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Child Care Programs in Long-Term Care Facilities

Starting a child care program in a long-term care residential facility

Across Wisconsin, health care providers report a severe shortage of nurses, nurse aides and resident care staff to care for their elders. Providers have few or no applicants and are refocusing their recruiting and retention strategies on removing social barriers by offering transportation to and from work, providing child daycare options, and other benefits. Working with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Department of Health Services (DHS) developed the following information to help providers start an on-site child care program to attract new workers and keep current staff. To get started, contact staff in the DCF Regional Licensing Offices.

Requirements and resources

Regulatory considerations

Wisconsin administrative rules for long-term care facilities include standards for mixed occupancies, including child care programs.

Community-Based Residential Facilities (CBRF)

If there is a child care program in the same building as a CBRF, the facilities shall be separated. Entrance and exit doors for each facility shall be separate. Socialization between facilities shall not interfere with privacy or infringe upon the use of habitable floor space of CBRF residents. Please reference Wis. Admin. Code §§ DHS 83.56 and 83.57 for additional information.

Residential Care Apartment Complexes (RCAC)

An RCAC shall be both physically and programmatically distinct from any nursing home, CBRF, or hospital to which it is attached or of which it is a part. Please reference Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 89.22(4) for additional information.

Nursing homes

Rooms or areas within the facility may be used for occupancy by individuals other than residents and facility staff if the use of these rooms does not interfere with the services provided to the residents; and the administrator takes reasonable steps to ensure that the health, safety and rights of the residents are protected. Please reference Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 132.84(15) for additional information.


For questions regarding CBRFs and RCACs contact your Regional Director.

For questions regarding nursing homes contact your Regional Field Operations Director.

Last revised April 15, 2024