“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:
A corporation or limited liability company designates a new person to be subject to the background check.
A household member turns 18 years of age, unless the household member has previously submitted a background check request form.
Submit to the department a completed background check request form for each potential household member prior to the date on which the person becomes a household member, unless the person is less than 10 years of age.
DCF 251.04 Note
The Background Check Request
form is available electronically through the Child Care Provider Portal or at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/forms
. A paper version is available from any regional licensing office listed in Appendix A.
Submit a current delegation of administrative authority signed by the licensee that outlines the organizational structure and designates, in a chain of command form, those persons on the premises in charge of the center for all hours of operation.
The licensee shall report to the department all of the following. If the report is made by telephone, the licensee shall submit a written report to the appropriate regional licensing office within 5 business days of the incident. Fax, e-mail, and letter are acceptable ways of filing a written report:
Any incident or accident that occurs while the child is in the care of the center that results in professional medical evaluation, within 24 hours of the licensee becoming aware of the medical evaluation.
DCF 251.04 Note
The licensee may use either the department's form,
Incident Report - Child Care Centers
, or the licensee's own form to report incidents or accidents. The form is available on the department's website at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/cclicensing/ccformspubs
Any death of a child in care, within 24 hours after the death.
DCF 251.04 Note
The licensee may use either the department's form, Incident Report - Child Care Centers
, or the licensee's own form to report the death of a child in care. The department's form is available at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/cclicensing/ccformspubs
Any injury caused by an animal to a child in care, within 24 hours after the incident.
Any damage to the premises that may affect compliance with this chapter, or any incident at the premises that results in the loss of utility services, within 24 hours after the occurrence.
A change in the administrator or center director of a child care center, within 30 days after the change.
A change of any program service, at least 5 days prior to the change.
Statistical data required by the department on forms provided by the department.
If requested by the department, a plan of correction for cited violations of this chapter or ch. 48
, Stats., in a format specified by the department. The department shall receive the plan of correction by the date the department specifies and be approved by the department licensing representative.
DCF 251.04 Note
Note: The licensing representative will notify the licensee if a plan of correction is required and provide the plan of correction format with the notification.
Any known convictions, pending charges or other offenses of the licensee, child care center employees or other person subject to a caregiver background check which could potentially relate to the care of children at the center or activities of the center by the department's next business day.
Any change in room usage, such as changing the way rooms are primarily used by children or using rooms not previously approved for use at least 20 working days prior to the change. Changes in room usage shall be approved by the department prior to the change.
Any incident related to a child who leaves the premises of the center without the knowledge of the provider or any incident that results in a provider not knowing the whereabouts of a child in attendance at the center within 24 hours of the occurrence.
Any suspected abuse or neglect of a child by an employee or volunteer that was reported under s. DCF 251.04 (8)
, including any incident that results in a child being forcefully shaken or thrown against a surface, hard or soft, during the child's hours of attendance, within 24 hours after the occurrence.
Any incident involving law enforcement within 24 hours after the occurrence that:
Involves a licensee, a household resident or an employee of the center in an incident that causes, or threatens to cause, physical or serious emotional harm to an individual, including a child in the care of the center.
Involves any traffic-related incident where a person responsible for the violation transports children in the care of the center.
Any construction or remodeling on the premises that has the potential to affect an area accessible to children or a condition of the license. Notification shall be provided in writing before the construction or remodeling begins.
DCF 251.04 Note
See s. DCF 251.11 (5) (a)
for items that affect a condition of the license.
DCF 251.04 Note
Note: Alterations, additions, or changes of use to commercial buildings may require submittal of plans to and approval by the Department of Safety and Professional Services or its agent before commencing construction. It is recommended that an architect or engineer be consulted prior to the beginning of any construction or remodeling to determine whether plans must be submitted.
Any confirmed case of a communicable disease reportable under ch. DHS 145
in a child enrolled at the center or a person in contact with children at the center, within 24 hours after the center is notified of the diagnosis. The licensee shall also notify the local health department within 24 hours after the center is notified of the diagnosis.
Any change in meal preparation arrangements, at least 5 calendar days before the change. Centers adding meal preparation after an initial license has been issued shall document compliance with building codes related to kitchens before beginning to prepare meals on the premises.
Any change in transportation services, at least 5 calendar days prior to the change.