Wisconsin Shares - Child Care Subsidy Program 

Wisconsin’s Child Care Subsidy Program, Wisconsin Shares, helps low-income, working families pay for child care. If the parent is eligible, child care can be subsidized for children under the age of 13 (up to 19 if special needs).

Eligibility Guidelines

Approved Activities For Wisconsin Shares Subsidy

A parent, a foster parent, relative, or person acting in place of a parent, who is eligible for child care subsidy, must need child care to be able to participate in one of the following activities:

  • Employment
  • High school (if a teen parent under 20 years of age)
  • Approved employment skills training while employed
  • FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) work search or work experience activities
  • W-2 activities

Income Eligibility Requirement

To be initially eligible, the family's gross monthly income must be equal to or less than 185% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) for the corresponding group size. Families may continue to be eligible up to 200% FPL. Foster parents, kinship relatives who receive a kinship care benefit for the child and have a court order for their placement, and subsidized guardians have different income eligibility requirements which can be found at this link:  http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/publications/pdf/dcf_p_492.pdf

The 2016 FPL table for financial eligibility in the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program:

Group SizeAnnual 185% FPLMonthly 185% FPLAnnual 200% FPLMonthly 200% FPL
2 $29,637 $2,470 $32,040 $2,670
3 $37,296 $3,108 $40,320 $3,360
4$44,955 $3,746 $48,600 $4,050
Each Additional Person Add$7,696$641 $8,320$693


Parental Choice of Child Care

If the parent is eligible for child care financial assistance, child care providers chosen by parents must be regulated and participating in the YoungStar quality rating and improvement system.

Find a Child Care Provider

Click on the link below to search for a high-quality child care provider in your area:



The parent's share of the cost is determined on a sliding scale depending on the family's income, family's size, and number of children in subsidized care.

  • The copayment can be as low as 2% of the family gross income.
  • The program is designed so that the system-deducted family copayment should not exceed 12% of the gross income, if the parent chooses a provider with prices below maximum reimbursement limits. If the parent chooses a provider whose private-pay rates are above the county/tribal maximums, the parent is responsible for the difference between the provider price and the subsidy amount.

Updated March 10, 2016

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.