Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

Disclaimer

Hand writing the words "child care" with a bright marker.

Child Care Consumer Statement

 

When choosing child care, there are many factors to consider including types of care, price, availability, quality of care, and location. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) has numerous resources available to help parents choose the best child care option to fit their family’s needs.

 

Child Care Finder

The Wisconsin Child Care Finder is our premier search tool for families seeking high-quality child care. Families may search for regulated providers by location, type of child care needs (group centers, family providers, or day camps), by a specific program name, and by YoungStar rating.

The Child Care Finder includes the last three years of the following information for each provider:

  • Health and safety requirements
  • Licensing or regulatory requirements
  • Any history of violations of requirements
  • Any quality (voluntary) standards met
  • The date the provider was last inspected
  • License type

Child Care Regulation

The Bureau of Early Care Regulation ensures that children attending Wisconsin child care programs are in safe and healthy environments and are provided with care, supervision and developmentally appropriate activities that meet each child’s physical and emotional needs.

Criminal Background Checks

Read more about Wisconsin Caregiver Background Checks for licensed centers - from frequently asked questions, to rules and regulations, and fingerprinting.

YoungStar - Wisconsin's Child Care Rating and Improvement System

YoungStar is a five-star quality rating system for child care providers based on education, learning environment, business methods, and practices around child health and well-being. The rating system will:

  • Create a clear, understandable tool to help parents choose quality care
  • Create incentives for providers to improve services, particularly for low-income families
  • Link the quality of child care providers to Wisconsin Shares subsidy amounts
     

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&R)

Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) administers all YoungStar services. 4C for Children is the local YoungStar office for Milwaukee County. Various Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies can assist parents in finding available child care and answering parent questions. Find your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency by county.

Services for Children and Families

The mission of the Department of Children and Families is to improve the economic and social well-being of Wisconsin’s children, youth and families. The Department is committed to protecting children and youth, strengthening families, and supporting communities. Visit our home page and click or tap on Assistance Programs to learn more about the services we offer.

Submit a Complaint

The Department of Children and Families takes all complaints seriously. If you have an issue with one of our programs and need resolution, we want to make sure it reaches the right person. Please see the list of areas to choose from on our File a Complaint page to make sure your complaint is filed with the right people. If you don't see what you are looking for, you can fill out our general complaints form.

Report Fraud

The Department of Children and Families is dedicated to preventing, detecting, and investigating fraud to ensure the appropriate use of DCF resources. If you suspect someone is committing fraud, please report it using our Report Fraud form.

Report Child Abuse

To report a case of child abuse or neglect, contact the county or tribe where the child or child’s family lives. If the agency is not known, contact the closest agency.