Alert! This chapter may be affected by an emergency rule:
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.
DCF 202.02(13) (13)“Parent” means a “parent,” as defined under s. 48.02 (13), Stats., or a “guardian,” as defined under s. 48.02 (8), Stats.
DCF 202.02 Note Note: Section 49.155 (1) (c), Stats., provides: “Notwithstanding s. 49.141 (1) (j), `parent' means a custodial parent, foster parent, treatment foster parent, legal custodian or person acting in place of a parent."
DCF 202.02(14) (14)“Physician assistant" means a health care professional certified under s. 448.04 (1) (f), Stats., and ch. Med 8.
DCF 202.02(15) (15)“Premises" means the tract of land on which the home used for child care is located, including all buildings and structures on that land.
DCF 202.02(18) (18)“Related to the provider" means the provider's natural or adopted children, foster children, stepchildren, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, first cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts.
DCF 202.02(19) (19)“School-age child" means a child 5 years of age or older who is enrolled in a public school or a parochial or other private school.
DCF 202.02(20c) (20c)“Shaken baby syndrome” or “SBS” means a severe form of brain injury that occurs when an infant or young child is shaken forcibly enough to cause the brain to rebound against his or her skull.
DCF 202.02(20g) (20g)“Substitute” means a provider who replaces the certified child care operator or other provider on an infrequent, pre-arranged, or planned basis.
DCF 202.02(20n) (20n)“Sudden infant death syndrome” or “SIDS” means the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history.
DCF 202.02(20r) (20r)“Supervision” means guidance of the behavior and activities of children for their health, safety, and well-being by a provider who is within sight or sound of the children, except as specified in s. DCF 202.08 (2) (e) 6. and 7.
DCF 202.02(20w) (20w)“Suspension” means a temporary interruption in regulatory approval.
DCF 202.02(21) (21)“Tribe” means a Wisconsin American Indian tribe recognized by the federal government.
DCF 202.02(21m) (21m) “Universal precautions” means measures taken to prevent transmission of infection from contact with blood or other potentially infectious material, as recommended by the U.S. public health service's centers for disease control and adopted by the U.S. occupational safety and health administration as 29 CFR 1910.1030.
DCF 202.02 Note Note: “Standard precautions” for infection control measures incorporate universal precautions. Information on the OSHA requirements related to standard or universal precautions is available on the OSHA website at
DCF 202.02(22) (22)“Volunteer” means a person who is not paid but who agrees to give time, with or without reimbursement for expenses, to transport children in care or to work in a certified child care home.
DCF 202.02(23) (23) “ Wading pool” means a shallow pool, with sides of 15 inches or less in height, capable of being dumped to change water, and used primarily for small children.
DCF 202.02 History History: Cr. Register, August, 1985, No. 356, eff. 9-1-85; r. and recr. Register, December, 1991, No. 432, eff. 1-1-92; emerg. r. and recr. eff. 7-1-96; r. and recr., Register, February, 1997, No. 494, eff. 3-1-97; renum. from HFS 55.56; r. and recr. (1) and am. (4) and (22), Register, July, 1999, No. 523, eff. 8-1-99; correction in (6) and (13) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, July, 1999, No. 523; CR 02-007: am. (1) and (4), cr. (3m) and (4m) Register May 2002 No. 557, eff. 6-1-02; CR 07-071: cr. (1m), (3b), (3e), (3k), (5g), (5r), (8m), (9c), (9g), (9r), (12m), (20c) to (20w), r. and recr. (2), (15) and (22), am. (3), (6) and (8), renum. (4m) and (20) to be (3h) and (3f) and am., r. (7) and (17) Register May 2008 No. 629, eff. 6-1-08; corrections in (1m), (2), (3m), (5), (6), (8), (9) and (20r) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635; 2015 Wis. Act 132: r. (1), cr. (1s), am. (2), (3h), r. (4), am. 14 Register February 2016 No. 722, eff. 3-1-16; correction in (1m) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register September 2016 No. 729; EmR1918: emerg. cr. (1), r. (1m), am. (2), (3), (3b), (3e), r. (3f), cr. (cg), am. (3h), (3k), cr. (3L), am. (3m), cr. (4), (5c), am. (5g), cr. (5m), (7), (7m), am. (8m), r. (9c), cr. (9d), am. (9g), (11), r. and recr. (13), r. (16), am. (19), (20c), (20g), (20n), (20r), (20w), (21), cr. (21m), am. (22), cr. (23), eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089: cr. (1), r. (1m), am. (2), (3), (3b), (3e), r. (3f), cr. (cg), am. (3h), (3k), cr. (3L), am. (3m), cr. (4), (5c), am. (5g), cr. (5m), (7), (7m), am. (8m), r. (9c), cr. (9d), am. (9g), (11), r. and recr. (13), r. (16), am. (19), (20c), (20g), (20n), (20r), (20w), (21), cr. (21m), am. (22), cr. (23) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20 except (3), eff. 4-1-20 and 10-1-21; correction in (9g) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register March 2020 No. 771.
DCF 202.04 DCF 202.04Certification.
DCF 202.04(1)(1)B ASIS FOR CERTIFICATION. In order to be certified, a child care operator shall meet all of the following conditions:
DCF 202.04(1)(a) (a) The operator is exempt from the licensure requirement under s. 48.65, Stats.
DCF 202.04(1)(b) (b) There is no child care center licensed under ch. DCF 250 on the premises where the certified child care operator cares, or will care, for children.
DCF 202.04(1)(c) (c) The operator complies with the standards in this chapter.
DCF 202.04(2) (2)Types of certified operators. A certified child care operator may be certified as a certified family child care operator or a certified in–home child care operator. Certified family child care operators and certified in–home child care operators are required to meet the standards under this chapter and may care for infant, toddler, preschool, or school–age children consistent with s. DCF 202.08 (6).
DCF 202.04(3) (3)Certification administration.
DCF 202.04(3)(a) (a) The certification agency that is responsible for certifying an operator shall be determined by the geographic area in which the child care is provided.
DCF 202.04(3)(b) (b) A certification agency shall do all of the following:
DCF 202.04(3)(b)1. 1. Ensure that each new child care certification worker completes the department-approved new certification worker training during the first 6 months of employment.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)2. 2. Maintain certification records demonstrating agency, applicant, and operator compliance with requirements under this chapter. Certification applicant and operator records shall be retained for 6 years after the closure of a certified child care program, an application denial, an application withdrawal, or a final appeal decision denying an application.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)3. 3. Provide to prospective applicants prior to initial certification a copy of the applicable requirements of this chapter and information on child care certification, including information on all of the following:
DCF 202.04(3)(b)3.a. a. Preservice training requirements.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)3.b. b. Reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)3.c. c. Preventing shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)3.d. d. Child development, positive child guidance, and health and safety, including first-aid and nutrition.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)3.e. e. The child care subsidy program.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)3.f. f. The child care quality rating and improvement system.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)4.a.a. Require an applicant for certification to submit a completed background check request form and to receive a final determination of eligibility prior to initial certification.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)4.b. b. If an applicant is applying to be a certified family child care operator, require household members 10 years of age and older to submit a completed background check request form and to receive final determinations of eligibility prior to initial certification.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)5. 5. Require any potential household member of a certified family child care operator 10 years of age or older, and any potential provider, substitute, or employee to submit a completed background check request form and receive from the department a preliminary eligibility determination under s. 48.686 (4p), Stats., prior to residency, supervised employment, or volunteer work commencing.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)6. 6. When a current household member of a certified family child care operator turns 10 years of age, require the operator to submit a completed background check request form to the certification agency by the agency's next business day.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)7. 7. Follow the requirements for conducting child care background checks under s. 48.686, Stats., and ch. DCF 13.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)8. 8. Request a statement from the appropriate regulating agency indicating the regulating agency approves a child care business in the applicant's home if the applicant has a separate license or certification to care for children or adults, including foster care or adult care.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)9. 9. Conduct an on–site inspection of the premises where child care will be provided or is provided, including areas not used for child care, at all of the following times:
DCF 202.04(3)(b)9.a. a. Prior to initial certification.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)9.b. b. Not less than annually.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)9.c. c. Upon receiving an application for recertification.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)9.d. d. Upon receiving an application for a new location.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)10. 10. Conduct the annual inspection of all certified child care operators under subd. 9. b. as specified by the department to monitor for health and safety standards. The inspection of certified family child care operators shall be unannounced and during hours of operation. The inspection of certified in-home child care operators may be announced and does not have to be during hours of operation.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)11. 11. After initial certification is granted, document monitoring results in the manner prescribed by the department and issue a compliance statement or a noncompliance statement.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)12. 12. Do all of the following, if the operator provides transportation services:
DCF 202.04(3)(b)12.a. a. Inspect a child vehicle safety alarm, at least annually, to determine whether the child safety alarm is in good working order as required under s. DCF 202.08 (9) (p) to (s).
DCF 202.04(3)(b)12.b. b. Review the driving record of each driver of a vehicle used to transport children in care to ensure the driver has no accidents or traffic violations that would indicate that having children ride with the driver could pose a threat to the children. In determining whether a driver may pose a threat to children, the certification agency shall consider the totality of the driver's record and any other relevant facts under s. DCF 202.08 (9) (f).
DCF 202.04 Note Note: Information on how to obtain driving records may be obtained by contacting the Department of Transportation at (608) 261-2566 or
DCF 202.04(3)(b)13. 13. Refuse to approve more than one certified family child care operator for each residence.
DCF 202.04(3)(b)14. 14. No later than the next business day, document in a manner prescribed by the department any reports of the death of a child in care, or any accident or incident that results in an injury to a child in care that requires professional medical evaluation.
DCF 202.04(3)(c) (c) A certification agency may do any of the following:
DCF 202.04(3)(c)1. 1. Conduct additional on–site inspections to monitor compliance with certification standards, in addition to the required inspections under par. (b) 9.
DCF 202.04(3)(c)2. 2. Require an applicant for certification to submit references at initial certification.
DCF 202.04(3)(c)3. 3. Require an evaluation and written statement by a physician or licensed mental health professional of any person associated with the care of children or any household member if the certification agency has any reason to believe that the person's physical or mental health may endanger children in care. The certification agency shall document the reason it believes the person's physical or mental health may endanger children in care.
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.