Complaints, inspections and enforcement actions.
Non-discrimination, confidentiality, and reporting child abuse or neglect.
Pets and other animals.
Operational requirements for day camps.
Supervision and grouping of children.
Base camp and facilities.
Ch. DCF 252 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Sections HSS 55.01 to 55.44 as they existed on October, 1984 were repealed and new sections HSS 55.01 to 55.44 were created effective November 1, 1984.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
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.
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.
This chapter shall be liberally construed to effect the objectives in sub. (2)
(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
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 Included 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
, 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.
Group lessons to develop a talent or skill, such as dance or music lessons, social group meetings and activities, and group athletic activities.
Care and supervision of children in a program, including religious education classes, which operates no more than 4 hours a week.
Care and supervision while the parents are on the premises and are engaged in shopping, recreation or other non-work activities.
Seasonal programs of 10 days or less duration in any 3-month period, including day camps, vacation bible school and holiday child care programs.
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.
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
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 Definitions.
In this subchapter:
Abusive head trauma” means a serious type of head injury, including shaken baby syndrome, that is caused by shaking, throwing, hitting, slamming, or jerking.
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
“Base camp" means the permanent or temporary premises, public or private, on which the day camp is operated.
“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.
“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.
“Care" means providing for the safety and the developmental needs of a child in a day camp.
“Complaint" means an allegation that a provision of this chapter or of ch. 48
, Stats., has been violated.
“Counselor" or “camp counselor" means a staff member who works directly with children.
“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.
“Department" means the Wisconsin department of children and families.
“Division" means the department's division of early care and education.
“Emergency” means unforeseen circumstances that require immediate attention.
“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.
“Fit and qualified" means displaying the capacity to successfully nurture and care for children and may include consideration of any of the following:
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
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.
“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.
“Hazard" means a potential source of harm that can jeopardize the health, safety or well-being of children in care.
“Hours of operation” means the hours within the terms of the license during which children are actually in the care of the camp.
“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.
“Inclement weather" means stormy or severe weather such as any of the following:
“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.
“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.
“Licensing representative" means a department employee responsible for licensing day camps.
“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
“Pet" means an animal kept for amusement or companionship.
“Physical restraint" means the use of physical force to restrict the free movement of all or part of a child's body.
“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.
“Premises" means a tract of land on which the camp is located, including all buildings, structures, or shelters on that land.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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
“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 https://www.osha.gov
. Information is also available from the Child Care Information Center, 1-800-362-7353.
“Volunteer" means a person who agrees to give time, with or without reimbursement for expenses, to provide transportation or to work in a day camp.
“Waterfront supervisor" means an adult present in a water activity area during times when children are using the water and who meets the requirements under s. DCF 252.44 (7) (b)
DCF 252.04 History
Cr. Register, October, 1984, No. 346
, eff. 11-1-84; am. (18), r. (24), renum. (25) to (29) to be (24) to (28), Register, August, 1989, No. 404
, eff. 9-1-89; correction in (intro.) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, August, 1989, No. 404
; am. (4), (12) and (15), r. (6) and (18), Register, January, 1997, No. 493
, eff. 2-1-97; corrections in (intro.), (15) and (19) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, July, 1999, No. 523
; correction in (12) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register December 2004 No. 588
; correction in (11) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6., Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
; CR 07-102
: r. (1), (7), (10) and (20), am. (2), (3), (8), (9), (11), (13), (14), (17), (23), (25), (26) and (28), cr. (3g), (4m), (11m), (13m), (15m), (18), (21g), (21r), (22m), (23m) and (29), r. and recr. (5), (12), (15), (16), (24) and (27) Register December 2008 No. 636
, eff. 1-1-09; corrections in (4m), (13m) (b), (22m), (23m) and (29) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register December 2008 No. 636
; correction in (4m), (13m) (b) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register September 2016 No. 729
: emerg. cr. (1), am. (3g), r. and recr. (4m), (12), am. (13m) (b), (15m), cr. (16m), am. (22m), (25), eff. 1-30-19; CR 19-089
: cr. (1), am. (3g), r. and recr. (4m), (12), am. (13m) (b), (15m), cr. (16m), am. (22m), (25) Register March 2020 No. 771
, eff. 4-1-20; CR 21-100: renum. (1) to (1r), cr. (1g), (15g), am. (15m) Register February 2023 No. 806, eff. 3-1-23.
A person making an inquiry to the department about obtaining a license to operate a day camp shall be provided with all of the following:
An opportunity to meet with a licensing representative to discuss the materials.
Assistance to complete the licensing process by a licensing representative.
DCF 252.05 Note
Note: A packet of materials, including the Initial License Application – Day Camps for Children, is available from any of the regional offices listed in Appendix A.