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How Do You License an Adult Family Home in Wisconsin?

By March 8, 2024No Comments
afh license application in wisconsin

Adult Family Homes (AFH) are licensed in Wisconsin by the Department of Health Services (DHS).  If you’re considering buying or building an AFH in Wisconsin, it’s smart to check out the process for licensing that type of assisted living in the state.

The Basics of AFH Licensing in Wisconsin

Let’s start with the definition of an adult family home in Wisconsin. According to Wis. Stat. § 50.01(1)(b), an adult family home is a residence where three or four unrelated adults receive care, treatment, or services above the level of room and board. This could include individuals such as the frail elderly, those with developmental or mental health disabilities, physical or sensory disabilities, or substance abuse problems.

We have summarized the process in this post.  The DHS website has comprehensive information that anyone getting started should review carefully.

Key Steps in Licensing

  1. Online Application Submission: Effective April 1, 2022, the Bureau of Assisted Living (BAL) mandates that all AFH applications be submitted online through the e-licensure program. This digital platform streamlines the application process, simplifying tasks such as completing forms, uploading supporting documents, and making online payments.
  2. Program Highlights: The e-licensure program offers several advantages:
    • Ability to complete, sign, and submit applications online.
    • Option to save progress and resume at a later time.
    • Convenient online payment options using credit cards or e-Cheques.
    • Reduced processing times and elimination of postage expenses.
    • Access to email confirmation and printable application copies.
  3. Preparation and Documentation: Gather all necessary documents and information before initiating the application. This may include:
    • Determining the ambulatory status of residents.
    • Ensuring caregivers undergo background checks.
    • Reviewing licensing fees and payment procedures.
  4. Accessing Resources: The DHS provides various resources to support license applicants, including:
    • Licensing/certification terminology guide.
    • Detailed instructions on the application process.
    • Training resources to enhance caregiver skills and knowledge.


Navigating the licensing process for an adult family home in Wisconsin may seem daunting, but it’s manageable with the proper guidance and resources. By following the steps outlined by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and utilizing the e-licensure program, you can streamline the application process and help ensure compliance with state regulations. Remember to leverage available resources and seek assistance to establish a successful and compliant adult family home that provides essential care to vulnerable individuals in your community.