If you live in Wisconsin and want to open up a home daycare, you are considering a career that is very rewarding, both financially and emotionally. Getting licensed takes only a few months, and you can prepare your home with everything you need fairly inexpensively. There are plenty of available resources online and in the area to help you with everything from buying food, purchasing supplies and even creating an educational curriculum that will prepare the kids for school.

Print and fill out a "Request For Child Care Inquiry Packet" from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families website. The state of Wisconsin requires that you obtain a license if you want to care for more than three children under the age of seven in your home that are not related to you. Send the required fee with this document to:

Department of Children and Families at 2187 N. Stevens St. Ste. C. Rhinelander, WI 5450

As of December 2010 the fee is $25.

Study the detailed manual that you will receive in the mail and that contains the Wisconsin licensing rule book, suggested procedures for starting up a program, a start-up worksheet and other information necessary to open up a home daycare.

Sign and return the necessary forms in your packet. These forms include background check authorizations for everyone in your home, the Wisconsin daycare license application, a list of the required child care classes that must be taken, and procedures that will make your home a safe environment for the children.

Complete the courses required for the Wisconsin home daycare license. One course must be in early childhood education and the other course must be about operating a child care business. These classes include "The Introduction to the Child Care Profession" and the "Fundamentals of Family Child Care". In addition, if you intend to care for children under 2 years of age, you will need to take a third class called "Fundamentals of Infant and Toddler Care" within 6 months of becoming licensed.

Obtain required insurance for your Wisconsin home daycare. This would include liability insurance on your vehicle and the child care business. Documentation will need to be provided.

Develop policies and procedures for the daycare. This would include hours of operation, fees, rules, daily activities, sleeping arrangements, nutrition, health procedures, absence policies and anything else relevant to your business. Make copies to pass out to parents. Create a contract for the parents to sign to avoid any misunderstandings later.

Obtain a physical exam from your doctor, including a TB test, unless you have had one in the past year. Wisconsin requires this prior to getting licensed.

Determine which areas will be used by the children and obtain equipment and furnishings. Make sure that the area is safe. Purchase age appropriate toys and books as well as art supplies. Save money by utilizing Wisconsin's Craig'slist, second-hand stores and garage sales.

Go through the final steps of obtaining a license. Your home will be inspected by a Wisconsin Child Care Licenser and once it is approved there will be a fee. As of December 2010, a licensing fee of $60.50 is charged every two years. Your fee for the first six-month probationary license is $15.12.


Home daycare in Wisconsin is much easier to start up than a center in regards to zoning. As of December 2010, a municipality may not prevent a family day care home from being located in a zoned district in which a single-family residence is a permitted use.

Take advantage of the Federal Government's Food Program. You will receive money each month for your daycare by completing a daily report and submitting it to the food program representatives.

For free online forms and daycare ideas, check "The Daycare Lady" website.

Look online for free curriculum ideas.