Pre-Licensing Support

If you are interested in starting a regulated child care program, please visit this DCF page to find a local technical consultant to support you through the pre-licensing process.

Who to Contact?

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA)

Serves these licensing regions:

  • Northern
  • Southeastern

Phone: 608-620-8165

Email: pre-licensing@wisconsinearlychildhood.org

WECA Pre-Licensing website

 

4C For Children

Serves these licensing regions:

  • Northeastern
  • Southern
  • Western

Phone: 414-562-2650

Email: 4c@4cfc.org

4C for Children Pre-licensing website

Types of Regulated Care

Certified Family Child Care

Certification is a voluntary regulation for individuals who care for 1 to 3 children under age 7. A certified family provider can care for a maximum of 6 children, with no more than 3 under the age of 7.

Licensed Group Child Care

Group child care programs care for 9 or more children. Their maximum size is determined by the space available in the care environment. This care usually occurs in a commercial building used explicitly for child care. Children typically stay in one classroom with consistent classmates and teachers/care providers and transition to new developmentally appropriate classrooms as they grow older. At all times, staff must maintain staff-to-child ratios and maximum group sizes based on the age of the children.

Licensed Family Child Care

A licensed family provider can care for a maximum of 4 to 8 children, depending on the children’s ages. This care is usually offered inside the child care provider’s home. Children of all ages can be cared for in the same space.

Choose Safe Places

Children are more likely than adults to get sick from environmental hazards. That’s because they eat more food, drink more water, and breathe in more air relative to their body size than adults. They also engage in behaviors that make them more likely to contact harmful substances, such as putting their hands in their mouths or playing on the ground. The Choose Safe Places Program helps child care providers keep kids safe from toxic chemicals and other environmental hazards. It does this by providing free consultations to prospective providers of licensed group and family centers. To take a look at the Choose Safe Places pamphlet, click here.

New Insights: Wisconsin Child Care Rates Report

Check out our latest report and interactive dashboard for an in-depth analysis of Wisconsin child care rates.

Resources

Still not sure? Attend an Info Session to learn about the different types of child care, the steps to get started, and tips to successfully become a licensed provider.

Contact your local CCR&R (Child Care Resource & Referral Agency) for dates of upcoming Info Sessions in your area.

Find My CCR&R

Register for Milwaukee Info Session    |    En Español

Child Care Info Session PDF

  • When should I be licensed?

    • Wisconsin regulation states, “Anyone providing care and supervision for four or more children, under age 7 years, for less than 24 hours a day must be licensed by the Department of Children and Families.” 
  • What is Pre-Licensing?

    • Wisconsin regulation states, “Anyone providing care and supervision for four or more children, under age 7 years, for less than 24 hours a day must be licensed by the Department of Children and Families.” 
  • How long does it take to get licensed?

    • Wisconsin regulation states, “Anyone providing care and supervision for four or more children, under age 7 years, for less than 24 hours a day must be licensed by the Department of Children and Families.” 
  • Where can I get help?

    • Wisconsin regulation states, “Anyone providing care and supervision for four or more children, under age 7 years, for less than 24 hours a day must be licensed by the Department of Children and Families.” 

Additional questions can be answered with DCF’s Starting a Licensed Care Page here. 

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