The Caregiver Law and Rehabilitation Review

Children Reading

Wisconsin’s Caregiver Law may require that a person be barred from operating, working or residing in a licensed or certified facility because of certain crimes, acts or offenses. 

Generally, the Caregiver Law applies to:

  • Any adult convicted of a serious crime.
  • Any juvenile adjudicated delinquent for committing a serious crime.
  • Anyone found to have abused or neglected a child.
  • Anyone found by a unit of government or a state agency to have abused or neglected a client.
  • Anyone found by a unit of government or state agency to have stolen the property of a client.

Individuals with a bar may be banned from:

  • Receiving a child care license or certification.
  • Receiving a shelter care, child placing agency, group home, residential care center for children and youth or foster home license.
  • Working or residing at any of the above facilities.

For some offenses, a person will be permanently barred. For other offenses, a person will be barred unless they request and undergo a rehabilitation review.

The rehabilitation review allows a caregiver or resident to give evidence that:

  • The person is not likely to do what led to the conviction(s) or finding(s) again,
  • And clients will be safe under the person’s care.

A successful rehabilitation review removes the bar and gives the person the chance to be considered for a license or certification, or to be allowed to work or reside at a facility. It does not guarantee that a person will be hired, licensed or certified.  A rehabilitation review will appear on a person's future Caregiver background checks.

A successful rehabilitation review does not remove the conviction or finding from a person's record.

For more information, please view the Rehab Review Brochure.

The Rehabilitation Review Process

In order to begin the rehabilitation review process, the applicant must submit a Rehabilitation Review Application. Applications can be found under the forms section of this page. Applicants may also request an application by contacting the Rehabilitation Review Coordinator at 608-422-7041 or

Please submit an application to the proper entity:

  • Submit the DCF application only if interested in working with children. The application may be emailed to or mailed to the address on page 9 of the application.
  • If the applicant is interested in working with adults, they will need to contact the Department of Health Services (DHS) to learn more about their rehabilitation review process. This information is available on the DHS website.

DCF will appoint a rehabilitation review panel once the application and all the requested documents are received. The application will be denied if all requested documents are not provided within 90 days. The panel may also request information from other agencies or people who are familiar with the applicant.

A rehabilitation review meeting will be scheduled after the panel receives all requested information. The applicant will receive notice of the date, time, and location of the meeting by email or mail.

The applicant is not required to appear at the rehabilitation review meeting, but it is recommended that the applicant attends.  At this meeting, the applicant will have the opportunity to answer questions from the panel. The applicant must provide evidence to convince the panel that the applicant has been rehabilitated.

The panel will make a decision whether the applicant is present at the meeting or not. If the panel decides it does not have enough information to make a decision, it may defer a final decision for up to six months. The applicant will receive the panel's decision in the mail. The panel's decision may be a rehabilitation approval, denial or deferral.


The rehabilitation review panel may approve the rehabilitation review in whole or with limitations/conditions.

Approval applies only to the specific program(s) the panel indicates in its decision. An approval does not ensure that the applicant will be hired by, receive permission to live at, or be licensed or certified by an entity. If a person fails to meet any of the conditions/limitations of the person’s approval, the approval may be withdrawn.


If the panel does not find enough evidence of rehabilitation, it will deny the applicant's request. The panel will provide its reasons for denial in writing and inform the applicant of the right to appeal the decision.

If the applicant wants to appeal the panel’s denial, the applicant must submit an appeal request in writing within 10 days of the decision. A person who appeals will bear the burden of proving that the agency abused its discretion in the decision making process.

The applicant is not allowed to apply again for the same or similar reason for one year from the date of denial. This one year period applies even if the denial was for failure to submit all documentation.


A decision may be deferred up to six months. This is to allow the applicant time to gather more information, complete training/counseling or for other reasons requested by the panel.


Email the Rehabilitation Review Coordinator

Call the Rehabilitation Review Coordinator: 608-422-7041

Department of Children and Families
Office of Legal Counsel
P.O. Box 8916
201 West Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53708-8916

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a rehabilitation review and how does a person request one?

A person is barred from getting a license, certification, employment, contracts, or permission to reside at certain DCF regulated entities if the person has committed certain crimes, acts, or offenses. A rehabilitation review approval can remove the bar, but will not remove the actual offense. Anyone wanting a rehabilitation review must submit an application to begin the process. Applications are found on this website and may also be requested by contacting the Rehabilitation Review Coordinator at 608-422-7041 or

Will rehabilitation review approval ensure that a person will be hired by, receive permission to live at, or be granted regulatory approval by a DCF regulated entity?

No. Rehabilitation approval does not guarantee that the approved person will receive a license, certification, employment, contracts, or permission to reside at the regulated entity. It only lifts the bar so that the individual may be considered like any other person.

What happens if a person commits a new crime or offense that is a bar?

The person will need to go through the rehabilitation review process again to remove the bar if they have committed certain crimes, acts, or offenses covered by The Caregiver Law.

How do I know if I have a barred offense?