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Implementation of the Revised Chapter DHS 85, Wisconsin Administrative Code, Relating to
 Non-Profit Corporate Guardians and Unincorporated Associations Effective June 1, 2010

PDF Version of DQA 10-015  (PDF, 50 KB)

Date: June 9, 2010 -- DQA Memo 10-015
To: Non-Profit Corporate Guardians
From: Alfred C. Johnson, Director
Bureau of Technology, Licensing & Education

Otis Woods, Administrator
Division of Quality Assurance

Implementation of the Revised Chapter DHS 85, Wisconsin Administrative Code, Relating to Non-Profit Corporate Guardians and Unincorporated Associations Effective June 1, 2010

On June 1, 2010, significant changes to Wisconsin Administrative Code, ch. DHS 85, took effect establishing standards for the approval of non-profit corporate guardians or unincorporated associations suitable to perform the duties of guardian of a person, or of an estate, or both.

This memo contains important information on the following topics:

  • Implementation
  • Current standard of practice
  • Caregiver background checks
  • Policies and procedures
  • Approval process
  • Training


Effective June 1, 2010, non-profit guardians and unincorporated associations will be expected to be in compliance with the new requirements in Chapter DHS 85. The Department will use reasonable regulatory action in fulfilling its mandate to assure that the health, safety, and welfare of wards being served by the non-profit guardians and unincorporated associations are protected and safeguarded.

Current Standard of Practice

Significant new provisions have been added to Chapter DHS 85 in the areas of staff qualifications, staff training, continuing education, caregiver background checks, duties and powers of the guardian, rights of wards, how to file a complaint, contacts with wards, wards' records, and conflict of interest standards. These requirements reflect the current standards of practice for non-profit corporate guardianships. NOTE: It is the responsibility of each corporate guardian to review and become familiar with the specific language and requirements that are identified in the newly-revised chapter DHS 85.

Caregiver Background Checks

Chapter DHS 85 requires the corporate guardian to conduct and document a caregiver background check completed on each employee, at the time of hire or contract and every four years thereafter, who has contact with wards following the procedures found in s.50.065, Stats, and Chapter DHS 12. 

A corporate guardian may not employ or contract with a person who has been convicted of the crimes or offenses, or has a governmental finding of misconduct, found in s.50.065, stats., unless the person has been approved under the Department's rehabilitation review process as defined in ch. DHS 12. Please access the following website for information on Wisconsin Caregiver Background Checks:

Policies and Procedures

Chapter DHS 85 now requires corporate guardians to develop and maintain policies and procedures in the areas of abuse and neglect, misappropriation of property, grievance procedure for use by wards and interested parties, and complaint and grievance investigation.

Approval Process

Chapter DHS 85 now establishes standards for the guardian application process, and criteria the Department uses to determine whether a person is fit and qualified to operate as a corporate guardian. Chapter DHS 85 also creates notification and other provisions a corporate guardian must follow when changing ownership or ceasing operations that result in closing the corporate guardian agency.


A training session on the new DHS 85 will be held at the Wisconsin Guardianship Association's Educational Conference on September 15, 2010, at the Kalahari Resort Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells. The following website will be available as of June 14, 2010: Please check the website for further information regarding the educational conference.


You may access the following websites for information on guardianship associations, Register in Probates and resources:

If you have any questions about this information, please contact: Dinh Tran at (608) 266-6646 or or Deb Bursaw at (608) 267-2838 or

cc: Registers in Probate
WGA Board Members

DHS 85, Wisconsin Administrative Code (PDF, 31 KB)


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Last Updated: January 07, 2014