Your summary of the child care rules
A WORD ON WISCONSIN CHILD CARE REGULATIONS
Anyone providing care and supervision for 4 or more children under age 7 years for less than 24 hours a day must be licensed by the
Department of Children and Families. Exceptions to this rule are:
- A parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, stepparent, brother, sister, first cousin, nephew, niece, uncle, or aunt of a child, whether by blood, marriage, or legal adoption, who provides care and supervision for the child.
- Public and parochial schools.
- Care provided in the home of the child’s parent for less than 24 hours per day.
- Counties, cities, towns, school districts, and libraries that provide programs for children primarily intended for social or recreational purposes.
- A program that operates not more than 4 hours per week.
- Group lessons to develop a talent or skill such as dance or music, social group meetings and activities, group athletics.
- A program where the parents are on the premises and are engaged in shopping, recreation, or other non-work activities.
- Seasonal programs of ten days or less duration in any 3-month period, including day camps, vacation bible school, and holiday child care programs.
- Emergency situations.
- Care and supervision for no more than 3 hours a day while the parent is employed on the premises.
- A program provided where the child of a recipient of temporary assistance to needy families, or Wisconsin works, is involved in orientation enrollment or initial assessment or where parents are provided training or counseling.
Regulations set standards for adequate child care, but they cannot guarantee quality care. That is why parent involvement is so crucial.
TYPES OF REGULATED CHILD CARE PROGRAMS
Licensed Family Child Care Centers
A program regulated under DCF 250 where a person provides care and supervision for less than 24 hours per day to between 4 and 8
children under 7 years of age.
Age groups may be mixed according to the following combinations. Additional allowed school-aged children in care for 3 or fewer hours
per day are shown in parentheses.
|Children Under Age 2||Children Age 2 and Older||School Age Children||Maximum Group Size|
Licensed Group Child Care Centers
A program regulated under DCF 251 where a person for less than 24 hours per day provides care and supervision for 9 or more
|Age of Children||Staff-To-Child Ratio*||Maximum Group Size|
|Birth to 2 yrs||1:4 or .25||8|
|2 yrs to 2½ yrs||1:6 or .167||12|
|2½ yrs to 3 yrs||1:8 or .125||16|
|3 yrs||1:10 or .10||20|
|4 yrs||1:13 or .077||24|
|5 yrs||1:17 or .059||34|
|6 yrs and over||1:18 or .056||36|
*These ratios are adjusted for mixed age groups
Licensed Day Camps for Children
A program regulated under DCF 252 that provides care and supervision to 4 or more children, 3 years of age and older, in a seasonal program oriented to the out-of-doors for periods less than 24 hours per day.
Certified Family Child Care
A program regulated under DCF 202 where a person provides care and supervision for less than 24 hours per day for no more than 3
children under age 7 with a maximum group size of 6, including the provider’s own children under age 7.
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, CONCERNS, OR COMPLAINTS
First, talk to your child’s caregiver and try to work out your differences. If those attempts fail, and you feel the caregiver is violating a state licensing regulation, contact the appropriate regional office. See https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/cclicensing/contacts or call 1-800-362-7353 for licensing contact information. If you feel the caregiver is violating certification rules, contact the appropriate certifying agency.
See https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/files/ccregulation/cccertification/certifiers.pdf or call 1-800-362-7353 for certification contact information.