Register January 2023 No. 805
Chapter DCF 202
DCF 202.01   Authority, purpose, applicability, and exceptions.
DCF 202.02   Definitions.
DCF 202.04   Certification.
DCF 202.06   Enforcement actions and conditions.
DCF 202.07   Complaints.
DCF 202.08   Standards for family child care and in-home child care.
Ch. DCF 202 Note Note: Sections HFS 55.55 to 55.62 were renumbered to ss. DWD 55.01 to 55.09, Register, July, 1999, No. 523, eff. 8-1-99. Chapter DWD 55 was renumbered to chapter DCF 202 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635.
DCF 202.01 DCF 202.01Authority, purpose, applicability, and exceptions.
DCF 202.01(1)(1)Authority and purpose. This chapter is promulgated under the authority of s. 48.651 (1d), Stats., to establish standards for the certification of persons who provide child care for 1 to 3 children. The standards are intended to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of children in the care of these providers.
DCF 202.01(2) (2)Applicability. Subject to sub. (3), this chapter applies to certification agencies, applicants for certification, and certified child care operators who are not licensed to operate a family child care center under ch. DCF 250 and are not required to be licensed as a child care center under s. 48.65, Stats. Certification agencies and certified child care operators shall comply with all applicable laws and the requirements of this chapter.
DCF 202.01(3) (3)Exceptions.
DCF 202.01(3)(a)(a) A certified child care operator may submit to the certification agency a written request for an exception to a requirement of this chapter with a justification for the requested action and an alternative to meet the intent of the requirement.
DCF 202.01(3)(b) (b) A certification agency may grant a request for an exception submitted under par. (a) if a certified child care operator demonstrates to the satisfaction of the certification agency that granting the exception will not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of any child in care. A certification agency may not grant an exception to a statutory requirement.
DCF 202.01 History History: Cr. Register, August, 1985, No. 356, eff. 9-1-85; emerg. r. and recr. eff. 7-1-96; emerg. r. and recr., eff. 7-1-96; r. and recr. Register, February, 1997, No. 494, eff. 3-1-97; renum. from HFS 55.55, Register, July, 1999, No. 523, eff. 8-1-99; CR 07-071: am. (1) and (2) Register May 2008 No. 629, eff. 6-1-08; 2015 Wis. Act 132: am. (2) Register February 2016 No. 722, eff. 3-1-16; EmR1918: emerg. r. and recr., eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089: r. and recr. Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20.
DCF 202.02 DCF 202.02Definitions. In this chapter:
DCF 202.02(1) (1) “ Background check request form” means a form prescribed by the department on which a person completes required information for the child care background check under s. 48.686, Stats., and ch. DCF 13.
DCF 202.02 Note Note: Form DCF-F-5296, Background Check Request, is available on the department's website at
DCF 202.02(1s) (1s)“Certification agency" means the department in a county having a population of 750,000 or more; a county department of social services established under s. 46.22, Stats.; a county department of human services established under s. 46.23, Stats.; a tribal agency; or any agency that contracts with any of those entities to certify child care operators under s. 48.651, Stats.
DCF 202.02(2) (2)“Certified child care home” or “home” means the residence in which a certified child care operator provides care of children and which meets the standards under s. DCF 202.08.
DCF 202.02(3) (3)“Certified child care operator,” “ child care operator,” or “operator” means an individual that has legal and financial responsibility for the operation of a child care program and for meeting the requirements under this chapter.
DCF 202.02(3b) (3b)“Certified family child care operator” means a certified child care operator who provides care in a private residential property that is not the home of the child in care.
DCF 202.02(3e) (3e) “ Certified in-home child care operator” means a certified child care operator who provides care in the child's home for a family that is eligible for in-home care through the child care subsidy program under s. DCF 201.039 (5).
DCF 202.02(3g) (3g) “ Child care background check” means the requirements in s. 48.686, Stats., and ch. DCF 13.
DCF 202.02(3h) (3h)“Child care certification worker” means a person employed by a certification agency whose duties include determination of eligibility for child care certification.
DCF 202.02(3k) (3k)“Child care provider” or “provider” means a certified child care operator or an employee or volunteer of the child care operator who is involved in the care and supervision of children on behalf of the operator and who meets the requirements specified in s. DCF 202.08 (1). “Provider” includes a substitute if there is no regularly scheduled provider working other than the substitute.
DCF 202.02(3L) (3L) “ Child care subsidy program” means the program under which the department issues payments to assist parents who are eligible under s. 49.155 (1m), Stats., with child care expenses.
DCF 202.02(3m) (3m)“Complaint” means an alleged violation of this chapter, ch. DCF 13, or s. 48.686, Stats.
DCF 202.02(4) (4) “ County department” means a county department of social services under s. 46.22, Stats., or a county department of human services under s. 46.23, Stats.
DCF 202.02(5) (5)“Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
DCF 202.02(5c) (5c) “ Early childhood education” means the teaching of children who are 8 years of age or less.
DCF 202.02(5g) (5g)“Emergency” means unforeseen circumstances that require immediate attention.
DCF 202.02(5m) (5m) “ Emergency back-up provider” means a designated adult who is available to assist in the event an emergency occurs that requires a provider to leave the premises occasionally for a short period of time.
DCF 202.02(5r) (5r)“Employee" means any individual who works for a certified child care operator to provide care and supervision of children in care, including a substitute, helper, or assistant.
DCF 202.02(6) (6)“Family child care center" means a child care center licensed under s. 48.65, Stats., and ch. DCF 250.
DCF 202.02(7) (7) “ Field trip” means any experience a child has away from the premises while in the care of a provider, whether the child walks or is transported.
DCF 202.02(7m) (7m) “ Fit and qualified” means displaying the capacity to successfully nurture and care for children and may include consideration of any of the following:
DCF 202.02(7m)(a) (a) Results of the child care background check.
DCF 202.02(7m)(b) (b) Abuse of alcohol or drugs.
DCF 202.02(7m)(c) (c) A history of criminal, civil or other offenses, or administrative rule violations that are related to the care of children or clients or demonstrate an inability to manage the activities of a child care program.
DCF 202.02(7m)(d) (d) Exercise of unsound judgment.
DCF 202.02(7m)(e) (e) Compliance with the standards under this chapter.
DCF 202.02(8) (8)“Group child care center" means a child care center licensed under s. 48.65, Stats., and ch. DCF 251.
DCF 202.02(8m) (8m)“Hazard” means a potential source of harm, including a recalled product, that could jeopardize the health, safety, or well-being of children in care.
DCF 202.02(9) (9)“Health check provider" means a provider of health assessment and evaluation services eligible to be certified under s. DHS 105.37 (1) (a), including an outpatient hospital facility, health maintenance organization, visiting nurse association, clinic operated under a physician's supervision, local public health agency, home health agency, rural health clinic, Indian health agency and neighborhood health center.
DCF 202.02(9d) (9d) “ Household member” means a person who is age 10 or older, who resides, or is expected to reside, at a certified child care home and who is not a client of the certified child care operator.
DCF 202.02(9g) (9g)“In care” means a child care provider is responsible for the supervision, safety and developmental needs of children, on or off the premises, including during transportation provided by the certified child care operator. For purposes of this subsection, “children” includes children under 7 years of age who reside in the certified child care home.
DCF 202.02(9r) (9r)“Inclement weather" means stormy or severe weather, including any of the following:
DCF 202.02(9r)(a) (a) Heavy rain.
DCF 202.02(9r)(b) (b) Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
DCF 202.02(9r)(c) (c) Wind chills of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below for children age 2 and above.
DCF 202.02(9r)(d) (d) Wind chills of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below for children under age 2.
DCF 202.02(10) (10)“Infant" means a child under one year of age.
DCF 202.02(11) (11)“In-home provider” means a person caring for a child in the child's own home when the conditions in s. DCF 201.039 (5) are met.
DCF 202.02(12) (12)“Licensed physician" means a physician licensed under ch. 448, Stats.
DCF 202.02(12m) (12m)“Operator's own children" means a certified family child care operator's natural, adopted, step, and foster children, and any children who reside in the operator's home.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.