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Register February 2023 No. 806
Chapter DCF 252
DCF 252.02   Authority and purpose.
DCF 252.03   Included and excluded care arrangements.
DCF 252.04   Definitions.
DCF 252.05   Licensing administration.
DCF 252.06   Complaints, inspections and enforcement actions.
DCF 252.07   Non-discrimination, confidentiality, and reporting child abuse or neglect.
DCF 252.08   Pets and other animals.
DCF 252.09   Transportation.
DCF 252.40   Scope.
DCF 252.41   Operational requirements for day camps.
DCF 252.42   Personnel.
DCF 252.425   Supervision and grouping of children.
DCF 252.43   Base camp and facilities.
DCF 252.44   Program.
Ch. DCF 252 Note Note: Sections HSS 55.01 to 55.44 as they existed on October, 1984 were repealed and new sections HSS 55.01 to 55.44 were created effective November 1, 1984. Corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6. and 7., Stats., Register, January, 1997, No. 493. Chapter HSS 55 was renumbered chapter HFS 55 under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., and corrections made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, February, 1997, No. 494. Chapter HFS 55 was renumbered to chapter DCF 252 under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 1., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635.
DCF 252.02 DCF 252.02Authority and purpose.
DCF 252.02(1)(1)Authority. This chapter is promulgated under the authority of s. 48.67, Stats., to establish licensing requirements under s. 48.65, Stats., for day camps for children.
DCF 252.02(2) (2)Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of children being cared for in day camps in Wisconsin.
DCF 252.02(3) (3)Construction. This chapter shall be liberally construed to effect the objectives in sub. (2).
DCF 252.02(4) (4)Exception to a requirement. The department may grant an exception to a requirement of this chapter when it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the department that granting the exception will not jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of the children served. A request for an exception shall be in writing, shall be sent to the department, and shall include justification for the requested action and an explanation of the alternative provisions planned to meet the intent of the requirement.
DCF 252.02 Note Note: A request for an exception to a requirement of this chapter should be sent to the appropriate regional office of the Department's Division of Early Care and Education. See Appendix A for addresses of those regional offices.
DCF 252.02 History History: Cr. Register, October, 1984, No. 346, eff. 11-1-84; correction in (1) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, August, 1989, No. 404; am. (1), Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97; correction in (1) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, July, 1999, No. 523; CR 07-102: am. (1), (2) and (4) Register December 2008 No. 636, eff. 1-1-09; EmR1918: emerg. am. (1), eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089: am. (1) Register March 2020 No. 771, eff. 4-1-20.
DCF 252.03 DCF 252.03Included and excluded care arrangements. This chapter applies to all day camps but it does not apply to family child care centers regulated under ch. DCF 250, group child care centers regulated under ch. DCF 251, or any of the following:
DCF 252.03 Note Note: Section 48.65, Stats., exempts parents, guardians and certain other relatives; public and parochial (private) schools; persons employed to come to the home of the child's parent to provide care for less than 24 hours per day; and counties, cities, villages, towns, school districts, and libraries that provide programs for children primarily intended for social or recreational purposes from the requirement for a license.
DCF 252.03(1) (1)Group lessons to develop a talent or skill, such as dance or music lessons, social group meetings and activities, and group athletic activities.
DCF 252.03(1m) (1m)Care and supervision of children in a program, including religious education classes, which operates no more than 4 hours a week.
DCF 252.03(2) (2)Care and supervision while the parents are on the premises and are engaged in shopping, recreation or other non-work activities.
DCF 252.03(3) (3)Seasonal programs of 10 days or less duration in any 3-month period, including day camps, vacation bible school and holiday child care programs.
DCF 252.03(4) (4)Care and supervision in emergency situations.
DCF 252.03(5) (5)Care and supervision while the parent is employed on the premises if the parent's child receives care and supervision for no more than 3 hours a day.
DCF 252.03(6) (6)Care and supervision at the site while the parent who is a recipient of temporary assistance to needy families or Wisconsin Works is involved in orientation, enrollment or initial assessment prior to the development of an employability plan.
DCF 252.03 History History: Cr. Register, October, 1984, No. 346, eff. 11-1-84; emerg. am. eff. 4-22-85; am. Register, August, 1985, No. 356, eff. 9-1-85; am. (intro.), Register, August, 1989, No. 404, eff. 9-1-89; am. (intro.), Register, January, 1997, No. 493, eff. 2-1-97; correction in (intro.) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, July, 1999, No. 523; correction in (intro.) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635; CR 07-102: am. (intro.) and (1) to (4), cr. (1m) and (6) Register December 2008 No. 636, eff. 1-1-09; correction in (intro.) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register December 2020 No. 780.
DCF 252.04 DCF 252.04Definitions. In this subchapter:
DCF 252.04(1g) (1g) “ Abusive head trauma” means a serious type of head injury, including shaken baby syndrome, that is caused by shaking, throwing, hitting, slamming, or jerking.
DCF 252.04(1r) (1r) “ Background check request form” means a form prescribed by the department on which a person completes required information for the child care background check under s. 48.686, Stats., and ch. DCF 13.
DCF 252.04 Note Note: Form DCF-F-5296, Background Check Request, is available on the department's website at
DCF 252.04(2) (2)“Base camp" means the permanent or temporary premises, public or private, on which the day camp is operated.
DCF 252.04(3) (3)“Camp director" means the individual on the campsite who is responsible for the administration of the camp, including program operations, staff supervision, business operations, food service, health service, and other supportive services.
DCF 252.04(3g) (3g)“Camp-provided transportation” means transportation provided in a vehicle owned, leased, or contracted for by the camp or transportation provided in volunteer or staff-owned vehicles regardless of whether the drive is reimbursed for the use of the vehicle.
DCF 252.04(4) (4)“Care" means providing for the safety and the developmental needs of a child in a day camp.
DCF 252.04(4m) (4m)“Child care background check” means the requirements in s. 48.686, Stats., and ch. DCF 13.
DCF 252.04(5) (5)“Complaint" means an allegation that a provision of this chapter or of ch. 48, Stats., has been violated.
DCF 252.04(8) (8)“Counselor" or “camp counselor" means a staff member who works directly with children.
DCF 252.04(9) (9)“Day camp" or “camp" means a program regulated under this chapter 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 a day.
DCF 252.04(11) (11)“Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
DCF 252.04(11m) (11m)“Division" means the department's division of early care and education.
DCF 252.04(12) (12)“Emergency” means unforeseen circumstances that require immediate attention.
DCF 252.04(13) (13)“Field trip" means any experience a child has away from the premises of the camp while under the care of camp staff whether the child walks or is transported.
DCF 252.04(13m) (13m)“Fit and qualified" means displaying the capacity to successfully nurture and care for children and may include consideration of any of the following:
DCF 252.04(13m)(a) (a) Abuse of alcohol or drugs.
DCF 252.04(13m)(b) (b) A history of a civil or criminal conviction or administrative rule violation that is substantially related to the care of children, as determined under s. DCF 13.05.
DCF 252.04(13m)(c) (c) Exercise of unsound judgment.
DCF 252.04(13m)(d) (d) A history of civil or criminal offenses or any other actions that demonstrate an inability to manage financial resources or the activities of a camp.
DCF 252.04(14) (14)“Group" means a specific number of children who have a regularly assigned counselor responsible for the children's well-being and meeting the children's basic needs.
DCF 252.04(15) (15)“Hazard" means a potential source of harm that can jeopardize the health, safety or well-being of children in care.
DCF 252.04(15g) (15g) “Hours of operation” means the hours within the terms of the license during which children are actually in the care of the camp.
DCF 252.04(15m) (15m)“In care” means the camp is providing supervision, either on or off the premises, including during camp-provided transportation, for the safety and developmental needs of the child or children.
DCF 252.04(16) (16)“Inclement weather" means stormy or severe weather such as any of the following:
DCF 252.04(16)(a) (a) Heavy rain.
DCF 252.04(16)(b) (b) Temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
DCF 252.04(16)(c) (c) Wind chills of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
DCF 252.04(16m) (16m) “Licensed hours” means the authorized hours specified on the license certificate and letter of transmittal within which the day camp may provide child care services.
DCF 252.04(17) (17)“Licensee" means the corporation, individual, partnership or non-incorporated association or cooperative which has legal and financial responsibility for the operation of a day camp and for meeting the requirements of this chapter.
DCF 252.04(18) (18)“Licensing representative" means a department employee responsible for licensing day camps.
DCF 252.04(19) (19)“Parent" means either “parent" as defined in s. 48.02 (13), Stats., or “guardian" as defined in s. 48.02 (8), Stats.
DCF 252.04(21) (21)“Parochial or private school" means an educational program which meets all the criteria specified under s. 118.165 (1), Stats., or as determined by the superintendent of public instruction under s. 118.167, Stats.
DCF 252.04(21g) (21g)“Pet" means an animal kept for amusement or companionship.
DCF 252.04(21r) (21r)“Physical restraint" means the use of physical force to restrict the free movement of all or part of a child's body.
DCF 252.04(22) (22)“Physician” has the meaning prescribed in s. 448.01 (5), Stats.
DCF 252.04(22m) (22m)“Pre-camp training” means a program developed by the licensee containing the elements specified in s. DCF 252.42 (3) and attended by camp staff prior to the opening of each year's camp session.
DCF 252.04(23) (23)“Premises" means a tract of land on which the camp is located, including all buildings, structures, or shelters on that land.
DCF 252.04(23m) (23m)“Regularly assigned counselor" means a person who meet the requirements of a counselor under s. DCF 252.42 and who is assigned to a specific group of children.
DCF 252.04(24) (24)“Shaken baby syndrome" or “SBS" means a severe form of brain injury that occurs when an infant or young child is shaken or thrown forcibly enough to cause the brain to rebound against his or her skull.
DCF 252.04(25) (25)“Supervision of children” means guidance of behavior and activities of children for their health, safety, and well-being by counselors who are close enough to prevent harm and ensure safety.
DCF 252.04(26) (26)“Supervision of staff" means guidance of the behavior and activities of camp employees which may include provision of instructions to carry out activities for limited periods of time out of sight or hearing of the supervisor.
DCF 252.04(27) (27)“Universal precautions" mean measures taken to prevent transmission of infection from contact with blood or other potentially infectious material, as recommended by the U.S. public health services centers for disease control and adopted by the U.S. occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) as 29 CFR 1910.1030.
DCF 252.04 Note Note: “Standard precautions" for infection control measures incorporate universal precautions. Information on the OSHA requirements related to standard or universal precautions is available on the OSHA website at Information is also available from the Child Care Information Center, 1-800-362-7353.
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.