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Second round opens for Child Care Counts

Wisconsin has now set aside $50 million in funding for Child Care Counts, through Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, for early care and education, one of the highest rates of CARES Act dollars invested in early care and education. These critical investments of CARES funding continue to help Wisconsin stabilize the early care and education system, allowing childcare providers to offer high-quality services for Wisconsin families.

They also helped counter an alarming loss of available childcare. This past March, roughly 40 percent of providers (1,729) reported to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) they had closed their doors. That figure now stands at 5.3 percent (237 providers).

The Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Supplementary Payment Program – Round 2, has identical criteria to the most recent awards. It consists of two programs targeted at the current challenges early care and education providers face.

The program is intended to support the costs of maintaining or enhancing compliance status, quality level (YoungStar rating), and increasing health and safety practices. Funds will help ensure high-quality care is available across the state, specifically at younger ages, where reasonable alternatives to childcare do not exist.

As providers move back to regular operations, many have struggled to bring back staff, because of depressed wages. This program is designed to support the costs associated with recruiting and retaining high-quality staff.

Applications and program eligibility details are available on the DCF website, with the application window closing Nov. 6, at 11:59 p.m. Payment notifications will be issued Nov. 14.