Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

Disclaimer

COVID-19 Child Care Listserv Message Archive

The Department of Children and Families is committed to keeping child care programs informed during this health care emergency. This continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so we have created a place where child care programs can view messages that have been sent on the Child Care Listserv during the emergency.

Please sign up to receive Child Care listserv messages and announcements to stay informed about this crisis.

Go back to the COVID-19 Child Care Resources page.

 

June 2 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Notify Your Licensing Specialist/Certifier and Keep Your Open/Closed Status Current
All child care providers that were temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic must contact their licensing specialist/certifier prior to reopening. Modifying the status in the Provider Portal does not notify the licensing specialist. Anytime a change in status occurs, the licensing specialist/certifier must be contacted, and the Provider Portal updated.

DCF Unable to Obtain Cleaning Supplies for Child Care Programs
DCF is aware that finding cleaning supplies in the quantity you need is currently very difficult. Unfortunately, DCF has been unable to obtain cleaning and disinfecting supplies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Child care providers are allowed to use money from the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program 1 (funding to care for children of essential workforce) and Payment Program 3 (funding to reopen temporarily closed programs) to purchase cleaning and sanitizing supplies as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff. Programs are encouraged to work with local grocers and suppliers to help locate and purchase the supplies needed.

Applications for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Begins June 8
DCF will start accepting applications for Period 2 (4/12/2020 – 5/11/2020) of the Payment Program beginning June 8 – June 19, 2020. This funding is part of the $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more about the three programs and how to apply. 
Be sure to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage.
If you have additional questions, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

June Wisconsin Shares Benefit Load Available on EBT Cards
Due to minor technical difficulties, the June Wisconsin Shares EBT benefit load appeared to be unavailable early on June 1. Those technical issues have been resolved and parents were able to see their June Wisconsin Shares funds in both the Parent Portal and on ebtEdge by noon on June 1.

WISER ECE Job Board
If you have logged into wiserece.org lately, you have likely seen a job board posted on the bottom right corner of the homepage. Did you know this is a free job posting and career management site? The Wisconsin ECE Jobs site has a number of time and money-saving features to help you hire or get hired.

WISER is currently free for any WI child care programs to register. Employers can receive advice on what should be included in a job posting and learn more about the average hourly rate of pay for various ECE positions in Wisconsin. When a job is posted, the Wisconsin ECE Jobs site sends the posting to 11 different internet employment sites like Indeed and Google. Anyone can see job postings by going to Wisconsin ECE Jobs. For more information on best practices for hiring and applying, and being a good job candidate, visit the HR tab on WISER. Sample interview questions, posting templates, and useful forms for hiring are available. Questions about WISER materials? Contact WISER at theteam@wiserece.org

Additional Resources

May 28 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.
 

FINAL REMINDER - COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Application Period 1 (3/12 - 4/11/20) Closes Tomorrow
Applications must be submitted through the Provider Portal by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020.

If you have not started the application and need assistance, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov before 4 p.m. tomorrow. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process. Staff will be available until 8 p.m. tomorrow to answer questions.

Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more.

New Flyer and Poster for Families About Child Care and COVID-19
Are you working with parents or family members who have questions and want help making decisions and plans related to child care during the public health emergency? Please distribute and/or print the resource below to help them navigate enrolling their child in a group or family child care program and staying safe in the months ahead.
Download the 2-page flyer
Download the 11 x 17 poster

Updated: Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training for Child Care Providers
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Prevention Training for Child Care Providers will be required after August 31, 2020, in place of Shaken Baby Prevention Training for Child Care Providers. Either training will meet the training requirement through August 31, 2020. Child care providers who have already completed SBS Prevention training are not required to complete the new AHT Prevention training; however, the training may count toward a child care provider’s continuing education hours.

Child care providers and teachers working with children under age 5 are required to receive training on Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) Prevention and how to manage crying, fussing, or distraught children. In addition to covering SBS prevention, the updated Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training addresses the latest information on:

  • Abusive Head Trauma
  • The Period of Purple Crying
  • Strategies and challenges of soothing
  • Coping with frustration
  • Having a plan and educating others

Learn more about getting SBS and AHT training and read the AHT FAQs for additional information.

Additional Resources

May 26 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.
 

REMINDER – COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Application Period 1 (3/12 - 4/11/20) Closes this Friday, May 29
Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more about the three COVID-19 emergency payment programs and how to apply. Submit your application through the Provider Portal by Friday, May 29, 2020.

If you have additional questions, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

Public School Building Access
There have been many questions regarding the impact of the Supreme Court Order on the Safer At Home Order regarding Public School Building access. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recently sent an update to school district administrators.

The Supreme Court upheld the closure of school buildings until June 30 for all pupil instruction or extracurricular activities. However, it opened the door for school districts to make decisions about opening the buildings earlier for other activities, including summer camps and child care. While a district could choose to allow external contactors to access the building, they are not required to do so. They would need to make that decision in consultation with local health authorities and determine if it could be done in a safe manner. In the event that a school’s local county government passed their own health order, a school would have to follow those local restrictions.

Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training for Child Care Providers
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Prevention Training for Child Care Providers will be required after August 31, 2020, in place of Shaken Baby Prevention Training for Child Care Providers. Either training will meet the training requirement through August 31, 2020.

Child care providers and teachers working with children under age 5 are required to receive training on Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) Prevention and how to manage crying, fussing, or distraught children. In addition to covering SBS prevention, the updated Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training addresses the latest information on:

  • Abusive Head Trauma
  • The Period of Purple Crying
  • Strategies and challenges of soothing
  • Coping with frustration
  • Having a plan and educating others

Learn more about getting SBS and AHT Training.

Additional Resources

May 21 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.
 
New Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program FAQs posted to our webpage!
Visit the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage to read the FAQs. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Frequently Asked Questions accordion. Here are three sample questions and answers:

I received a federal Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPP), SBA grant, Dane County CARES funding, or other COVID-19 related funding. Can I still apply for this payment program?
Yes - the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program online application asks a question related to other funding received for COVID-19 purposes. The information provided in response to this question will not impact eligibility to receive payments and payment amounts. This information is being collected to help DCF determine the possible impact of funding on the continuity of child care programs.

Can I apply for more than one program during the application period?
Yes - you may be able to apply for multiple Payment Programs, depending on your situation.

  • Payment Program 1 is for child care providers that were open and providing care to children of essential workers during the application period.
  • Payment Program 2 is for incentive pay for those who provided care during the application period. 
  • Payment Program 3 is for providers that were temporarily closed during the application period and, if still closed, can reopen within 30 days of receiving funding or after the end of a local order (depending on which is later).
  • In general, child care programs that were open during the application period should apply for Payment Programs 1 and 2; child care programs that were closed during the application period should apply for Payment Program 3.

Example scenarios:

  • A program was open and caring for children of essential workers anytime during the application period (Period 1 is 3/12/20-4/11/20), apply for Programs 1 and 2.
  • A program was temporarily closed during the application period (Period 1 is 3/12/20-4/11/20) and, if still closed, can reopen within 30 days of receiving funding or after the end of a local order (depending on which is later), apply for Program 3.
  • A program was open and caring for children of essential workers for a period of time AND was temporarily closed due to COVID-19 for a period of time during the application period (Period 1 is 3/12/20-4/11/20), apply for Programs 1, 2 and 3.

Are child care providers required to follow the Badger Bounce Back health and safety guidelines in order to apply for the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program?

Child care providers must follow health and safety child care administrative rules as well as their county and/or municipal orders. While DCF recommends following the guidance found in Badger Bounce Back: Best Practices for Child Care Providers, it is not required in order to apply for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program.

Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Application Instruction Manual
Need help submitting your application for the COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program? Check out this instruction manual for a checklist to aid you with submitting your application. This manual directs you in gathering the information needed to complete and submit your application.

Need additional assistance? Call 608-535-3650 or email your questions to DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

You can also find the instruction manual on the DCF website, on the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage. Look in the accordion labeled How to Apply for Payments.

Emergency Payment accordion screenshot

Additional Resources

May 19 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Child Care Administrative Rule Expiration and Repeals
State level: All of the child care administrative rules that were waived as a result of Governor Evers’ Public Health Emergency expired on May 11, 2020. This means that all administrative rules for Group and Family child care centers and Day Camps for children are back in effect.

The only child care rules that remain repealed are found in the certification rule DCF 202. The two certification rules that remain temporarily repealed are specific to certification agencies (DCF 202.04 (3) (b) 9. c. and DCF 202.04 (3) (c) 5.)

Local level: In some instances, counties or local public health departments issued local guidance or orders. Child care programs should follow local guidance or orders, if issued.

Program level: DCF developed recommendations for child care programs and day camps for children that focus on health and safety practices.

Please work with you licensing or certification specialist and check with your local municipality if you have questions.

June EBT Card Payment Transfer  
The DCF will transfer Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy fund balances that were available on families’ MyWIChildCare EBT cards to the corresponding child care provider financial institution accounts during the week of June 8. Child care providers should see the funds reflected in their accounts two to three days after the transfer has been made, depending on their financial institution. A message will be displayed in the Parent Portal to this effect. This will be the final transfer of EBT funds to accounts.

If you have any questions, please contact the Child Care Help Desk childcare@wisconsin.gov.

REMINDER - Now Accepting Applications for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program
DCF is supporting the growing demand for child care access by supporting payment programs for open or temporarily closed child care programs during March 12 – May 25, 2020. Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more about the three programs and how to apply. 

Be sure to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage. Additional FAQs will be added often.
 
If you have additional questions, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

 

Additional Resources

May 18 - Now Accepting Applications for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has been approved to use $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Child care providers are vital contributors to reopening Wisconsin’s economy. In order to ensure parents are able to return to work, Wisconsin needs child care programs to safely remain open or reopen, be staffed, and able to care for children, ages 0-13.

DCF is supporting the growing demand for child care access by supporting payment programs for open or temporarily closed child care programs during March 12 – May 25, 2020. There are three payment programs and three application periods as detailed below. Read more about the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program and apply on the department’s website.

Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Programs

  • Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families
  • Program 2: Incentive Pay
  • Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

Application Periods/Timelines

  • For Period 1 (March 12 - April 11, 2020)
    • Applications open on May 18 and close on May 29, 2020
    • Payment letters will be issued by June 8, 2020
  • For Period 2 (April 12 - May 11, 2020)
    • Applications open on June 8 and close on June 19, 2020
    • Payment letters will be issued by June 29, 2020
  • For Period 3 (May 12 – May 25, 2020, 2-week period)
    • Applications open on June 29 and close on July 10, 2020
    • Payment letters will be issued by July 20, 2020

Thank you for all you do for the children and families of Wisconsin.

May 16 - Additional DECE Update - Badger Bounce Back FAQs update and Camp Guidance

Badger Bounce Back remains Wisconsin’s plan to decrease COVID-19. In light of the Legislature v. Palm decision, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) is provided an updated version of the Badger Bounce Back Frequently Asked Questions document and a new document to help licensed summer camp providers navigate the health emergency. Those documents, along with the best practices overview and decision tree, are all included below:

  • The updated Best Practices for Child Care Providers frequently asked questions provides specific recommendations during each phase of the transition.

    • Please note: if you opened this document already, you will need to clear your browser cache or redownload the file. The link address is unchanged to prevent dead links.

  • The Guidance for Licensed Day Camps for Children overview provides recommendations and helpful information for those considering opening camps this summer.

  • The Best Practices for Child Care Providers overview highlights considerations and recommendations during each phase of the transition. As always, the health and safety of children is the most important priority.

  • The Reopening Child Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic decision tree assists child care programs in making decisions about reopening during the Badger Bounce Back transition.

May 14 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Badger Bounce Back: Best Practices for Child Care Provider Documents
Badger Bounce Back is Wisconsin’s plan to decrease COVID-19 cases to a low level so that a phased reopening of businesses is possible. It is important to check with the state and local health officials to determine the most appropriate actions.

DCF has created three documents for child care providers that highlight best practices for continuing operations or reopening during the three phases of this transition:

  • The Best Practices for Child Care Providers overview highlights considerations and recommendations during each phase of the transition. As always, the health and safety of children is the most important priority.
  • The Best Practices for Child Care Providers frequently asked questions provides specific recommendations during each phase of the transition.
  • The Reopening Child Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic decision tree assists child care programs in making decisions about reopening during the Badger Bounce Back transition.

Coupon for FREE Registry Membership Now Available
A coupon code for FREE Registry membership and renewal is now available through Wisconsin’s Preschool Development Grant (PDG) funding. This coupon is for all individuals and is available only as funding allows, until December 31, 2020. DCF anticipates funding to last for at least several months.

To track available funding for this coupon, please go to the coupon page on the Registry website and review the PDF attached to this email for more information.

Reminder - Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Next Steps
In preparation for the COVID-19 Payment Program Proposal currently under review by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) reminds all regulated child care providers to take steps to prepare to apply for funds in the event that the proposal is approved. This includes signing up with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to set up a payment account; getting access to the Child Care Provider Portal to manage your program information and to receive funding notices; and updating staff and family information for your program.

Regulated providers not yet signed up with FIS should have recently received a letter with instructions to set up an account with FIS to expedite the payment process. This allows FIS to directly deposit payments into child care provider bank accounts.

All providers should log into the Child Care Provider Portal to update availability and staff information. Please follow these instructions for access to the Child Care Provider Portal.

Please see the instructional manual for suggested steps to take now and visit this website for more information.

 

Additional Resources

May 12 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Reminder - Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Next Steps

In preparation for the COVID-19 Payment Program Proposal currently under review by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) reminds all regulated child care providers to take steps to prepare to apply for funds in the event that the proposal is approved. This includes signing up with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to set up a payment account; getting access to the Child Care Provider Portal to manage your program information and to receive funding notices; and updating staff and family information for your program.
 
Regulated providers not yet signed up with FIS should have recently received a letter with instructions to set up an account with FIS to expedite the payment process. This allows FIS to directly deposit payments into child care provider bank accounts.
 
We also want to remind all providers to log into the Child Care Provider Portal to update your availability and staff information. If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, please follow these instructions.
 
Please see the instruction manual for suggested steps to take now. Visit our website for more information.
 
May EBT Card Payment Transfer
On Friday May 8, Wisconsin Shares subsidy fund balances that were available on families’ MyWIChildCare EBT cards were transferred from EBT cards to the corresponding child care provider bank accounts. Providers should see the money in their bank accounts sometime between May 8 and May 11, depending on their bank. A message is also displayed in the Parent Portal.
 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Child Care Help Desk childcare@wisconsin.gov.
 
In the News
When can Wisconsin open? Tracking the Badger Bounce Back Plan
Addy Bink | May 11, 2020 | WeAreGreenBay.com

 

Additional Resources

May 7 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Get Set Up Now to Apply for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

In preparation for the COVID-19 Payment Program Proposal currently under review by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) encourages all regulated child care providers to take steps to prepare to apply for funds in the event that the proposal is approved. This includes signing up with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to set up a payment account; getting access to the Child Care Provider Portal to manage your program information and to receive funding notices; and updating staff and family information for your program.

Regulated providers not yet signed up with FIS will soon receive a letter with instructions to set up an account with FIS to expedite the payment process. This allows FIS to directly deposit payments into child care provider bank accounts.

We also encourage all providers to log into the Child Care Provider Portal to update your availability and staff information. If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, please follow these instructions.

Please see this instructional manual for suggested steps to take now. Visit our website for more information.

National Provider Appreciation Day – May 8
In honor of Provider Appreciation Day, we celebrate the critical role early education providers play in our communities. Every day, children enter the homes and programs of individuals who dedicate their lives to providing safety and security, nurturing strong bodies, building healthy brains, and creating meaningful bonds that can last a lifetime. Providers often serve as an extension of a child’s family, a trusted resource for advice, and a necessary support system that families rely on. These supports strengthen the social fabric of our homes, neighborhoods and greater communities.

DCF recognizes providers are the backbone of our economy and the foundation for future economic success. We will continue to work towards our goal of ensuring that all Wisconsin families have equitable access to affordable, high-quality early care and education opportunities that are led by a workforce that is valued and duly compensated. Today and every day, DCF thanks early care and education providers for your dedication to supporting children and families in Wisconsin.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day – May 7
Gov. Evers has designated May 7, 2020, as Children's Mental Health Awareness Day as a way to raise awareness about the struggles children face, and the importance positive mental health has on early childhood development.

You can read more about the Wisconsin Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2020 Proclamation.

Brush Up on Wisconsin Shares Program Integrity Training
A new training video about Wisconsin Shares Program Integrity for Wisconsin child care providers is available online 24/7. Provider Program Integrity ensures that those rules are followed, and it includes prevention, monitoring, and identification of improper payments and fraud of the Wisconsin Shares program.

Visit the Wisconsin Shares Information for Child Care Providers page for more information.

 

Additional Resources

May 5 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

National Teacher Appreciation Day
National Teacher Appreciation Day recognizes the dedicated educators across the country. Teachers play a critical role in educating and shaping our children, the future leaders of Wisconsin. DCF appreciates everything that YOU – our early care teachers/educators – do to ensure Wisconsin’s youngest children learn and thrive in safe and nurturing environments. Please give a shout-out to teachers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TeacherAppreciationDay and by tagging @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.

 

May is Foster Care Month in Wisconsin

With about 7,300 children and youth in foster care throughout Wisconsin, foster families play a critical role in the lives of children who need a temporary home. To highlight their efforts and bring awareness, Gov. Tony Evers has proclaimed May as Foster Care Month in Wisconsin.

While staying safer at home, the department is encouraging communities to show their support for foster and kinship families by putting light blue hearts, ribbons, or other decorations in their windows, doors, or yards during the month of May. By doing so, they will be displaying their gratitude for the selfless work of our foster families. Individuals, businesses, and organizations who decorate their spaces are encouraged to share their photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FosterCareMonth and by tagging @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.

Read the full version of this release or via Adobe pdf file.

 

Additional Resources

 

April 30 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Wisconsin Shares Parent Letter – Continue to Pay Providers Using EBT Card
A letter to families with Wisconsin Shares subsidy funds on their EBT cards for February, March, and April is going out this week. The instructions in the letter request that parents continue to pay their providers during COVID-19, even if their child is not currently attending the center due to the health emergency. The letter is attached to this email. Spanish language parent letter.

The Department of Children and Families is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. If you have a disability and need to access services, receive information in an alternate format, or need information translated to another language, please call the Division of Early Care and Education at 608-422-6002. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled can use the free Wisconsin Relay Service (WRS) – 711 to contact the department.

Update Your Provider Portal Information
During these unprecedented times, it is vital that your Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP) information is current. Are you closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you open, but operating at a smaller capacity? Be sure to update your contact information, indicate if you are open, if you care for children with special needs, the number of slots you have available by age range, etc. Need access to the Provider Portal? Visit our CCPP information page for complete access instructions.

In the News

UW-Oshkosh’s Children’s Learning and Care Center continues to support families during COVID-19
April 27, 2020 | Liz Smith | uwosh.edu

Additional Resources

 

April 28 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

COVID-19 Child Care Grant Proposal Submitted for Approval
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) submitted a formal request today to the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) to use $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The grant proposal submitted by the department breaks the total $51 million allocation into three smaller funds, with each addressing a critical challenge identified by child care providers and legislative leaders.

A full version of this release can be found on DCF's web site and via Adobe pdf file.

When the proposed grant programs are approved, information on the grant application process will be available on the DCF website and shared via this listserv.

Gov. Evers Expands Opportunities for Certain Nonessential Businesses
Gov. Tony Evers announced yesterday another turn of the dial in expanding allowed operations for nonessential businesses. Read the full press release and the Emergency Order #34, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

In the News

Kimberly Childcare Center Back to Full Staff Through PPP Loan | Childcare centers provide a crucial service for other essential workers, but even though those businesses can keep their doors open, it hasn’t been easy. Despite the positive outlook, Cradle to Crayons had to drop from a 22-person staff to eight. But that changed when the business was chosen to receive funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Read the full story.

WEDC Secretary Shares Steps to Protect Small Businesses | WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes offers safety advice for businesses preparing to reopen under Gov. Evers Badger Bounce Back plan. Secretary Hughes says her office is also working on a data collection project to better understand the financial impact of the pandemic on small businesses.

Read the full story.

Additional Resources

 

April 23 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Upcoming and Recorded Coronavirus Webinars
ChildCare Aware of America is offering new and previously recorded webinars about Coronavirus and child care. Learn how states are responding to coronavirus and how you might apply learnings to your program.

Trauma Informed Care Approach Training for Afterschool Programs
The Trauma Informed Care Approach to Afterschool Programs is a virtual training being held on Friday, May 8 and Friday, May 22. This training will be held as a state-wide training, and registrants will complete additional assignments outside of two required virtual sessions (prior to and in between virtual sessions). Registration fee is $15.00 and deadline to register is April 27, 2020. This training provides 15 total hours of continuing education for afterschool staff who play a vital role in identifying a need for trauma related intervention and provide engaging experiences that build positive adaptive skills and social and emotional skills for kids who at the end of their school day may have exhausted their self-regulation capacity. Registration fee is $15.
Register soon because the deadline to register is April 27, 2020
If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Smith at smith.jenifer@marshfieldclinic.org.

In the News
Gov. Evers Announces Wisconsin is Taking Big Steps to Increase COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Additional Resources

 

April 21 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

CARES Act Funding for Child Care

On Wednesday, April 17, Governor Evers signed the legislature’s COVID relief package into law, becoming 2019 Act 185. This bill contains one specific provision for the Department of Children and Families (DCF), related to the Child Care Block Development (CCDBG) federal CARES Act funds, totaling $51M. The bill provisions place the CCDBG funds into two child welfare block grant appropriations, which requires DCF to submit a 16.54 request to the Joint Committee on Finance in order to access and provide funding to child care providers across the state.

Please note, although some states have been able to provide CARES Act funding directly to child care providers, the process of obtaining approval from the Joint Committee on Finance is a key component in Wisconsin’s process. More information on these funding opportunities will be shared via the Child Care listserv as it becomes available.

Background Check Requirements for New Child Care Facility Workers During Public Health Crisis

During the COVID-19 public health crisis, fingerprint requirements have been temporarily suspended. DCF will still conduct a name-based background check for all new individuals added to a child care facility after March 24, 2020, at no charge to providers. Eligibility for the emergency background check is temporary and will only be valid for the duration of the public health emergency.

Visit the Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP) to add new individuals to your location, initiating the name-based background check. Individuals who would like to provide child care, but are not connected to a facility, can initiate their background check using the iChildCare Portal.

Temporary eligibility will expire at the end of the emergency period, at which time DCF will reinstate the fingerprint requirements. Individuals with temporary eligibility will not be able to continue to work or reside in a DCF-regulated facility until an FBI fingerprint check is initiated. At that time, return to the CCPP or iChildCare websites to view the individual Reference Code(s) and instructions to complete the FBI fingerprint appointment at a Fieldprint location.

For questions about the temporary suspension of fingerprint requirements or the eligibility process, contact the Child Care Background Unit (CBU) by email at DCFPlicBECRCBU@wisconsin.gov or by phone at (608) 422-7400.

Free Webinar Series for Early Childhood Educators

As a part of the Crossnore School & Children’s Home, the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities is hosting a free webinar series for educators (everyone from early childhood through college) focused on trauma informed care.

  • April 28 at 1 pm CT - Self Care and Team Care During Isolation
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 972 1131 1876
  • May 5 at 1 pm CT - Learning to do a Community Meeting 
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 927 3740 4798

COVID-19 Child Care Listserv Message Archive
DCF is committed to keeping child care programs informed during this health care emergency. This public health crisis continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so DCF has created a place where child care programs can view messages that have been sent on the Child Care Listserv during the emergency. Read Previous Child Care Listserv Messages.

In the News
Gov. Evers Announces Wisconsin is Taking Big Steps to Increase COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Additional Resources

 

April 17 - Additional DECE Update - Extended Safer at Home Order

What the extended Safer at Home order means for child care providers
The extended Safer at Home order, released yesterday by Governor Evers, does not change the previously issued guidance for child care providers. Child care continues to be considered an essential workforce providing a critical need during this time.

Yesterday's order includes an expanded definition of "minimum basic operations employees" which allows additional workforce sectors to work in a limited, safe fashion during this time. Child care providers are still instructed to prioritize essential workforce families (defined below) for care. They should prioritize tier 1 essential workforce families (health care) first, tier 2 essential workforce families next, and families of minimum basic operations employees after that.

This Order is effective from Friday, April 24, 2020, through Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
 
DCF Essential Workforce Definition

  • Tier 1: employees, contractors, and other support staff working in health care;
  • Tier 2: employees, contractors, and other staff in vital areas including but not limited to military; long term care; residential care; pharmacies; child care; child welfare; government operations; public safety and critical infrastructure such as sanitation, transportation, utilities, telecommunications; grocery and food services; supply chain operations; and other sectors as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families.

 

April 16 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Gov. Evers Directs DHS to Extend Wisconsin's Safer at Home Order
Gov. Tony Evers today directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to extend the Safer at Home order from April 24, 2020 to 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. The order implements some new measures to ensure safety and support the progress we've made in containing COVID-19, but also allows certain activities to start up again. The order is available here.

DCF Guidance Order #29 Frequently Asked Questions on Administrative Rule Suspension
The Department of Children and Families posted a memo to provide guidance on frequently asked questions for recent rule changes related to the COVID-19 public health crisis.Read the full memo and view previous guidance orders and other provider-relevant information.

WECA’s COVID-19 Resources
The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) remains committed to supporting young Wisconsin children and the professionals who care for and educate them. To better serve these groups, WECA is keeping an updated list of resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic specific to Wisconsin’s early care and education workforce. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

Child Care Licensing and Certification Permanent Rule Changes
The permanent rules for DCF 13, 202, 250, 251, and 252 went into effect on April 1, 2020. The primary purpose of the rule changes was to ensure that the department’s certification and licensing child care rules comply with the health and safety requirements found in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. The rule also regroups the rules that address the same topics in different places, eliminates duplicative revisions, corrects errors, incorporates state statutory requirements, and clarifies language where needed to ensure proper implementation and administration of the health and safety requirements.

Printed rule books for licensed child care programs will be sent to each licensed location in early summer and commentary manuals will also be updated and available on the department’s website in early summer.

Due to the current COVID-19 public health crisis, the department will not be offering in-person trainings on the new rules at this time. However, we have created certification and licensing PowerPoints addressing the rule revisions will be available on the department’s website.

If you have any questions, please contact your regional licensing office.

Mark Your Calendars: DCF is Hosting Regional Conference Calls for Child Care Providers
Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information. Dates and times can be found below.

  • Southern region: April 17 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southeastern region : April 17 at 2-3 p.m.
  • Northern region: April 20 at 1-2 p.m. (RESCHEDULED from April 14)

New COVID-19 Child Care Listserv Message Archive
DCF is committed to keeping child care programs informed during this health care emergency. This public health crisis continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so DCF has created a place where child care programs can view messages that have been sent on the Child Care Listserv during the emergency.

Read Previous Child Care Listserv Messages.

In the News

Gov. Evers reads to children in video
April 15, 2020 | Stephen Cohn| Channel3000.com

Additional Resources

 

April 14 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Week of the Young Child
It is the Week of the Young Child and DCF is celebrating YOU! Families are lucky to have you supporting their child’s development during the early years. Thank you for providing high-quality care to Wisconsin’s little ones!

Evers Suspends Additional Rules for Child Care Programs
Yesterday, Governor Tony Evers issued Emergency Order #26, suspending administrative rules for DCF to keep child care opportunities available to critical staff while ensuring the safety of agency staff working with those facilities. The order provides DCF with flexibility on several requirements for child care providers operating group, family, and in-home settings, as well as a number of requirements for the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program.

A full version of this release can be found on DCF's website and via Adobe PDF file.

Wisconsin Shares Payments – May 2020
On April 4, 2020, Wisconsin Shares benefit balances that were available on families’ MyWIChildCare EBT cards were transferred from EBT cards to the corresponding child care provider bank accounts. This will again take place for the May 2020 benefit loads. The transfer will take place on or before May 8, 2020. This is being done to ensure that child care providers are paid regardless of children’s attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Mark Your Calendars: DCF is Hosting Regional Conference Calls for Child Care Providers
Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information. Dates and times can be found below.

  • Southeastern region #1*: April 15 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Western region: April 15 at 4-5 p.m.
  • Northeastern region: April 16 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southern region: April 17 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southeastern region #2*: April 17 at 2-3 p.m.
  • Northern region: April 20 at 1-2 p.m. (RESCHEDULED from April 14)

*Due the high number of providers in the Southeastern region, child care providers may participate on either call.

In the News
Gov. Evers issues order making childcare opportunities possible
April 13, 2020 | Brenda Ordonez | WeAreGreenBay.com

How does social distancing work in child care? Here's what the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA is doing.
April 13, 2020 | Amy Schwabe | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Additional Resources

April 9 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Legislative Package Request to Support Child Care
This press release provides a high-level overview of the proposals within the legislative package. While the outcome of these proposals is unknown at this time, it is important you know DCF appreciates the work of all child care providers, teachers and volunteers before, during, and after this pandemic.

Mark Your Calendars: DCF is Hosting Regional Conference Calls for Child Care Providers

  • Southern region: April 9 at 4-5 p.m. (CANCELLED): RESCHEDULED to April 17
  • Northern region: April 14 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southeastern region #1*: April 15 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Western region: April 15 at 4-5 p.m.
  • Northeastern region: April 16 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southern region: April 17 at 1-2 p.m. (NEW); RESCHEDULED from April 9
  • Southeastern region #2*: April 17 at 2-3 p.m.

 *Due the high number of providers in the Southeastern region, child care providers may participate on either call.
 Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information.
 
Webinar for Child Care Small Business Owners in the Great Lakes/Midwest Region: Register now!
This is a one-hour webinar on Friday, April 10, 2020 at 10 a.m. Please register now to attend.

As developments unfold in response to the spread of COVID-19, many child care small business owners in the Midwest and Great Lakes states have questions about safety, immediate funding for operations, and resources. Join Small Business Majority, Institute for Childhood Preparedness, and Illinois SBDC for a free webinar to discuss the various resources available to early child care providers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Topics include:

  • Health and safety recommendations for early child care providers, their employees, and clients
  • An overview of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
  • Navigating funding options and avoiding predatory lending
  • Updates on federal policy proposals and recommendations to immediately help small businesses

In the News

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans Immediately Available to Child Care Providers
April 3, 2020 | First Five Years Fund

What Grants and Loans Are Available to Family Child Care Providers?
April 6, 2020 | Tom Copeland

Additional Resources

April 7 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Individual educators who are interested in supporting the essential workforce, please complete information for background check
Thank you to those who are willing to provide care for the essential workforce! If you completed the initial survey, you should have received the text message below. Please click on the link and complete the personal information so DCF can run a free, name-based background check.

Text message:
Thank you for your willingness to help care for the children of essential workers during this challenging time. Before matching you with a family or child care facility, DCF needs some additional information from you in order to conduct a name-based background check, at no cost to you. Please to go https://ichildcare.wisconsin.gov/Login/Login?ReturnUrl=%2F for more details and to enter your information. 

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy: March and April 2020 funds deposited
Over this past weekend, DCF completed an automated process for Wisconsin Shares eligible families to complete a benefit transfer of the parents’ unspent March and April 2020 EBT card child care funds and deposited these funds directly in their authorized child care providers’ bank account through an ACH deposit on 4/6/20. 
 
Save the Date: DCF hosting regional conference calls for child care providers
• Southern region: April 9 at 4-5 pm
• Northern region: April 14 at 1-2 pm
• Southeastern region #1: April 15 at 1-2 pm
• Western region: April 15 at 4-5 pm
• Northeastern region: April 16 at 1-2 pm
• Southeastern region #2: April 17 at 2-3 pm
Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information.
 
Helping child care programs understand and navigate SBA loan options
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is hosting two upcoming webinars that will help center-based and family-based child care programs understand and navigate how they can get financial support to endure the COVID-19 public health crisis. The bulk of the webinar will focus on helping participants understand and navigate through the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan options. There will be a discussion on how this intersects with unemployment insurance. This webinar will to help attendees understand how the different payment options work, which ones are best for them, and what precise steps are needed to apply.
 
Register by clicking on the webinar below and filling out the registration page. Please note that the content for each webinar is the same but they are being offered in English and Spanish:
Register here for the webinar in English: Thursday, April 9 from 3:30-4:30 pm CT
Regístrese aquí para el seminario web en español: Friday, April 10 from 3:30-4:30 pm CT
 
In the News
Evers announces new partnership for COVID-19 tests, new site to find child care for essential workers
March 30, 2020| Sarah Thomsen

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans Immediately Available to Child Care Providers
April 3, 2020 | First Five Years Fund

What Grants and Loans Are Available to Family Child Care Providers?
April 6, 2020 | Tom Copeland
 
Additional Resources

*Please note that these web pages are updated frequently, so please check back often.

April 1 - New and Updated Information on Wisconsin Shares and Rule Flexibility

The department posted a Wisconsin Shares FAQ that provides updated information regarding Wisconsin Shares payments, authorizations, and administrative rules, as well as an update to the FAQ on other rule flexibility. Please visit the DCF COVID-19 Child Care web page for up-to-date information and resources.

March 30 - Child Care Taskforce and New Resources

Providing child care to the essential workforce is critical to flattening the curve of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. To meet this need, Governor Evers created the Child Care for Essential Workers Taskforce. Led by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the taskforce is working with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) and Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) to connect essential workforce families in need of child care with locally available child care resources.

DCF is excited to launch two new tools to help connect essential workforce families to local, safe child care. Health care workers and essential employees are now able to submit a request for care through the department’s updated Child Care Finder or proactively view up-to-date availability across the state using the department’s new child care map.

Please see the attached resources for more information regarding the Child Care for Essential Workers Taskforce and relevant information for parents. More information for providers, essential workers, and families can be found on the DCF COVID-19 Child Care web page.

March 30 - Surveys Closed - Update Your Provider Portal Information

During the past two weeks, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) sent out several child care provider surveys. Those surveys are now closed.

Essential Workers Still Need Child Care
We still have a many essential workers who are looking for child care. If you are a child care provider or educator who is willing to serve the families of essential workers, please update your information in the Child Care Provider Portal.

If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, please read the instructions on how to gain access on the Child Care Provider Portal Information page.

Provider availability information, coupled with incoming requests from essential workforce families, will be matched with a newly launched Placement Map which tracks available care by county. Staff from WECA and SFTA will be contacting you to match essential workforce families with your available slots.

Please continue to monitor the DCF COVID-19 Child Care web page for important information and updates.
 

March 27 - Child Care Provider Call: Audio and Summary Available

The audio recording and summary from yesterday’s Child Care Provider Call are available on the Child Care Information for Providers and Educators web page. Please continue to monitor this web page for updated resources.

March 25 - DCF Provider Call with Governor on 3/26 @ 1 p.m.

Child care providers are encouraged to join Governor Evers, Secretary Amundson, and Erin Arango-Escalante from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) on a conference call tomorrow, March 26, from 1-2 p.m. to discuss:

  • The Safer at Home emergency order #12 and implications for child care providers;
  • Department of Health Services emergency order 6, DCF orders 11 and 16;
  • Recently released COVID-19 information and best practices; and
  • Next steps for child care providers.

Conference call number: (line now closed)
Participant code: (code now closed)

Participants are encouraged to have a computer available during this call to review pertinent web pages and resources on the DCF website.
 

March 24 - Important Guidance on Safer at Home Order

Thank you again for your patience and flexibility. We recognize this is an incredibly destabilizing time for all Wisconsinites, but especially the early care and education community.

As promised earlier, we want to provide information for child care providers as it relates to Governor Evers’ Safer at Home order. The guidance can also be found on DCF's COVID-19 Guidance page. Additionally, I want to reminder you about the critical updates to the Provider Portal which will allow DCF to connect open providers with essential workforce families. Please take a few minutes today to update your information in the Provider Portal.

We know we are asking you to do the impossible – to continue serving families in an ever-changing public health crisis and to continue to do so currently with no additional resources. We recognize this situation and hear the concerns you have shared with the Department. We are actively working with the legislature to seek additional funding and with FEMA to secure critical resources.

Thank you for all you do for the children and families of Wisconsin. The department and state appreciate your service and commitment through this crisis.
 

March 24 - Urgent Updates to Provider Portal - Assisting Essential Workforce Families

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis. We will be releasing additional guidance as it relates to the Governor's Safer at Home order, but wanted to separately share information on updates to the Provider Portal.

Background
Access to child care for the essential workforce was deemed an essential objective by the state's emergency management planning team. DCF is the agency lead on the task force to respond to this objective. Our success is dependent on your ability to serve the families of essential workers - and we are committed to supporting and helping you.

To date, DCF has surveyed health care provider parents, child care providers, and educators. From the results of those surveys, DCF has partnered with Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&R) and Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) to help connect the healthcare providers who have needs with the services of child care providers (regulated and in-home options). Today, March 24, DCF is launching updates to our existing applications as well as the development of a new system to more quickly connect the essential workforce with care.

Provider Portal Updates
For DCF, WECA, and SFTA to most effectively match providers with essential workforce families, DCF has updated the Provider Portal to collect additional information. This information includes information like the number of spots available and the type of care you provide. Please update your information in Provider Portal as soon as possible and in an ongoing basis to notify us if you have spots open or if you are closing during COVID-19. Provider availability information, coupled with incoming requests from essential workforce families, will be matched with a newly launched Placement Map which tracks available care by county. Staff from WECA and SFTA will be contacting you to match essential workforce families with your available slots.

Help
User guides are available on the Agency Worker web page under the COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Authorization Manuals. Questions can be directed to DCFDECEBOPIT@wisconsin.gov.
 

March 23 - Updates on Governor Ever's Safer at Home

Many of you have heard Governor Evers’ recently announced he plans to sign a “Safer at Home” order. The order will request all non-essential businesses to close and all non-essential workers to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All child care programs serving health providers and essential workers are requested to stay open. You are providing a critical service in allowing essential workers to keep our communities safe and healthy.

We also want to make you aware that No Kid Hungry is offering real time funding and assistance for early child care providers that are making sure kids have access to the meals they need as schools close due to COVID-19. No Kid Hungry is providing emergency grants to support these local efforts like home delivered meals, grab and go meals programs, school and community pantries, backpack programs, and other steps to help reach children and families who lose access to meals. We’re providing $1 million in emergency grants on a rolling basis. This is the first phase of an ongoing multi-million dollar response. Please visit the linked COVID-19 support inquiry form to learn more.

Finally, if you need immediate supplies and resources, please contact 211 Wisconsin. 211 Wisconsin can help connect you with resources in your local community. If you still cannot find what you need, please contact DCF at dcfmbcovid19@wisconsin.gov and provide your contact information and a general idea of your needs.

We are incredibly appreciative of everything you are doing to serve families at this time. More guidance will be coming soon, so thank you in advance for your patience.
 

March 19 - Meeting Wisconsin's Child Care and School-Age Needs

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) are collaborating with The Registry Inc., Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA), Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA), and the Wisconsin Hospitals Association to ensure that the child care and school-age needs of Wisconsin's essential personnel are met during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are an educator who is able to serve, we’re seeking your help in providing care to Wisconsin’s essential personnel. Please fill out the below survey with your information and availability so we can connect you with local service needs. Thank you.

By filling out this survey, you may be considered to assist in providing child care for individuals who provide essential services in Wisconsin: (Survey is closed - please log in to the Wisconsin iChildCare Portal to submit your information.)
 

March 18 - Frequently Asked Questions on Emergency Order #6

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) produced a frequently asked questions document based on feedback we received from providers. The document is linked above and can also be found on the DCF COVID-19 web page. Please stay tuned for future updates and information. Please contact your licensor with specific questions.

March 18 - Governor's Order to Scale Down Child Care Footprint

The previous email linked to our guidance from 3/15/2020. The update information can be found at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/files/press/2020/dcf-order-2-covid-19.pdf. The link is also correct in the new text below.

Today, the Governor issued an order through the Department of Health Services that addresses child care. Specifically, it limits the size of operations to 10 or fewer staff at the same time, and 50 or fewer children at the same time. We understand the landscape of child care has been changing rapidly and want to reiterate how critical your work is. We also know you are being asked to make difficult decisions daily with regard to continuing to be open and are experience staff fluctuations linked to many aspects of changes happening in our state. DCF has updated its guidance to reflect today's order to support providers staying open.

Wisconsin needs child care programs and early childhood educators now more than ever before. Your critical skills and expertise can help to ensure care is available for the families of health care providers, first responders, and vital public services so that they can continue to provide resources to your fellow Wisconsinites. We want to support you and these families. To that end, we are asking your help in surveying the landscape by filling out one or both of the surveys below if you haven't already done so. Organization staff across the state will be reaching out soon to confirm your status.

The state is working on a legislative package that will provide the necessary funding for child care workers and providers serving essential services families. We will need your help to mobilize in support of this package to get passage in the legislature. Additionally, DCF is working with the national guard to respond to the supply needs of child care programs willing to help with this critical work. We appreciate your time and consideration in working with us to hold up the critical workforce in our state.
 

March 18 - WFCCA Conference Postponed

Out of concern for all involved, the Wisconsin Family Child Care Association (WFCCA) has decided to postpone the 2020 Wisconsin Family Child Care Association Conference. The disappointment in having to postpone the event is far overshadowed by the intention to protect all those planning to attend.

WFCCA is currently working on plans to reschedule the conference for September 10-12, 2020, to be held at the Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells. All updates will also be posted on their website www.wisconsinfamilychildcare.org.

WFCCA is offering a transfer of paid fees to the September dates, or a full refund without penalty, whichever you choose. Please contact WFCCA by April 20 regarding your choice to receive a refund, or to transfer paid fees to the September dates. If you have hotel reservations, you can transfer them to September at no extra charge or please cancel them at your earliest convenience.

If you have any questions about your transfer or a refund, please contact Sarah Fleming at sfleming2@new.rr.com or 920.851.3384. If you have any other questions, please contact Tara Ebben at tikesntotsfcc@aol.com or 920.585.1778.

Wishing you and your community safety and good health in this difficult time!

March 17 - Access to Online Early Childhood Resources

This message is being sent on behalf of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA).

In response to COVID-19 and the closing of many child care programs and the cancellation of in-person trainings, the Wisconsin Shared Education Resources (WISER) is offering free access to online tools and resources to assist you with professional development during this national crisis. This Free WISER Platform Resource is available to all Wisconsin regulated child care programs on behalf of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association.

For more information, visit www.wiserece.org and register today.

March 17 - COVID-19 Updates for Early Care and Education Providers

We want to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for each of you as leaders and partners as we navigate this difficult and uncertain time. We know that some of you have chosen to close for the weeks that schools are closed. Others are staying open to meet the needs of families. And others of you may be doing a variation of things. In all cases, we understand and support your decision. You are doing what you have always done - protecting our most vulnerable children and families.

If your program is closing or in danger of closing because of lack of available supplies or staff during this emergency, please fill out this survey on the Department of Children and Families (DCF) website at (survey form is now closed) to indicate what essential supplies you would need in order to remain open.

As schools close due to COVID-19, we are working to find local early care and education (ECE) options for health care and emergency workers. Please respond to this survey which asks about the status of your ECE program. It’s critical that we collect this information as soon as possible. Please complete this survey by 3:00pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020. If you miss that time, still complete the survey as we will be collecting this information on an on-going basis. If your status changes, please contact your licensing specialist and local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R).
(Survey is now closed.)

Several licensing rules have also been suspended for the duration of this emergency, including capacity. For more information on these waivers, please see our COVID-19 web page.

Do not hesitate to email DCFMBCOVID19@wisconsin.gov or contact your local CCR&R with any questions. We are all in this together. As always, our top priority is the health and safety of our children, our early care and education providers, and the community.
 

March 15 - Rule Flexibility Granted for Several Child Care Rules

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was granted waivers today to several rules detailed below to give providers and families additional flexibility in seeking child care. A brief description of some of the more come complex rule waivers follows this table.

Temporary rule changes table for COVD-19

On March 13, 2020 Governor Evers signed Executive Order #72 which declares a public health emergency in Wisconsin. Governor Evers signed an order today using Executive Order #72 to grant DCF authority to waive the rules detailed above. The rules will be waived during the time of crisis and will go back into effect upon its conclusion. The rule flexibility and guidance issued earlier today can both be found on DCF's COVID-19 web page.

DCF recognizes that child care providers may receive new requests to provide child care services for additional school age children due to school closures when families must continue to report to their work activity. Therefore, several child care regulations will be waived in order to address the emergency needs of child care program capacity to serve children and to recognize the needs of child care programming to remain available.

In order to support child care programs that remain open during this time the Department has reviewed Wisconsin Shares Administrative Rules and has requested waivers to provide families with Emergency Wisconsin Shares eligibility determination and child care authorizations to expedite payment directly to child care programs for a portion of the cost of child care. Families that do not currently receive Wisconsin Shares can request an authorization during the emergency period by contacting the local county/tribal Wisconsin Shares agency. Parents can select any regulated child care program.

Eligible Wisconsin Shares recipients will have their authorizations continued to support continuity of care and ensure payment continues to regulated child care programming, regardless of child attendance or absence.

Please continue to check with your county health departments for any local issues that may be in place. This continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so watch for additional updates to this guidance and future communications on the child care listserv.

March 15 - Guidance for Health and Safety of Child Care Providers

The department is committed to helping keep child care programs open during this time of crisis. Child care is a vital resource for many of our first responders who are actively assisting our friends, family, and neighbors. We understand and appreciate the challenges many of you face and value your continued efforts to serve the children and families of Wisconsin.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has worked with the Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to develop guidance for keeping the children in your care, your staff, and yourself safe. The guidance can be found on the DCF and DHS websites. Please continue to check with your county health departments for any local issues that may be in place. This continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so watch for additional updates to this guidance and future communications on the child care listserv.

March 13 - Administration Orders School Closures

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm to issue a statewide closure of all public and private schools for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities as part of the state’s efforts to respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. The mandated closure of schools will begin on Wednesday, March 18, with an anticipated reopening on April 6. The date of reopening is subject to change and districts may choose to close earlier if they elect to do so.


The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is working in collaboration other state agencies to provide updated information to all child care providers and county/tribal agencies. In order to support child care providers, families and communities, DCF is reviewing regulatory requirements and WI Shares eligibility, authorization, and payment practices. Due to the closure of all Wisconsin schools, there may be an increase in the need for child care, especially for school-age children. Child care providers will need to evaluate their ability to provide care to all children. Please visit DCF's website for update-to-date information and direct all questions to DCFMBCOVID19@wisconsin.gov. For more information and available resources on COVID-19, please visit the DHS website.
 

March 5 - Coronavirus Guidance for Early Care and Education Programs

As you are likely aware, there has been a recent outbreak of a new strain of human coronavirus, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The main way COVID-19 is spread to others is when the infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza is spread. It can also be spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it, and that individual then touches their mouth, face, or eyes.

Although one case of COVID-19 has been detected in Wisconsin, the risk to the general public is low. Individuals should remain vigilant by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick. Influenza and other respiratory viruses are very common in Wisconsin at this time of year.


How this virus may affect your child care program
DHS has declared that COVID-19 is a reportable condition under Wis. Stat. ch. 252 and DHS 145. Therefore, any confirmed case of COVID-19 in your center must be reported to the department within 24 hours after the center is notified of the diagnosis. The center shall also notify the parents of all enrolled children and the local health department. See DCF 202.08(4)(k), 250.04(3)(m), 251.04(3)(m), 251.04(4)(a)1., 252.41(2)(m), and 252.41(5)(b).


In preparation for possible additional cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, programs are encouraged to review center policies regarding illnesses for staff and children in care. Now would also be a good time to remind parents of these policies.


For more information on COVID-19, please see the following: