“Hazard" means a potential source of harm that can jeopardize the health, safety or well-being of children in care.
“In care” means enrolled in the center, with the center providing supervision, either on or off the premises, including during center-provided transportation, for the safety and the developmental needs of the child or children.
“Inclement weather" means stormy or severe weather such as any of the following:
Wind chills of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below for children age 2 and above.
Wind chills of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below for children under age 2.
“Institution of higher education" means an educational institution which meets all of the following criteria except, in the case of a business school or technical institution, par. (c)
Admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate;
Is legally authorized to provide a program of education beyond secondary education;
Provides an education program for which it awards a bachelor's degree or provides not less than a 2-year program which is acceptable for full credit toward that degree; and
Is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association or, if not accredited, is an institution whose credits are accepted, on transfer, by not less than 3 institutions which are accredited, for credit on the same basis as if transferred from an institution that is accredited.
“Licensed hours” means the authorized hours specified on the license certificate and letter of transmittal within which the center may provide child care services.
“Licensee” means the corporation, individual, partnership, limited liability company, or non-incorporated association or cooperative that has legal and financial responsibility for the operation of a child care center and for meeting the requirements of this chapter.
“Licensing representative" means a department employee responsible for licensing group child care centers.
“Night care” means any care that is offered by a licensed group child care center between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
“Parent cooperative" means a center organized by parents for their preschool children in which the parents have decision-making authority to establish and change policy, program and personnel practices.
“Parochial or private school" means an educational program which meets all the criteria specified under s. 118.165 (1)
, Stats., or as determined by the superintendent of public instruction under s. 118.167
“Part day center" means a center where a defined group of children attend for a specified period of time that is less than 5 consecutive hours in length.
“Physical Restraint" means the use of physical force to restrict the free movement of all or part of a child's body.
“Premises" means the tract of land on which a center is located, including all buildings and structures on that land.
“Regularly assigned child care worker” means a child care worker who is assigned to a specific group of children in a self-contained room or area.
“Representative of the department" means a department employee or a representative from an agency the department contracts with to provide pre-licensing services.
“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.
“Self-contained room or area" means a room separated by permanent walls or an area separated by permanent or portable partitions or dividers acting as a visual barrier for children which is reserved for a group of children and contains the indoor equipment and furnishings required for that group.
“Shaken baby syndrome" or “SBS" means a severe form of brain injury that occurs when an infant or young child is shaken or thrown forcibly enough to cause the brain to rebound against his or her skull.
“Sleeping bag" means a padded fabric bag that is closed or capable of being closed on three sides.
“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.
“Supervision of children" means guidance of the behavior and activities of children for their health, safety and well-being by child care workers who are within sight and sound of the children.
“Supervision of staff" means guidance of the behavior and activities of center employees which may include provision of instructions to carry out activities for limited periods of time out of sight or hearing of the supervisor.
“Toddler" means a child at least one year of age but less than 2 years of age.
“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 services centers for disease control and adopted by the U.S. occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) as 29 CFR 1910.1030
DCF 251.03 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 web site at http://www.osha.gov
. Information is also available from the Child Care Information Center, 1-800-362-7353.
“Volunteer" means a person who is not paid, but agrees to give time, with or without reimbursement for expenses, to transport children attending a group child care center or to work in a group child care center.
“Wading pool" means a shallow pool, with sides 15 inches or less in height, capable of being dumped to change water and used primarily for small children.
DCF 251.03 History
Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493
, eff. 8-1-97; correction in (22) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats.; CR 03-052
: am. (1), (3), (6), (13), (17), (18), (19), (33) and (34), cr. (3m), (4m), (8m), (10m), (11g), (11r), (14g), (14r), (18m), (22g), (22r), (26m), (29m) and (35), r. (7) Register December 2004 No. 588
, eff. 3-1-05; corrections in (2), (3m), (4), (5), (9), (10), (11g) (b), (14) and (18m) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
; CR 07-102
: cr. (4g), (8r), (11g) (d), (13m), (28m) and (29g), am. (11), (11g) (intro.), (14r) (b) to (d) and (34) Register December 2008 No. 636
, eff. 1-1-09; correction in (29g) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register December 2008 No. 636
; 2015 Wis. Act 132
: am. (2), (4), (5) Register February 2016 No. 722
, eff. 3-1-16; corrections in (2) and (11g) (b) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register September 2016 No. 729
: emerg. am. (2), cr. (2m), r. (3m), am. (4), cr. (4r), am. (5), cr. (10g), r. and recr. (10m), am. (11g) (b), (14g), cr. (16m), am. (17), r. (18m), am. (19), (26), (29g), eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089
: am. (2), cr. (2m), r. (3m), am. (4), cr. (4r), am. (5), cr. (10g), r. and recr. (10m), am. (11g) (b), (14g), cr. (16m), am. (17), r. (18m), am. (19), (26), (29g) Register March 2020 No. 771
, eff. 4-1-20; CR 20-003
: renum. (14) to (10s) and am. Register July 2020 No. 775
, eff. 8-1-20.
The number of children at a group child care center at any one time may not exceed the number for which the center is licensed.
The age of children served by a center may not be younger or older than the age range specified in the license.
The hours, days and months of a center's operation may not exceed those specified in the license.
A group child care center licensee shall do all of the following:
Comply with all laws governing the facility and its operation.
DCF 251.04 Note
Under the state public accommodation law s. 106.52 (3)
, Stats., federal law related to use of federal funding, and some local anti-discrimination ordinances, denying admission on the basis of race, disability, religion, or certain other characteristics may be illegal.
Ensure that all information provided to the department is current and accurate.
If residing in another state, designate in writing, as part of the application under s. DCF 251.11 (2)
, a Wisconsin resident who is responsible on behalf of the licensee for ensuring compliance with all requirements of this chapter.
Meet, upon request of the department, with a licensing representative on matters pertaining to the license.
Prior to receiving or continuing a license, complete all application forms and pay all fees and forfeitures due to the department.
Submit to the department a certificate of insurance that meets the following conditions:
The certificate of insurance shall have coverage dates for all of the following types of insurance:
General liability insurance with limits of not less than $25,000 for each person and not less than $75,000 for each occurrence.
Vehicle liability insurance with minimums not less than the amounts specified under s. 121.53
, Stats., if transportation is provided by the center.
Vehicle liability insurance for non-owned vehicles with minimums not less than the amounts specified under s. 121.53
, Stats., if transportation is provided in vehicles that are not owned by the center and are not public transportation vehicles or chartered vehicles.
The certificate of insurance shall indicate that pets are included in the liability coverage if cats or dogs are permitted in areas of the center accessible to children during the hours of operation.
Develop, submit to the department, and implement written policies consistent with the requirements of this chapter on all of the following subjects:
Personnel, including job descriptions, hours of work, lunch and break times, holidays, vacations, sick leaves, leaves of absence, probationary periods, performance evaluations, grievance procedures and the disciplinary process. The personnel policy shall contain a procedure that requires staff to notify the licensee
and the licensee to notify the department as soon as possible but no later than the next business day when any of the following occurs:
The employee has been or is being investigated by any governmental agency for any other act, offense, or omission, including an investigation related to the abuse or neglect or threat of abuse or neglect, to a child or other client, or an investigation related to misappropriation of a client's property.
The employee has a substantiated governmental finding against them for abuse or neglect of a child or adult or for misappropriation of a client's property.
When a professional license held by an employee has been denied, revoked, restricted or otherwise limited.
Health care. If the center is licensed to care for children under one year of age, the policies shall include procedures to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Child guidance, including appropriate ways to manage crying, fussing, or distraught children.
Emergency plans to be followed in the event of a fire, tornado, missing child, or other emergency.
Transportation, if the center will transport children either on field trips or on a regular schedule. The policy shall include a procedure to ensure that no child is left unattended in a vehicle.
Ensure that all published statements such as brochures and publicity releases are accurate.
Post the child care license near the entrance or in some other conspicuous area of the center that is visible to the public.
The current licensing statement of compliance or a noncompliance statement and correction plan, including any rule violations the department has not verified as corrected and in compliance.
Any notice from the department regarding rule violations, such as a warning letter or enforcement action.
Any stipulations, conditions, temporary closures, exceptions, or exemptions that affect the license.
All items posted as required under this paragraph posted shall be visible to parents.
Ensure that any action, by commission or omission, or any condition or occurrence relating to the operation or maintenance of the child care center does not adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of any child under the care of the licensee.
Submit to the department by the department's next business day a completed background check request form if any of the following occurs: