Materials and equipment that may be hazardous to children, such as power tools, flammable or combustible materials, insecticides, poisons, plastic bags, detergents, alcohol, tobacco products and medications, shall be stored in areas not readily accessible to foster children.
The licensee shall make every reasonable effort to identify and immediately correct any hazard to the safety of foster children while the children are in the foster home, on the premises or being transported.
Electrical systems and appliances shall be in good repair and maintained in a manner designed to protect the safety of foster children.
A licensee caring for a foster child who is under 7 years of age shall maintain protective covers on all electrical outlets not in use.
Cats, dogs and other pets vulnerable to rabies which are owned by any member of the household shall be vaccinated as required under local ordinance and documentation of the vaccinations shall be provided to the licensing agency.
Household pets known to be vicious or infected with any disease transmittable to humans may not be kept in the foster home or elsewhere on the premises.
Any licensee or other person acting on behalf of the licensee who transports foster children for any purpose shall possess a valid driver's license. The licensing agency may establish additional requirements in this area by written policy, provided that the additional requirements do not prevent a foster parent from using the reasonable and prudent parent standard when making decisions concerning a child's participation in age or developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities under s. DCF 56.09 (2m)
DCF 56.08 Note
Note: For example, agencies cannot prohibit all youth from getting rides from peers or require that foster parents obtain prior agency approval for every person transporting the child.
No licensee or person acting on behalf of a licensee may transport any foster child under the age of 8 years or less than 80 pounds in weight in any private motor vehicle unless the following conditions are met, as required in s. 347.48 (4)
Each child who is less than one year old or who weighs less than 20 pounds being transported in a vehicle shall be properly seated and restrained in a rear-facing individual child car safety seat in the back seat of the vehicle.
Each child who is at least one year old but less than 4 years old or who weighs at least 20 pounds but less than 40 pounds shall be properly restrained in a forward-facing individual child car safety seat in the back seat of the vehicle.
Each child who is at least 4 years old but less than 8 years old, who weighs at least 40 pounds but not more than 80 pounds, or who is 4 feet 9 inches tall or less, shall be properly restrained in a shoulder-positioning child booster seat.
Each child who is not required to be in an individual child car safety seat or booster seat when being transported shall be properly restrained by a seat belt, except as provided in s. 347.48 (2m)
, Stats., and ch. Trans 315
Except as allowed under par. (d)
, no loaded firearm may be kept in a foster home.
No unloaded firearm or other dangerous weapon may be kept in a foster home unless stored and locked in an area not readily accessible to foster children. Ammunition materials and firearms shall be stored in separate locked areas that are not readily accessible to foster children.
DCF 56.08 Note
Note: A firearm need not be locked in an area not readily accessible to foster children if the firearm has been disassembled in such a manner that it is not operable. Trigger locks alone do not meet the above requirement but may be a supplemental safety measure in addition to the firearm being stored and locked in an area not readily accessible to foster children. A weapon cabinet with a glass front is not considered secure, even if it can be locked.
A foster child may be permitted to use firearms or bows for hunting or target practice only if all of the following conditions are met:
The foster parent applied the reasonable and prudent parent standard and gave permission for the child to participate in the activity.
The child has successfully completed an approved hunter education and firearm safety program under s. 29.304
The child is under the supervision of a responsible adult at all times.
If the foster parent is a sworn law enforcement officer who is required to maintain a loaded weapon at all times, the loaded weapon shall be stored and locked in an area not readily accessible to foster children.
No foster child under 12 years of age may, unless otherwise permitted by statute, operate any hazardous machinery or equipment.
No foster child may operate any machinery or equipment that is beyond the child's knowledge or mental or physical capability.
All hazardous machinery and equipment to be used by a foster child shall be maintained in safe and proper condition.
The foster child shall be under the general and appropriate supervision of a responsible adult when operating a hazardous machinery or piece of equipment.
The foster child shall be trained by the supervising adult on the safe and proper use and operation of any hazardous machinery or equipment before actually operating the hazardous machinery or equipment.
The agency may require attendance at specific training that is applicable to an applicant's home environment, such as farm safety and logging safety.
The foster child shall wear clothing and safety gear appropriate to the operation of particular hazardous machinery or equipment.
A foster home shall have one or more single-station battery-operated, electrically interconnected or radio signal-emitting smoke detectors at each of the following locations in the home:
DCF 56.08 Note
These smoke detector locations have been determined by a combination of standards found in ch. 2
-126.96.36.199 of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 72 and s. SPS 321.09
. The smoke detector at the head of an open stairway may also serve as the smoke detector for that floor of the home.
Smoke detector maintenance.
The licensee shall check the operating condition of each smoke detector at least once a month and shall immediately repair or replace any unit or part of a unit found to be inoperative. For a single-station battery-operated smoke detector, the battery shall be replaced at least once each year.
A fire extinguisher with a UL rating for A, B and C burning materials shall be available in or near the kitchen of a foster home. The foster parent shall know how to operate the fire extinguisher. Licensing agencies may also require a fire extinguisher near the sleeping areas of the home.
The licensee shall develop a written plan for the immediate and safe evacuation of the foster home in the event of a fire. The plan shall include the following:
The means to be used for emergency exiting from all floor levels of the foster home.
The place away from the foster home at which all evacuated members of the household will meet so that it can be determined if all persons are out of danger.
The means by which foster children who are not ambulatory will be assisted in evacuating the home.
The licensee shall review the fire safety evacuation plan with all household members at least once every 3 months and immediately following placement of a new foster child in the licensee's home.
The fire safety evacuation plan shall be posted in the home and its location made known to all household members.
At least once every 2 years the licensing agency shall review the fire safety evacuation plan with the licensee and the licensee shall revise the plan if the licensing agency determines it is necessary.
Fire safety inspection.
If required by the licensing agency, a foster parent shall arrange for a fire safety inspection by fire safety experts at any time there is cause for concern for the safety of household residents because of conditions in the foster home or elsewhere on the premises.
Effective February 1, 2011, a foster home in a one- or two-unit building shall have a functional carbon monoxide detector installed in the basement and on each floor level, except the attic, garage, or storage area of each unit, in accordance with the requirements of s. 101.647
DCF 56.08 Note
Note: A one-unit building is a single family residence. A two-unit building is a duplex or two-flat.
A foster home in a building with at least 3 units shall have one or more functional carbon monoxide detectors installed in accordance with the requirements of s. 101.149
The licensee shall report by no later than the end of the next working day to the licensing agency any fire in the foster home or elsewhere on the premises that requires the assistance of the fire department.
Each licensed foster home shall file a disaster plan with the licensing agency that would allow the licensing agency to identify, locate, and ensure continuity of services to children under the placement and care responsibility or supervision of an agency who are displaced or adversely affected by a disaster. Disaster plans shall include all of the following information:
Where a family, provider, or child would go in an evacuation, including one location in the nearby area and one location out of the area.
Phone numbers, electronic mail addresses, and other contact information for the foster parent.
Contact information for a relative or friend out of the area who will know where the family is located.
A list of items that the licensee will take if evacuated, including any medication and medical equipment for the child.
A phone number the licensee will call to check in with the licensing agency or caseworker.
Safety of infants and children with disabilities. DCF 56.08(11)(a)
A licensing agency may impose additional safety conditions upon a licensee if the licensee cares for a child under one year of age or a child with mental or physical disabilities when the age, impaired judgment, or mobility of the child creates additional safety risks.
A licensing agency may require modifications to a foster home or other accommodations necessary to meet specific requirements identified by the child's team or treatment team. These modifications may include any of the following:
Electrical back-up systems that will provide a reliable level of power in the event of an electrical system failure.
Adequate mechanisms for the safe and legal storage and disposal of medical supplies.
Minimum and maximum standards for heating and cooling temperatures within the home.
Structural or cosmetic changes to allow the child access into and throughout the home.
Mechanisms for ensuring that hot water temperatures from bathtub, sink, shower, and other bathroom fixtures do not exceed a maximum safe temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mechanisms for measuring and achieving established air purity standards in the home.
Other modifications to accommodate needs identified by the child's team or treatment team.
Any additional conditions imposed under par. (a)
shall be in writing and reviewed jointly by the licensing agency and licensee before taking effect.
The licensing agency and licensee shall review the conditions under par. (a)
for possible revision at least annually.
DCF 56.08 Note
A licensing agency may use an exceptional payment under s. DCF 56.23 (3)
to pay for any necessary adjustments to the foster home to meet the special needs of a foster child.
Each stairway shall have a handrail.
DCF 56.08 History
History: CR 00-020
: cr. Register February 2002 No. 554
, eff. 3-1-02; EmR0937
: emerg. r. and recr. (4) (b) and (c), am. (5) (b), cr. (10m), eff. 1-1-10; CR 10-021
: r. and recr. (4) (b) and (c), am. (5) (b), cr. (9m) and (10m) Register September 2010 No. 657
, eff. 10-1-10; EmR1050
: emerg. am. (8) (a) 2., cr. (8) (a) 3., r. and recr. (11), eff. 1-1-11; CR 10-148
: am. (8) (a) 2., cr. (8) (a) 3., r. and recr. (11) Register August 2011 No. 668
, eff. 9-1-11; CR 10-021
transcription error in (5) (b) corrected Register December 2015 No. 720
: emerg. am. (4) (a), (5) (c) 1., r. and recr. (5) (c) 2., am. (6) (a), r. (6) (b), eff. 11-18-16; CR 16-051
: am. (4) (a), (5) (c) 1., r. and recr. (5) (c) 2., am. (6) (a), r. (6) (b) Register July 2017 No. 739
, eff. 8-1-17; CR 21-107: am. (6) (c) 1. Register June 2022 No. 798, eff. 7-1-22.
Principles for nurturing care.
The foster parent shall provide nurturing care to each child placed in a foster home. Nurturing care is care that does all of the following:
Ensures that the child is provided a humane physical and psychological environment.
Socializes the child into family living and teaches social and community living skills, including accepting tasks and responsibilities.
Increases the child's opportunities to develop decision-making skills and to make informed choices.
Gives the child room to grow and the maximum of personal and physical freedom appropriate to the child's age and maturity.
Increases the child's independence in performing tasks and activities by teaching skills that reduce dependence on caretakers.