Regulation: Raising the Standards of Child Care

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The goal of early childhood regulation is to ensure safe, healthy, and nurturing environments for children to learn and grow. DCF helps make that goal possible by overseeing all the state’s child care regulation. We monitor all licensed and many certified child care providers by setting minimum health and safety standards—and checking that they’re being met. What’s more, we offer tools and resources to help providers exceed those standards. That’s what makes us a true partner in child care. Between families, communities, and providers—DCF is always working to raise the standards of child care in Wisconsin.

Licensed vs. Certified Child Care

In Wisconsin, parents and caregivers have two options for regulated child care—licensed or certified. Licensed providers can care for four or more unrelated children under the age of 7. Certified providers are voluntarily regulated and can provide care for up to three unrelated children under the age of 7. Both regulated care options have unique benefits; the key is deciding what type fits your family’s and child’s needs best.

Discover what makes each type of regulated care unique.

Explore Licensed Child Care Explore Certified Child Care

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Are You a Parent or Caregiver?

Get informed so you can make the best choice for your child care needs. Learn all about regulation, why it’s important, and how it’s helping raise child care standards in Wisconsin.

See Regulation for Parents

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Are You a Child Care Provider?

Regulation can help any child care provider increase their quality of care—and DCF is here to help. As your child care partner, we have the resources you need to help your business succeed.

See Regulation for Providers

Reach for the Stars with Quality Child Care

Finding quality child care that fits your family’s needs can be tough. Luckily, there’s help from YoungStar, Wisconsin’s quality child care rating and improvement system. YoungStar objectively rates thousands of providers across the state just for you!

Visit YoungStar

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