Any other topic that promotes child development or protects children's health or safety.
Independent reading, viewing educational materials, internet searches, or web-based training that does not result in a certificate of completion may be counted for up to 5 hours of continuing education per year for each person required under subd. 1.
to have 25 hours of continuing education, and up to 2.5 hours of continuing education per year for each person required under subd. 2.
to have 15 hours of continuing education.
Each administrator, center director, and child care worker shall have documentation of the 12-month period included in his or her training year for meeting continuing education requirements and begin a new training year in the same month each year.
DCF 251.05 Note
The licensee may use either the department's form, Staff Continuing Education Record - Child Care Centers
, or the licensee's own form to document the completion of continuing education. Forms are available on the department's website at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/cclicensing/ccformspubs
DCF 251.05 History
Cr. Register, January, 1997, No. 493
, eff. 8-1-97; reprinted to correct error in Table, Register, February, 1997, No. 494
; reprinted to correct error in Table, Register, March, 1997, No. 495
; CR 03-052
: r. and recr. (title), (1) (a), (1) (j) 3., (2) (c) 3. to 7., am. (1) (b) 3. b., (c) 5. (intro.), Table 46.05-A, (6) (intro.), Table 46.05-B, (d) 3., Table 46.05-C, (2) (a) (intro.), 3., 6., 8., 11., (4) (e) (intro.) and 1., r. (1) (c) 5. a. to i. and 6. a. to f., (1) (d) 3. a. to i., renum. (1) (j) 4. to be 5., cr. (1) (j) 4. a. and b., (2) (a) 12., (2) (c) 8. to 10., (3) (g) Register December 2004 No. 588
, eff. 3-1-05; corrections in (1) (j) 1. a., 3., (2) (a) 2. and 3. made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7.
, Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
; CR 07-102
: r. and recr. (1), am. (2) (a), 9., (3) (b), (c), (f), (4) (d), (j) and Table D, cr. (2) (a) 13., 14., (3) (h) and (i), r. (2) (c) 6. and 10. Register December 2008 No. 636
, eff. 1-1-09; renumbering in (1) (e) 4. and corrections in (1) (e) 4. d., 5. d., (L) 3., (4) (j) and Table D made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1.
, Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
: emerg. r. and recr., eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089
: r. and recr. Register March 2020 No. 771
, eff. 4-1-20; correction in (4) (a) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7.
, Stats., and correction in (2) (a) 3. b., (4) (c) 7. d. made under s. 35.17
, Stats., Register March 2020 No. 771
; CR 20-003
: am. (2) (a) 3. a. Register July 2020 No. 775
, eff. 8-1-20.
DCF 251.055 Supervision and grouping of children. DCF 251.055(1)(a)(a)
Each child shall be supervised by a child care worker who is within the sight and sound of the children to guide the children's behavior and activities, prevent harm, and ensure safety.
At least one child care teacher shall supervise each group of children.
Assistant child care teachers who are at least 18 years of age and have completed the training required for the position may provide sole supervision to a group of children in full-day centers for opening and closing hours, not to exceed the first 2 hours and the last 2 hours of center operation, and during the center's designated naptime, not to exceed 2 hours.
A child care worker may not provide care for children at the center for more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period.
A child may not be in care for more than 14 hours in any 24-hour period.
The center shall implement and adhere to a procedure to ensure that the number, names, and whereabouts of children in care are known to assigned child care workers at all times.
A child may not be released to any person who has not been previously authorized by the parent.
The center shall implement a procedure to contact a parent if a child is absent from the center without prior notification from the parent.
No person under 18 years of age shall be left in sole charge of a child.
No licensee, employee, volunteer, or other individual in contact with children may consume alcoholic beverages or any non-prescribed controlled substance specified in ch. 961
, Stats., on the premises of the center or be under the influence of any alcohol or non-prescribed controlled substance, during the hours of the center's operation.
The maximum number of children in a group may not exceed the number specified in Table 251.055.
The ratio of child care workers to children may not be less than the minimum number of child care workers to children specified in Table 251.055.
- See PDF for table
When there is a mixed-age group, the required staff-to-child ratios in Table 251.055 shall be adjusted on a pro rata basis in accordance with the ages of the children in the group.
DCF 251.055 Note
The licensee may use the department's form, Child Care Staff-To-Child Ratio Worksheet - Group Child Care Centers
, to adjust the staff-to-child ratio. Forms are available on the department's website at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/cclicensing/ccformspubs
When infants and toddlers are part of a mixed-age group, the size of the group may not exceed 8.
When the group of children is a mixed age group of children 2 years and older, the group size shall be determined by the number of children that can be cared for by 2 child care workers with the required staff-to-child ratios in Table 251.055 adjusted on a pro rata basis in accordance with the ages of the children in the group.
Maximum group size does not apply to field trips, outdoor play areas, and areas of the center reserved exclusively for eating. Staff-to-child ratios shall be maintained in those settings.
During naptime, an adjustment in group size and staff-to-child ratios in Table 251.055 may be made as follows:
One child care worker shall be within sight or sound of each group of sleeping children.
As children wake, sight and sound supervision and staff-to-child ratios in Table 251.055 shall be maintained for awake children.
When 8 or fewer children are present in a center, there shall be a second adult available to come to the center within 5 minutes for emergencies. The center shall maintain a signed and dated statement from that person, including an address and telephone number, certifying that the person is available and agrees to serve if needed.
In a center with 9 or more children present, there shall be at least 2 adults available in the center at all times. At least one of the adults shall be a child care worker directly involved in the supervision and care of the children.
When 9 or more children are on a field trip there shall be at least 2 child care workers accompanying the children and the staff-to-child ratios in Table DCF 251.055 shall be maintained. At least one of the child care workers shall be a child care teacher.
Support staff, such as clerical, housekeeping, and food service staff, may only be considered in determining whether the required staff-to-child ratios are met at any of the following times:
During those hours when they give full attention to the care and supervision of children if they meet the qualifications of a child care worker.
Child care workers shall be free of non-classroom duties when they are counted in meeting the staff-to-child ratios.
Children of staff who attend the center and who are on the premises for supervision and care shall be included in determining group size and staff-to-child ratios.
DCF 251.055 History
: emerg. cr., eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089
: cr. Register March 2020 No. 771
, eff. 4-1-20.
DCF 251.06 Physical plant and equipment. DCF 251.06(1)(a)(a)
The building in which a center is located shall comply with applicable state and local building codes. The licensee shall maintain a building inspection report that specifies that the building meets the applicable Wisconsin commercial building codes for use as a group child care center.
DCF 251.06 Note
Inspections can be obtained from a commercial building inspector certified by the Department of Safety and Professional Services in accordance with ch. SPS 305
, “Licenses, Certifications, and Registration," or a Wisconsin architect registered in accordance with chapter A-E 3, Architect Registration, or a Wisconsin engineer registered in accordance with chapter A-E 4, Professional Engineer Registration.
DCF 251.06 Note
Note: Local authorities should be consulted to obtain any required zoning clearances or building permits.
If a group child care center cares for children 30 months of age or less, an applicant or licensee shall obtain a building inspection report that designates areas of the center that are approved for children 30 month of age or less when a center is inspected after September 29, 2019, due to any of the following:
Remodeling or modifications at an existing center that requires an inspection under Wisconsin commercial building codes or local ordinances.
Space designated for use by children may only be used by children and staff and may not be used for other purposes while the center is open.
If the inside temperature exceeds 80°
F., the licensee shall provide for air circulation with fans, with air conditioning, or by other means.
The indoor and outdoor premises shall be free of hazards including any recalled products.
Steam radiators, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, electric fans, electric outlets, electrical heating units and hot surfaces, such as pipes, shall be protected by screens or guards so that children cannot touch them.
Firearms, ammunition and other potentially dangerous items may not be kept on the premises.
Materials harmful to children, including power tools, flammable, or combustible materials, insecticides, matches, drugs, cleaning supplies, bleaches, and other hazardous, toxic, or poisonous articles shall be appropriately labeled and stored in areas inaccessible to children.
A motor vehicle shall be immediately available at the center at all times in case of an emergency if a public or private rescue or emergency vehicle cannot arrive at the center within 10 minutes of a phone call.
The center shall have a working telephone or access to a working telephone on the premises during hours of operation, with a list of emergency telephone numbers, including telephone numbers for the local fire department, police department, or other law enforcement agency, poison control center, and emergency medical service in a location known to all providers. In this paragraph, “telephone” does not include a pay telephone requiring payment to reach the operator or a telephone in a locked room.
Stairs, walks, ramps and porches shall be maintained in a safe condition and free from the accumulation of water, ice or snow.
The premises shall be well drained, free from litter, clean, and in good repair. The premises shall be maintained to prevent the entrance or harborage of vermin.
Smoking is prohibited on the premises of the center or in a vehicle used to transport children when the children are in care.
DCF 251.06 Note
See s. DCF 251.03 (25)
for the definition of premises.
There shall be no flaking or deteriorating paint on exterior or interior surfaces in areas accessible to children.
No lead-based paint or other toxic finishing material may be used on indoor or outdoor furnishings and equipment.
Children may not be allowed in an area where power tools are in use.
A hot tub located in a room or area accessible to children shall have a visible, locked, rigid cover or be enclosed by a locked fence at least 4 feet tall. The lock shall be installed so that the lock is inaccessible to children.
If a hot tub is located in a room or area not intended for use by children, access to the room or area shall be controlled through the use of a visibly locked door. The lock shall be installed so that the lock is inaccessible to children.
Cleaning aids such as mops and brooms shall be clean. Buckets used with mops shall be emptied and stored in areas inaccessible to children.
Garbage containers in the building shall be rigid, covered, watertight, and emptied daily or more often as needed. Compactors need not be emptied daily. Garbage and refuse stored out of doors shall be kept in leak-proof containers equipped with tight-fitting covers and shall be disposed of as necessary to prevent decomposition or overflow.
Windows and doors that are used for ventilation shall be screened.
Each center shall have a written plan for taking appropriate action in the event of an emergency, including fire, tornado, or flood; extreme heat or cold; loss of building services, including heat, water, electricity, or telephone; human-caused events, such as threats to the building or its occupants; allergic reactions; lost or missing children; vehicle accidents; or other circumstances requiring immediate attention. The plan shall include procedures for all of the following:
Ensuring the needs of children under 2 years of age and children with disabilities are met.
Connecting children with their parents if the center is required to evacuate the building.
Practice the fire evacuation plan monthly, and tornado drills monthly from April through October.
Ensure that all staff members know what their duties are if there is an emergency.
Keep a written record of dates and times all fire and tornado drills practiced.
DCF 251.06 Note
The licensee may use the department's form Safety and Emergency Response Documentation - Group Child Care Centers
, to document the results of the monthly testing of fire alarms and smoke detectors. Forms are available on the department's website, http://dcf.wisconsin.gov
, or from any regional licensing office in Appendix A.
Each fire extinguisher on the premises of a center shall be operable at all times, inspected once a year by a qualified person and bear a label indicating its present condition and date of the last inspection.
All staff members shall be instructed in and knowledgeable about the use of the fire extinguishers.
Exits and exit passageways shall have a minimum clear width of 3 feet and be unobstructed by furniture or other objects.
An extension cord may not be used permanently with an appliance.