Legal Child Care

Young girlWhat is Legal Child Care?

When you as a parent entrust the care of your child to another, you are making an important decision. Therefore, take your time before you choose a program to make sure it is legal care. Here are some things you should know:

Chapter DCF 250 and 251 are the administrative codes governing Group Child Care Centers and Family Child Care Centers in Wisconsin.

Section 48.65, Wisconsin Statutes requires that persons operating child care centers, that provide care and supervision for 4 or more children under 7 years of age for less than 24 hours a day, be licensed.

The law applies when:

  • There are 4 or more children at any one time.
  • The children are under the age of seven.
  • Care is outside of the child’s own home.
  • The caregiver is a non-relative and non-guardian.
  • The child care is for compensation.
  • The parents are off the premises.
  • The child care is less than 24 hours a day.

The law does not apply when:

  • Child care is sponsored by a public, private, or parochial school.
  • The caregiver is a close relative or guardian.
  • The care is given in the child’s home.
  • The parents are on the premises for shopping, recreation, or other non-work activity.
  • Supervision is for activities such as dancing, music, religious education class, scouts, etc.
  • Care is seasonal program for ten days or less in any three month period.

Visit the Department of Children and Families for more information on licensing:

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