Wisconsin Childcare
State Requirements

Worker Qualifications

Child Care Teacher: Under Wisconsin law, no person may provide care and supervision for 4 or more children under the age of 7 for less than 24 hours a day unless that person obtains a license to operate a child care center from the Department.

Must be at least 18 years old and have high school education or equivalent or certificate, credentials, or diploma from a post-secondary early childhood training program approved by the department. Must have 120 days half-time or 80 days full-time experience in direct care; or certification by the Wisconsin department of public instruction as a nursery school teacher or as an exceptional education needs teacher (or be able to show evidence of meeting the qualifications for certification); and 2 years documented credit in an institution of higher education with at least 3 credits equivalent to early childhood education or satisfactory completion of 80 hours of department-approved training in early childhood education, CDA credentials, or satisfactory completion of another department-approved competency program.

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. Exceptions to this rule are:
- A parent, grandparent, greatgrandparent, 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.

Provider /Child Ratio
Age Range Ratios for Center Based Care in Wisconsin State
  Child: Staff Ratio / Maximum Group Size
0 - 2 years (1:4) 8
2 - 2 1/2 years (1:6) 12
2 1/2 - 3 years (1:8) 16
3 years (1:10) 20
4 years (1:13) 24
5 years (1:17) 34
6 years and older (1:18) 36
Age Range Small Family Child Care Homes in Wisconsin State
Number of Children Allowed:


Maximum Number of Children to One Provider: 8
Provider's Own Children Counted: Yes, if younger than age 7
Maximum Number of Infants/Toddlers to One Provider: 4 younger than 2 years
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.

Contact Information
Child Care Licensing Agency
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
Division of Early Care and Education
Bureau of Early Care Regulation
201 E. Washington Ave.
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
Phone:  608-422-7000
Email: dcfweb@wisconsin.gov
Wisconsin Daycare Listings
Child Care Subsidy Agency
Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
Bureau of Early Childhood Education
201 East Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7972
Madison, WI 53707-7972
Phone: 608-266-3443
Head Start - State Collaboration Office
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
Madison, WI, 53707-7946
Phone: (608) 266-3390
Fax: (800) 441-4563
Child Care Food Program Administrator
Department of Public Instruction
125 South Webster Street
Post Office Box 7841
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7841
Phone: (608) 267-9123
Fax: (608) 267-0363
Child and Adult Care Food Program Information Sheet
State Resource and Referral Network Contact
Supporting Families Together Association
700 Rayovac Drive
Madison, WI 53711
Phone: (608) 443-2490
Toll Free: 800-362-7353
email: fo@supportingfamiliestogether.org
Professional Development Contact
Professional Development Initiative
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
125 South Webster Street
P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Phone: 608-266-3390
Toll Free: 800-441-4563

Child Abuse Reporting Hotline
To report suspected child abuse in Wisconsin, call the county Department of Social or Human Services or the local sheriff or police department.

For national child abuse information, call the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline (staffed 24 hours daily with professional crisis counselors): 1-800-4-A-CHILD or 1-800-2-A-CHILD (T.D.D)

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