Wisconsin Department of Children & Families (WI DCF)


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.

Our five overarching goals are:

      1. Children are nurtured, safe and engaged

      2. Enhance prevention and early intervention efforts throughout Wisconsin

      3. Families will have access to quality early care and education

      4. Parents will secure and maintain meaningful jobs

      5. Fathers will be more engaged in the lives of their children

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families’ public search of regulated child care and YoungStar-rated programs allows parents to search for safe, quality child care in Wisconsin. Many providers are rated by YoungStar so that you can know how they measure up against research-based quality indicators.

Licensed Child Care

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the state agency responsible for licensing and ongoing monitoring of child care centers.

There are 3 different categories of state licensed child care:

      • Licensed Family Child Care Centers provide care for up to 8 children.  This care is usually in the provider’s home.

      • Licensed Group Child Care Centers provide care for 9 or more children.  These centers are usually located somewhere other than a residence and may be small or large in size.

      • Licensed Day Camps are seasonal programs that provide experiences for 4 or more children.  These programs usually operate in an outdoor setting.

Wisconsin Department of Child and Families Licensing Rule Book:  Licensing Manual

Contact Us

Department of Children and Families
201 East Washington Avenue, Second Floor
P.O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916

Main Contact Telephone Number: 608-267-3905
Fax: 608-266-6836
Email: dcfweb@wisconsin.gov

For more information, http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/