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DCF 251.05(4)(c)6.a. a. Formal courses resulting in credits or continuing education units.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)6.b. b. Workshops, conferences, seminars, lectures, correspondence courses, and home study courses.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)6.c. c. Training offered by the child care center through the use of guest or staff trainers.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)6.d. d. Documented observation time in other early childhood programs.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)6.e. e. Web-based training that results in a certificate of completion.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7. 7. Continuing education may be in any of the following topics:
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.a. a. Prevention and control of infectious diseases.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.b. b. Medication administration.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.c. c. Prevention of and response to emergencies due to food and allergic reactions.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.d. d. Identification of and protection from hazards.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.e. e. Building and physical premises safety.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.f. f. Emergency preparedness and response planning.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.g. g. Handling and storage of hazardous materials.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.h. h. Handling and disposal of biocontaminants.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.i. i. Child growth and development.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.j. j. Caring for children with disabilities.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.k. k. Guiding children's behavior.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.L. L. Nutrition.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.m. m. Physical activity.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.n. n. Transportation safety.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.o. o. Identification and reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.p. p. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.q. q. First aid.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.r. r. Business operations.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)7.s. s. Any other topic that promotes child development or protects children's health or safety.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)8. 8. 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.
DCF 251.05(4)(c)9. 9. 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 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
DCF 251.05 History 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., 6. and 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635; EmR1918: 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 DCF 251.055Supervision and grouping of children.
DCF 251.055(1)(1)Supervision.
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.
DCF 251.055(1)(b) (b) At least one child care teacher shall supervise each group of children.
DCF 251.055(1)(c) (c) 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.
DCF 251.055(1)(d) (d) A child care worker may not provide care for children at the center for more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period.
DCF 251.055(1)(e) (e) A child may not be in care for more than 14 hours in any 24-hour period.
DCF 251.055(1)(f) (f) 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.
DCF 251.055(1)(g) (g) A child may not be released to any person who has not been previously authorized by the parent.
DCF 251.055(1)(h) (h) The center shall implement a procedure to contact a parent if a child is absent from the center without prior notification from the parent.
DCF 251.055(1)(i) (i) No person under 18 years of age shall be left in sole charge of a child.
DCF 251.055(1)(j) (j) 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.
DCF 251.055(2) (2)Grouping of children.
DCF 251.055(2)(a) (a) The maximum number of children in a group may not exceed the number specified in Table 251.055.
DCF 251.055(2)(b) (b) 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 PDF
DCF 251.055(2)(c) (c) 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 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
DCF 251.055(2)(d) (d) When infants and toddlers are part of a mixed-age group, the size of the group may not exceed 8.
DCF 251.055(2)(e) (e) 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.
DCF 251.055(2)(f) (f) 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.
DCF 251.055(2)(g) (g) During naptime, an adjustment in group size and staff-to-child ratios in Table 251.055 may be made as follows:
DCF 251.055(2)(g)1. 1. One child care worker shall be within sight or sound of each group of sleeping children.
DCF 251.055(2)(g)2. 2. Staff-to-child ratios shall be maintained in the center during naptime.
DCF 251.055(2)(g)3. 3. Maximum group size requirements do not apply to napping groups.
DCF 251.055(2)(g)4. 4. As children wake, sight and sound supervision and staff-to-child ratios in Table 251.055 shall be maintained for awake children.
DCF 251.055(2)(h) (h) 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.
DCF 251.055(2)(i) (i) 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.
DCF 251.055(2)(j) (j) 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.
DCF 251.055(2)(k) (k) 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:
DCF 251.055(2)(k)1. 1. 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.
DCF 251.055(2)(k)2. 2. During naptime when children are sleeping.
DCF 251.055(2)(L) (L) Child care workers shall be free of non-classroom duties when they are counted in meeting the staff-to-child ratios.
DCF 251.055(2)(m) (m) 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 History: EmR1918: emerg. cr., eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089: cr. Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20.
DCF 251.06 DCF 251.06Physical plant and equipment.
DCF 251.06(1)(1)Building.
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 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.
DCF 251.06(1)(b) (b) 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:
DCF 251.06(1)(b)1. 1. Remodeling or modifications at an existing center that requires an inspection under Wisconsin commercial building codes or local ordinances.
DCF 251.06(1)(b)2. 2. An inspection done under par. (a) to obtain an initial license.
DCF 251.06(1)(c) (c) 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.
DCF 251.06(1)(d) (d) The inside temperature may not be less than 67°F.
DCF 251.06(1)(e) (e) If the inside temperature exceeds 80° F., the licensee shall provide for air circulation with fans, with air conditioning, or by other means.
DCF 251.06(2) (2) Protective measures.
DCF 251.06(2)(a)(a) The indoor and outdoor premises shall be free of hazards including any recalled products.
DCF 251.06 Note Note: Lists of recalled products are available on the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection website at or by contacting the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (US CPSC) at 1-800-638-2772.
DCF 251.06(2)(b) (b) 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.
DCF 251.06(2)(c) (c) Firearms, ammunition and other potentially dangerous items may not be kept on the premises.
DCF 251.06(2)(d) (d) 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.
DCF 251.06(2)(e) (e) 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.
DCF 251.06(2)(f) (f) 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.
DCF 251.06(2)(g) (g) Stairs, walks, ramps and porches shall be maintained in a safe condition and free from the accumulation of water, ice or snow.
DCF 251.06(2)(gm) (gm) 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.
DCF 251.06(2)(h) (h) 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 Note: See s. DCF 251.03 (25) for the definition of premises.
DCF 251.06(2)(i) (i) There shall be no flaking or deteriorating paint on exterior or interior surfaces in areas accessible to children.
DCF 251.06(2)(im) (im) No lead-based paint or other toxic finishing material may be used on indoor or outdoor furnishings and equipment.
DCF 251.06(2)(j) (j) Children may not be allowed in an area where power tools are in use.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.