Child care information for essential workers

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How do I request child care?

Thank you for your continued service to Wisconsin during the COVID-19 crisis. All new requests for child care from essential workers should be submitted through the Child Care Finder, a web-based platform that will collect all the information needed to get your request going. Essential workers who already submitted through our previous survey were automatically added and do not need to take any action. Families of essential workers are also encouraged to use the searchable map to identify potential providers that meet their needs.

Who is considered an essential worker?

Essential workers are employees, contractors, and other staff in vital areas that keep our communities healthy and functional. As defined by Emergency Order #12, essential workers are grouped into two tiers, with tier one taking priority over tier two, as defined below:

Tier One: employees, contractors, and other support staff working in health care

Tier Two: 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 department.

How do we know it’s safe?

DCF and the Department of Health Services (DHS) issued guidance to preserve the health and safety of children, their families, and our child care workers. Effective Thursday, March 18, Governor Evers directed DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to restrict the size of all child care settings. Centers may not operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and may not operate with more than 50 children present at a time. You can find information on how families can comply with Safer at Home in a helpful guide produced by the department.

Essential businesses interested in child care for their employees

Child care centers across the state are staying open to support essential workforce families. Individuals and organizations should consult the DCF map to identify available child care in their area. If your workforce is large enough that it exceeds available child care or there is not enough availability at local child care centers, you may consider establishing a new emergency child care center, either on-site or with a local partner. To learn more about this option and the steps you need to take, check out our Emergency Child Care Toolkit