 657
, eff. 10-1-10; EmR1050
: emerg. am. (1), (2) (a) 1., (c) 1., eff. 1-1-11; CR 10-148
: am. (1), (2) (a) 1., (c) 1., renum. (2) (b) 6. to be (2) (b) 6. a., cr. (2) (b) 6. b. Register August 2011 No. 668
, eff. 9-1-11; EmR1633: emerg. am. (2) (a) 1., eff. 11-18-16; CR 16-051: am. (2) (a) 1. Register July 2017 No. 739, eff. 8-1-17.
DCF 56.03 Definitions.
In this chapter:
“Aftercare plan" means a plan for transition services for a child that identifies services that will be provided after the child's discharge from a foster home to ensure continuity in the management of the child's needs.
“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 child, activities that are suitable for the child based on the cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities of that child.
“Algorithm" means a composite score based on items demonstrated to be relevant to decision making on a particular topic such as level of need or service provision.
“Applicant" means a person who applies for a license to operate a foster home, for renewal of a license to operate a foster home or for modification of a license to operate a foster home.
“Basement" has the meaning prescribed in s. SPS 320.07 (8)
, namely, that level below the first or ground floor level with its entire floor below exit discharge grade.
“Basic maintenance payment" means a payment to reimburse a foster parent for the cost of a foster child's food, clothing, housing, basic transportation, and personal items, as follows:
For care and maintenance provided for a child of any age by a Level 1 foster home, $220.
For care and maintenance provided by a foster home that is certified to provide care at a level of care that is higher than Level 1 care, an age-related foster care payment established by s. 48.62 (4)
“Case plan" means the service plan for the child and family, of which the permanency plan is a part.
“Child" means a person who is under 21 years of age who is placed in a foster home under juvenile court jurisdiction, other court order, or an agreement.
“Complete bathroom" means a bathroom with at least one toilet, one sink, and one tub or shower.
“County agency" means a county department of social services under s. 46.215
, Stats., or a county department of human services under s. 46.23
“Dangerous weapon" means any firearm, any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm, any electric device designed to immobilize or incapacitate persons by the use of electric current, any spray device designed to immobilize or incapacitate persons by the use of chemicals or other liquids or gases or any other device or instrument that is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
“Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
“Department exceptions panel" or “exceptions panel" means the group authorized to grant exceptions under s. DCF 56.02 (2)
to nonstatutory requirements of this chapter.
“Emergency care" means care provided for a foster child on the basis of 24-hour availability, including crisis intervention services and emergency placements.
“Family" means the birth parents, adoptive parents, relatives of the child, and other individuals who were permanently living with the child before the child's placement in out-of-home care.
“Family interaction plan” means a plan developed by a placing agency to promote a child's interaction with members of the child'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.
“Final substantiated finding" means all of the following:
A final determination made after January 1, 2015, that a person has abused or neglected a child under s. 48.981 (3) (c) 5m.
, Stats., and s. DCF 40.04
if the final determination has not been reversed or modified on appeal.
A determination made before January 1, 2015, that a person has abused or neglected a child under s. 48.981 (3) (c) 4.
, 2011 Stats., if the determination has not been reversed or modified on appeal.
DCF 56.03 Note
Note: The date in a statutory citation means that was the last edition of the statutes in which that provision appears.
“Foster care" means care and maintenance provided to a child in a foster home pursuant to a court order, voluntary placement agreement, or voluntary transition-to-independent-living agreement.
“Foster child" means a child placed for care and maintenance in a foster home by the department, a county agency, a licensed private child-placing agency or a court by court order, voluntary placement agreement, or voluntary transition-to-independent-living agreement.
“Foster parent" means a person with primary responsibility for the care and supervision of one or more foster children placed in his or her foster home and in whose name the foster home is licensed under this chapter.
“Group home" means a facility operated by a person licensed by the department to provide 24-hour care and maintenance for 5 to 8 children under s. 48.625
“Guardian" means the person or agency appointed by a court to make major decisions affecting a child which may include consent to marriage, to enlistment in the armed forces and to major surgery.
“Hazardous machinery and equipment” means any machine or other equipment generally known to be dangerous to untrained or unskilled operators or to operators who for any other reason are physically or mentally unable to operate the equipment safely, including a motor vehicle, power lawn mower, tractor or other farm
machinery or equipment, snow blower, chain saw, power-driven shop tool, snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, and any other machinery or equipment determined by the licensing or supervising agency.
“HealthCheck program" means a standardized preventive health check-up program for anyone under the age of 21 who has a valid Wisconsin medical assistance card.
DCF 56.03 Note
Note: A HealthCheck includes head-to-toe physical examination, immunizations, laboratory tests, eye exam, growth and development check, hearing check, mouth exam, nutrition check, health information, special teen-age health education and teen pregnancy services.
“Home-based private educational program" means a program of educational instruction provided to a child by the child's parent or guardian or by a person designated by the parent or guardian. An instruction program provided to more than one family unit does not constitute a home-based private educational program.
“Household member" means any person living in a foster home, whether or not related to the licensee.
“Legal custodian" means the person or agency to whom a court has transferred a child's legal custody and who thereby has the right and duty to protect, train and discipline the child and to provide for the child's care and needs. “Legal custody" has the meaning prescribed in s. 48.02 (12)
“Level of care" means the intensity of services that is best able to meet the needs of a child who has been assessed with a corresponding level of need.
“Level of need" means a rating of a child that is used to inform decision making on placement and service provision. The level of need is derived from an algorithm that is based on an assessment of a child's functioning.
“Licensed private child-placing agency" means an agency licensed by the department under s. 48.60
, Stats., and ch. DCF 54
to license a person to operate a foster home and to place children in foster homes and other out-of-home care facilities.
“Licensee" means the foster parent or foster parents in whose name or names a foster home is licensed under this chapter.
“Licensing agency" means the department, a county agency, or a licensed private child-placing agency that may issue a license to operate a foster home under this chapter.
“Living area" means the rooms of the foster home used by household members for sleeping, preparing and eating meals, bathing, toileting and indoor leisure time activities.
“Mechanical restraint" means any physical apparatus that interferes with the free movement of a person's limbs and body.
“Motor vehicle" means a private automobile, motorcycle, van, bus or truck.
“Normalcy” means the child'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.
“Nurse practitioner" means a registered nurse licensed under ch. 441, Stats.
, who is currently certified as a nurse practitioner by a national certifying body that is recognized by the Wisconsin board of nursing.
“Out-of-home care" means care in a foster home, a group home under s. 48.625
, Stats., or a residential care center for children and youth under s. 48.60
“Permanency plan" means a plan required under s. 48.38 (2)
, Stats., that is designed to ensure that a child placed in out-of-home care is safely reunified with his or her family whenever appropriate, or that the child quickly attains a safe placement or home providing long-term stability.
“Physical punishment" means inflicting any kind of physical pain or discomfort on a child by means that include but are not limited to hitting, slapping, spanking, punching, shaking, kicking, biting or washing out a child's mouth with soap.
“Physician" means a person licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy under ch. 448, Stats.
“Physician assistant" means a person certified under ch. 448, Stats.
, to perform patient services under the supervision and direction of a physician.
“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 foster homes.