MADISON - A woman charged with four counts of operating an illegal day care pleaded guilty Friday in Dane County court.
The charges against Shontel Schroeder were the first criminal case brought against a person who provided unlicensed child care to four or more children under the age of seven.
Under state law, unlicensed providers can care for no more than three children under the age of seven not related to them.
Records from the Department of Children and Families show Schroeder was first cited for watching five children in January, 2016. Inspectors returned to find her caring for seven children in March and May, and six children in September.
In November, Schroeder was charged with four criminal misdemeanor counts of providing child care without a license.
DCF routinely issues fines to repeat offender of the state's illegal day care law, but could find no record of any other case where criminal charges were sought.
In 2016, 69 day care providers were found to be operating illegally. Like Schroeder, 19 of them were repeat offenders.
As part of a plea agreement, Schroeder admitted guilt to two of the counts and will serve two years probation.
She will have to reimburse the parents to whom she provided illegal child care, submit a DNA sample to the state and is barred from providing child care in the future.
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