Información en español

Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program

Cartoon image of children playing in garden

June Child Care Counts Application/Update Week is closed.

The next application/update week is July 25-29.

See the Child Care Counts Calendar for future Count and Application Weeks.

Payment letters for June will be posted on July 15, 2022.

 


What You Need to Do During Update Application Week

  • If you were approved for payments in the previous month, you must update your application in the Provider Portal during the Update/Application Week.
    • Indicate if you were open during the count week, verify any temporary closures, and make any changes to children/staff during the count week.
    • Be sure to click/tap “submit” in your updated application. Your application status should change from “Review Needed” to “Submitted” once you have successfully updated your application.
    • See the Update Week section of the FAQs for more information.
  • If you were not approved for the previous month payment, or if you did not apply, you may apply or re-apply during the next Update/Application Week.

Child Care Counts and Temporary Closures

Providers who have already been approved for payments for the prior month may continue to be eligible for payments if closed due to COVID exposure during a future Count Week. This includes temporary closures that last through the entire Count Week.

NOTE: Only temporary closures reasons of COVID-19 Exposure of Staff to COVID-19 or COVID-19 Exposure of Child(ren) to COVID-19 may be eligible for payments. 

See this Temporary Closure guide for instructions on entering temporary closures in the Child Care Counts application, and visit the COVID Guidance section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.


Important Dates and Spending Deadlines

All Stabilization Payment Program funds must be spent within 120 days from the date of the payment letter. See the Use of Funds section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

Month Update / Application
Week
Count Week Payment
Letter Date
Spending
Deadline
November  2021 11/08 - 11/29/21 10/24 - 11/06/21 12/10/21 4/9/22
December 2021 12/13 - 12/17/21 11/28 - 12/11/21 1/7/22 5/7/22
January 2022 1/17 - 1/21/22 1/2 - 1/15/22 2/11/22 6/11/22
February 2022 2/14 - 2/18/22 1/30 - 2/12/22 3/11/22 7/9/22
March 2022 3/14 - 3/18/22 2/27 - 3/12/22 4/8/22 8/6/22
April 2022 4/11 - 4/15/22 3/27 - 4/9/22 5/13/22 9/10/22
May 2022 5/16 - 5/20/22 5/1 - 5/14/22 6/10/22 10/8/22
June 2022 6/20 - 6/24/22 6/5 - 6/18/22 7/15/22 11/12/22
July 2022 7/25 - 7/29/22 7/10 - 7/23/22 8/19/22 12/17/22

 


Child Care Counts Call Center hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. M-F.


The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is launching an updated Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. Regulated child care providers will be eligible to receive monthly payments through 2023, providing the financial stability they need to stay open, to recruit and retain qualified staff, and to continue providing high-quality care for children.

A total of $351 million in funds will be available over the next 18 months and will be distributed through two programs targeting the challenges early care and education providers are facing. Details about each program can be found below.


Payment Program A – Increasing Access to High-Quality Care

This payment program is intended to ensure high-quality care is available across the state by supporting the costs to remain in regulatory compliance, enhance health and safety practices, and promote continuous quality improvement with engagement in the YoungStar Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Payment Program B – Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

This payment program is intended to support the costs associated with recruiting and retaining high-quality early care and education staff through funding to increase compensation and provide professional development opportunities.

Definition of Terms

There are some changes for this round of Child Care Counts, including some new terms that are used to define different points in time, and how payments are determined.

Definition of Terms – Points in Time during the Stabilization Program

Please see the Child Care Counts Calendar for all dates listed below. Providers can add reminders to their own calendars by clicking ‘add to my calendar.’

Application Week

The time frame during which providers can apply for the Child Care Counts Stabilization Payment Program.

  • This is when the Child Care Counts application is open and available in the Child Care Provider Portal
  • Providers who have not previously submitted an application can apply during this time
  • Providers who were ineligible, whose applications were previously denied, or who withdrew from the program may reapply during this time

Monthly Update Week

The time frame when providers who applied and who were approved in a previous month report any changes or confirm child attendance and staffing. 

  • Once approved for funding, providers must update child attendance and staffing every month during this time
  • For example, if a provider submitted their application and were approved in November, they must update child and/or staff information during the Monthly Update Week in December (and each subsequent month)

Count Week

The point in time for which child and staff information is collected for payment calculations.

  • The Count Week will be different for each month
  • The Count Week will be specified in each application in the Child Care Provider Portal, and providers must update the child attendance and/or staffing records for this time period each month 

Definition of Terms – How Payments are Determined 

Spending Deadline 
All Child Care Counts Stabilization Payment Program funds must be spent within 120 days of the date of Payment Letter for the given month.  Costs must have been incurred between March 12, 2020 and 120 days from the date of the payment letter. 

Base Per-Staff Amount 

Program B payment amount for each eligible full-time/part-time staff listed in the application.

  • All Base Per-Staff funds must be spent to increase staff compensation (wages, bonuses, or benefits)
  • Each staff person included in the application must receive compensation (through wages, bonuses, or benefits) equal or greater than the Per-Staff Base Amount listed in the Payment Letter

Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount 

Program B additional payment amount based on YoungStar star level for each eligible full-time/part-time staff listed in the application.

  • This portion of the Program B payment must be used for staff, but it is more flexible than the Base Per-Staff Amount, including wage increases, bonuses, benefits, and professional development (staff training, scholarships, and other continuing education expenses)

 

What's New for this Round of Child Care Counts?

The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program is different from previous rounds of Child Care Counts. Some of these changes are highlighted below. 

Monthly Payments 

The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program is a nine-month payment program that runs November 2021 through July 2022. It will be followed by an additional nine-month payment program, with the renewal application opening in August 2022. Once approved for payments, providers will continue to receive ongoing monthly payments by continuing to meet eligibility requirements and adhering to the program Terms and Conditions

Required Child and Staff Records 

Certain verification documents must be uploaded with the Child Care Counts application. Providers cannot submit an application without uploading these documents. 

Required documents include: 

  • Program A – Child Attendance Records 
  • Program B – Staff Records (employment status, part/full-time status, and current wages/rate of pay), and Child Attendance Records (if they were not already uploaded for Program A) 

Required Monthly Updates 

Once approved for payments, providers must update child and staff information every month to maintain eligibility for ongoing payments. This is done during the Monthly Update Week in the Child Care Provider Portal. 

Providers may be required to submit additional verification documents at any point. If this is required, a message will display in the application in the Child Care Provider Portal, indicating that new documentation is required. 

Spending Deadlines 

Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program funds must be spent within 120 days of the date of the Payment Letter for the given month.  Costs must have been incurred between March 12, 2020 and 120 days from the date of the payment letter.

Providers should keep records of each monthly payment received, as well as how those funds are spent. 

Changes to Program A

Program A now includes an additional per child amount for children who receive Wisconsin Shares. 

The allowable use of funds for Program A now include relief from copayments and tuition payments for families. Providers are encouraged to used Program A funds for this purpose, if financially possible, prioritizing families most in need of financial relief. Wisconsin Shares subsidies to families cannot be reimbursed. 

Focus on Supporting Staff for Program B

Program B payments are designed to support early care and education staff. 

All approved providers will receive a Base Per-Staff Amount. This is a fixed amount that will be included in each month’s Payment Letter. This amount must go entirely to the staff listed on that month’s application, in the form of a wage increase, bonus, or benefits. 

Providers participating in YoungStar will receive an additional Quality Incentive Per Staff Amount. This amount is tiered based on YoungStar level. 

Open Providers

Providers must be open and caring for children to be eligible for payments. There may be an exception to this requirement for providers temporarily closed due to COVID exposure.  

While there are some big changes with this round of Child Care Counts, many things remain the same. Providers will still apply through the Child Care Provider Portal. We have a number of resources available to assist with applying, maintaining eligibility, keeping track of important dates, and keeping records of approved spending. As always, we have the Child Care Counts call center available to assist with any questions you may have. 
 

 

Payment Program A - Increasing Access to High-Quality Care 

Who Can Apply

  • Regulated child care providers
    • Licensed Group Centers
    • Licensed Family Providers
    • Licensed Day Camps
    • Certified Providers
    • License-exempt Public School Programs

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be regulated and in good standing as defined by DCF during the Count Week and as of the last date of the Application Week and subsequent Monthly Update Weeks
  • Must be open and caring for children ages 0 through 12, or under 19 for children with disabilities, during the Count Week identified for each month
  • Must update child and staff information every month following initial application
  • Must be in compliance with background check requirements
  • Must follow health and safety administrative rules for child care providers as outlined by DCF Child Care Regulation and meet the requirements of any local orders, and to the greatest extent possible, implement policies in line with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for child care programs.
  • Currently repaying any overpayment and/or in compliance with any Wisconsin Shares or Child Care Counts overpayments that are owed.
  • Agree to the payment program Terms and Conditions
     

Allowable Use of Funds

  • Payment Program A – Increasing Access to High-Quality Care funds must be used to support reasonable and necessary costs of maintaining or enhancing high-quality care, which include:
    • Operating expenses, necessary to remain open or reopen, including, but not limited to mortgage, rent/space costs, utilities, insurance, business-related taxes, and payroll/benefits
    • Expenses related to mitigating the risk of COVID-19, including but not limited to personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies for cleaning and sanitation
    • Materials/supplies for enhancing the program environment and curriculum, and  social and emotional development supports
    • Professional development and/or continuing education
    • Additional costs to ensure high-quality programming
    • Mental health services for children and employees
    • Provide relief from copayments and tuition payments for families
      • Families can be relieved of out-of-pocket costs, such as tuition or co-pays paid for child care. Wisconsin Shares payments to families cannot be reimbursed.

Spending Timeframe

  • Funds received each month under this program must be spent within 120 days of the date of Payment Letter for the given month
  • Expenses cannot have already been funded by a prior DCF program or reimbursed by another state or federal fund source
  • Costs must have been incurred between March 12, 2020 and 120 days from the date of the payment letter.

 

Payment Program B - Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention 

Who Can Apply

  • Regulated child care providers
    • Licensed Group Centers
    • Licensed Family Providers
    • Licensed Day Camps
    • Certified Providers
    • License-exempt Public School Programs

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be regulated and in good standing as defined by DCF during the Count Week and as of the last date of the Application Week and subsequent Monthly Update Weeks
  • Must be open and caring for children ages 0 through 12, or under 19 for children with disabilities, during the Count Week identified for each month
  • Must update child and staff information every month following initial application
  • Must be in compliance with background check requirements
  • Must follow health and safety administrative rules for child care providers as outlined by DCF Child Care Regulation and meet the requirements of any local orders, and to the greatest extent possible, implement policies in line with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for child care programs.
  • Currently repaying any overpayment and/or in compliance with any Wisconsin Shares or Child Care Counts overpayments that are owed.
  • Agree to the payment program Terms and Conditions

Allowable Use of Funds

Payment Program B funds must be used to support necessary and reasonable costs associated with recruiting and retaining high-quality staff by providing wage increases, bonuses and/or benefits to current or future employees with approved background checks.

  • Base Per-Staff Amount must be used to increase compensation (wages, bonuses, or benefits) for each staff person included in that month’s Count Week
  • Quality Incentive Per-staff Amount must be used toward one or more of the following: wage increases, bonuses, benefits, professional development, staff trainings, scholarships, or other continuing education expenses

Spending Time Frame

  • Funds received each month under this program must be spent within 120 days of the date of Payment Letter for the given month.
  • Expenses cannot have already been funded by a prior program or reimbursed by another state or federal fund source.
  • Costs must have been incurred between March 12, 2020 and 120 days from the date of the payment letter.

 

How to Apply

Applications for the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program must be submitted through the Child Care Provider Portal

Child Care Counts Application Guide

This guide provides step-by-step instructions on submitting your application for the two available payment programs.

Learn how to apply for Program A - view this step-by-step video for complete instructions.

Learn how to apply for Program B - view this step-by-step video for complete instructions. 

 

Child Care Provider Portal

  • If you do not have access to the Child Care Provider Portal, you can request access and log in following these instructions. The instructions are also available in this short video
  • We recommend that you submit your application through the Child Care Provider Portal. This will allow you to see upcoming Payment Program opportunities and see the status of your applications. 

If you are unable to gain access to the Provider Portal, or choose not to, you may submit your application over the phone with a DCF representative. Please email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov and include your name, facility name, provider number, and the best time to reach you. If you are unable to email, you may call and leave your details at 608-535-3650. Please note that email is recommended for faster response. Call Center hours are 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Si necesita ayuda en español, por favor envíe un correo electrónico DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

 

How Payments are Determined

November 2021 Payment Amounts (Payment Letter Date 12/10/21)

Payment Letter Date 12/10/21
Note: Payment amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received.

Payment Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care

Payment Program A is based on child information and attendance during the Count Week.

The Per-Child Amount is calculated based on the number of children entered in the application for the Count Week.

The Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount is in addition to the Per-Child Amount. Providers will receive this additional funding for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Per-Child Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $115 $175
2-3 $100 $135
4-5 $55 $85
6+ $35 $50
Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $30 $50
2-3 $30 $50
4-5 $25 $40
6+ $25 $40

 

Payment Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

All approved programs will receive a Base Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on the number of staff included in the Count Week, calculated by employment status (full-time/part-time).

Programs participating in YoungStar will also receive a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on employment status (full-time/part-time) and YoungStar level. 

Base Per-Staff Amount
  Part-Time Full-Time
  $75 $150
Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount
Star Level Part-Time Full-Time
2 Star $25 $50
3 Star $75 $150
4 Star $125 $250
5 Star $175 $350

 

December 2021 Payment Amounts (Payment Letter Date 1/7/22)

Payment Letter Date 1/7/22

Temporary Increase to Program A Per-Child Payment Amounts
In response to the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, DCF is pleased to announce a temporary increase of $10 for each Per-Child Payment Amount through Program A. These additional amounts are intended to assist with operating costs amidst the increase in COVID-19 cases. This increase is reflected in the January 10, 2022 payment letters and the updated December payment amounts are listed below. 

Note: Payment amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received.

Payment Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care

Payment Program A is based on child information and attendance during the Count Week.

The Per-Child Amount is calculated based on the number of children entered in the application for the Count Week.

The Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount is in addition to the Per-Child Amount. Providers will receive this additional funding for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Per-Child Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $125 $185
2-3 $110 $145
4-5 $65 $95
6+ $45 $60
Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $30 $50
2-3 $30 $50
4-5 $25 $40
6+ $25 $40

 

Payment Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

All approved programs will receive a Base Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on the number of staff included in the Count Week, calculated by employment status (full-time/part-time).

Programs participating in YoungStar will also receive a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on employment status (full-time/part-time) and YoungStar level. 
 

Base Per-Staff Amount
  Part-Time Full-Time
  $75 $150
Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount
Star Level Part-Time Full-Time
2 Star $25 $50
3 Star $75 $150
4 Star $125 $250
5 Star $175 $350

 

 

January 2022 Payment Amounts (Payment Letter Date 2/11/22)

Payment Letter Date 2/11/22

January Payment Amounts include the $10 Temporary Increase to Program A Per-Child Payment Amounts to assist with operating costs amidst the increase in COVID-19 cases. This increase is reflected in payment letters dated February 1, 2022, and listed below. This increase applies ONLY to the December and January payments, and will be discontinued as of the February Payment. 

Note: Payment amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received.

Payment Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care

Payment Program A is based on child information and attendance during the Count Week.

The Per-Child Amount is calculated based on the number of children entered in the application for the Count Week.

The Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount is in addition to the Per-Child Amount. Providers will receive this additional funding for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Per-Child Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $125 $185
2-3 $110 $145
4-5 $65 $95
6+ $45 $60
Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $30 $50
2-3 $30 $50
4-5 $25 $40
6+ $25 $40

 

Payment Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

All approved programs will receive a Base Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on the number of staff included in the Count Week, calculated by employment status (full-time/part-time).

Programs participating in YoungStar will also receive a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on employment status (full-time/part-time) and YoungStar level. 
 

Base Per-Staff Amount
  Part-Time Full-Time
  $75 $150
Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount
Star Level Part-Time Full-Time
2 Star $25 $50
3 Star $75 $150
4 Star $125 $250
5 Star $175 $350

 

 

February 2022 Payment Amounts (Payment Letter Date 3/11/22)

Payment Letter Date 3/11/22

Note: Payment amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received.

Payment Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care

Payment Program A is based on child information and attendance during the Count Week.

The Per-Child Amount is calculated based on the number of children entered in the application for the Count Week.

The Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount is in addition to the Per-Child Amount. Providers will receive this additional funding for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Per-Child Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $115 $175
2-3 $100 $135
4-5 $55 $85
6+ $35 $50
Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $30 $50
2-3 $30 $50
4-5 $25 $40
6+ $25 $40

 

Payment Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

All approved programs will receive a Base Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on the number of staff included in the Count Week, calculated by employment status (full-time/part-time).

Programs participating in YoungStar will also receive a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on employment status (full-time/part-time) and YoungStar level. 
 

Base Per-Staff Amount
  Part-Time Full-Time
  $75 $150
Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount
Star Level Part-Time Full-Time
2 Star $25 $50
3 Star $75 $150
4 Star $125 $250
5 Star $175 $350

 

 

March 2022 Payment Amounts (Payment Letter Date 4/8/22)

Payment Letter Date 4/8/22

Note: Payment amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received.

Payment Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care

Payment Program A is based on child information and attendance during the Count Week.

The Per-Child Amount is calculated based on the number of children entered in the application for the Count Week.

The Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount is in addition to the Per-Child Amount. Providers will receive this additional funding for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Per-Child Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $115 $175
2-3 $100 $135
4-5 $55 $85
6+ $35 $50
Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $30 $50
2-3 $30 $50
4-5 $25 $40
6+ $25 $40

 

Payment Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

All approved programs will receive a Base Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on the number of staff included in the Count Week, calculated by employment status (full-time/part-time).

Programs participating in YoungStar will also receive a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on employment status (full-time/part-time) and YoungStar level. 
 

Base Per-Staff Amount
  Part-Time Full-Time
  $75 $150
Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount
Star Level Part-Time Full-Time
2 Star $25 $50
3 Star $75 $150
4 Star $125 $250
5 Star $175 $350

 

 

April 2022 Payment Amounts (Payment Letter Date 5/13/22)

Payment Letter Date 5/13/22

Note: Payment amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received.

Payment Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care

Payment Program A is based on child information and attendance during the Count Week.

The Per-Child Amount is calculated based on the number of children entered in the application for the Count Week.

The Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount is in addition to the Per-Child Amount. Providers will receive this additional funding for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Per-Child Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $115 $175
2-3 $100 $135
4-5 $55 $85
6+ $35 $50
Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $30 $50
2-3 $30 $50
4-5 $25 $40
6+ $25 $40

 

Payment Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

All approved programs will receive a Base Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on the number of staff included in the Count Week, calculated by employment status (full-time/part-time).

Programs participating in YoungStar will also receive a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on employment status (full-time/part-time) and YoungStar level. 
 

Base Per-Staff Amount
  Part-Time Full-Time
  $75 $150
Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount
Star Level Part-Time Full-Time
2 Star $25 $50
3 Star $75 $150
4 Star $125 $250
5 Star $175 $350

 

 

May 2022 Payment Amounts (Payment Letter Date 6/10/22)

Payment Letter Date 6/10/22

Note: Payment amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received.

Payment Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Child Care

Payment Program A is based on child information and attendance during the Count Week.

The Per-Child Amount is calculated based on the number of children entered in the application for the Count Week.

The Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount is in addition to the Per-Child Amount. Providers will receive this additional funding for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Per-Child Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $115 $175
2-3 $100 $135
4-5 $55 $85
6+ $35 $50
Wisconsin Shares Add-On Amount
Age Part-Time Full-Time
0-1 $30 $50
2-3 $30 $50
4-5 $25 $40
6+ $25 $40

 

Payment Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention

All approved programs will receive a Base Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on the number of staff included in the Count Week, calculated by employment status (full-time/part-time).

Programs participating in YoungStar will also receive a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. This amount is based on employment status (full-time/part-time) and YoungStar level. 
 

Base Per-Staff Amount
  Part-Time Full-Time
  $75 $150
Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount
Star Level Part-Time Full-Time
2 Star $25 $50
3 Star $75 $150
4 Star $125 $250
5 Star $175 $350

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions - Updated

Please read through the frequently asked questions before contacting DCF for assistance. Many answers to your questions may be available here.  

General

Where can I find information about all rounds of Child Care Counts?

You can find dates and information for all rounds of Child Care Counts on the Child Care Counts Payment Program Overview page

Are Head Start programs eligible to apply for Child Care Counts?

Yes. All regulated programs are eligible to apply.

Who is eligible to apply for Payment Program A?

Regulated (licensed, certified, or public school license-exempt) child care providers that are currently open and providing care to children. See additional eligibility and requirements for Program A.

Will there be additional funds available for children who attended during non-standard hours or who have disabilities? 

Not yet. We plan to add these enhancements in early 2022.

Who is eligible to apply for Payment Program B?

Regulated (licensed, certified, or public school license-exempt) child care providers that are currently open and providing care to children. See additional eligibility and requirements for Program B.

I am temporarily closed during the Count Week. Can I still apply?

No. Providers must be open and caring for children to be eligible for payments. If closed due to COVID-19 exposure, see COVID Guidance section for more information.

I was open and caring for children during the Count Week identified in the application, but I am currently temporarily closed. Can I still apply?

Yes. Providers may apply if they are open and caring for children during the Count Week. If temporarily closed during the Application Week, providers must reopen within 14 days. See COVID Guidance section for more information.

Can I apply for more than one program during the application period?

Yes. Eligible child care providers are encouraged to apply for both Program A and Program B.

I applied for a previous round of Child Care Counts funding. Do I have to submit a new application for Payment Programs A & B?

Yes. Providers must submit new applications for this new round of funding. For providers who previously applied, much of the previous information will be copied into the current application. Please review all information that is automatically filled in on the application to make sure it is accurate, and update as needed.

What happens after I submit my application?

Providers will be notified via email when payment letters are available. The email will provide instructions to log in to the Provider Portal to view the payment letter. If there are issues with accessing the Provider Portal, email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for assistance.

What if I can’t comply with the Terms and Conditions?

Email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov to discuss the details of the situation. Providers may need to return the funds that were received if unable to meet the Terms and Conditions of the payment program.

Are child care providers required to follow health and safety guidelines in order to apply for the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program?

Yes. Child care providers must implement policies and practices in compliance with:

  • Health and safety administrative rules as outlined by DCF Child Care Regulation
  • Requirements of any local orders
  • To the greatest extent possible, guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for child care providers

When will I receive my payment?

  • If registered with FIS, it may take up to seven (7) business days from the date of the payment letter.
  • If not registered with FIS, it may take up to 14 business days from the date of completed W-9.

 

Application Process - Updated

What staff payroll documents need to be uploaded for Program B? 

During your initial application, you are required to upload documentation that verifies the staff entered on the application were employed or on payroll during the Count Week. 

You may submit your most recent payroll documents to verify their employment status and wage. This does not have to be payroll from the Count Week. 

This documentation must include: 

  • Staff full name
  • Staff current hourly wage or yearly salary
  • Schedule or worked hours (to confirm part-time or full-time status)

Example: Jane Smith is a lead teacher, works full-time (21 hours or more per-week), and is paid $15.25 an hour. The recent paycheck was issued on November 5 for the time worked October 10 – October 23. Submitting the most recent payroll for the individual that verifies employment status, wage, and hours worked is an acceptable form of documentation.

Example: ABC Day Care does not have formal payroll and pays employees with business checks. The provider can submit the employee’s schedule and a hire letter. The schedule will verify the hours worked (full-time or part-time). The hire letter will verify the individual as an employee and their wage. 

I am family provider and I am not sure how to prove my wage?

Many family providers do not have formal payroll due to smaller business operations. Owners/licensees who are family providers should submit a document that includes the following: 

  • Full name
  • Facility name 
  • Hours of operation
  • Indicate operations hours you directly work to establish full or part-time status
  • Total tuition amount for Count Week
  • Must be signed and dated

You may use this Employment and Wage Verification for Family Providers Form, your own Word document or write this information on a sheet of paper and upload this with your application. 

What are the new terms that are used for the Stabilization program? 

You'll find the new terms in the Definitions accordion on this page. 

How do I apply?

Providers can enter Child Care Counts applications through the Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP). Please see the CCPP Access Guide for instructions on how to access the Child Care Provider Portal. See the Application Guide for additional information on how to enter an application into Child Care Provider Portal.

Why do I have to upload documents for this round of Child Care Counts Payments?

This payment program will span over 9 months, and it will only require one application. DCF requires that providers verify children and staff that will be counted for monthly calculations.

I am only applying for Program B, why do I have to upload child attendance records?

Per the Terms & Conditions, providers must be open and caring for children during the Count Week in order to receive funding through Program B.

The upload tab in the Provider Portal will have options to enter staff records and child care attendance. If you apply for Program A later in the application week or in a later month, the new application will require uploading attendance records. 

If you have already applied for Program A and have uploaded your child attendance records, you DO NOT need to upload them into the Program B application.

See the Upload Guide to assist with the upload process. 

What should I include when I upload my child attendance?

At the initial time of application, include sufficient attendance records to verify attendance for each child included in the application. 

Example: If all children were present on Wednesday of the Count Week, include attendance records from that day. If June attended only Monday and Mario attended only Wednesday, include attendance records from both of those days.  

I am a Certified Provider, why won’t the system allow me to add more than two staff in my application? - Updated

Certified Providers can add up to two staff, including the licensee. Staff who supported care during the Count Week may be added to the application if they:

  • Were employed or on payroll for the Count Week 
  • Are an “approved caregiver” or “non-caregiver” 
  • Have a DCF-approved background check 

I am a Licensed Family Provider, why won’t the system allow me to enter more than three staff in my application? - Updated

Licensed Family Providers can add up to three staff, including the licensee. Staff can be added to the application if they: 

  • Were employed or on payroll for the Count Week 
  • Are an “approved caregiver” or “non-caregiver”
  • Have a DCF-approved background check 

Please note, contracted employees, household members, and volunteers are not eligible for Child Care Counts payments.

Can I include support staff like my cook and our driver in the application for Payment B even if they don’t provide direct care to the children?  - New

The intention of Payment B is to support the various staff members that contribute to the overall operations of a child care program. Support staff can be included in the application for Payment B as long as they:

  • Were employed or on payroll for the Count Week 
  • Are an “approved caregiver” or “non-caregiver”
  • Have a DCF-approved background check 

Please note, contracted employees, household members, and volunteers are not eligible for Child Care Counts payments.

Can staff who work in our 4K classrooms be included in the application? 

Staff who are employed/paid by the child care program

  • These staff can be included in the application for both 4k hours and wraparound (before and after 4k) hours

Staff who are employed by/paid ONLY by the School District to provide 4k programming: 

  • These staff cannot be added to the application

Staff who are employed/paid by BOTH the child care program to provide wraparound care AND the school district to provide 4k programming: 

  • Staff can be included in the application only for the hours they are employed/paid by the child care program to provide wraparound (before or after 4k)
  • Staff cannot be included in the application for the hours that they are employed/paid by the school district to provide 4k programming

Can children who attend 4K be included in my application? 

Yes. Children who attend 4K in your facility can be included in the application.  To determine full or part time attendance, providers can combine all hours the child is in attendance (4K and wraparound care). 

Do I count the children who were enrolled or only those who attended?

Enter the total number of children who attended at least one day during the Count Week. For example, when the initial application opens on November 8, 2021, enter the total number of children who attended at least one day between 10/31/21 and 11/6/21. On the Add Child page, use the checkbox to indicate if the child attended during the week of 10/31/21 – 11/6/21. Mark "yes" if they attended at all during that week. If they did not attend during that time, mark "no."

Can I count children in attendance if we provided services virtually during the Count Week? - NEW

No. Children must be physically present during the Count Week to be counted as in attendance for Program A. 

Can I include staff who are teaching children in a virtual setting in my application? - NEW

No. Program B eligibility requires the physical attendance of children, therefore staff cannot be counted if teaching virtually. Ensure that child attendance is accurately updated before submitting your Program A and B applications to ensure you do not mistakenly receive funds when your facility is providing services virtually, this may result in an overpayment. 

I was not regulated at the time of the Application Week, but I am currently regulated. Can I apply?

No. Providers must be regulated and in good standing during the Count Week and as of the last date of the Application Week, and subsequent Monthly Update Weeks. When eligibility issues are resolved, providers may apply during future Application Weeks.

I did not have any children in attendance during the Count Week. Can I still apply? For example, I am a family provider, and all of the children were out sick at the same time during the entire Count Week.  

No. Providers must be open and caring for children during the Count Week to be eligible for payments. See COVID Guidance section (under the Frequently Asked Questions accordion) for more information. 

I am applying for Program B, but I do not want to receive per-staff funding (due to institutional payroll policy or other reasons that prevent me from providing bonuses or wage increases). Can I still apply for Program B? 

No. If providers are approved for Program B, at least a portion of these funds must go directly to staff (through wages, bonuses, or benefits). 

I am a family provider without additional staff. Can I still apply for Program B? 

Yes. Family providers can still apply for both programs. Owners of family providers should be sure to enter themselves in the staff list.

I  am a family child care provider. Can I receive Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program payments for my own children? - Updated

Yes, if all of the following apply:

  • Under the age of 12 
  • Included on the attendance record 
  • Additional children are attending

No, if any of the following:

  • Over the age of 13
  • Not included on the attendance record
  • No other children attending. Your facility is not considered actively operating. In this case, your children cannot be added to your Child Care Counts application. 

I submitted my application, but I need to make a correction. Can I fix it?

Yes. Providers can make changes to the application until 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the Application Week. Applications cannot be modified after the application period closes.

I have low enrollment and do not need all of my staff at this time.  Can I remove staff from the schedule for a period of time until enrollment increases? 

According to the terms and conditions, providers cannot involuntarily furlough (layoff) an employee who has been included in the providers’ initial application or monthly updates.  This means that staff included in a provider’s initial application or monthly updates should remain currently employed or on payroll. (Exceptions exist for employees that voluntarily leave or are terminated for cause.)  

Please note:  Staff hours can be reduced, if necessary, but the hourly wage/rate of pay, should not decrease. 
See the below FAQ for further details regarding “currently employed” and “on payroll” status. 

We had two teachers out sick during the Count Week and some of our on-call staff did not work/were not scheduled that week. Can these teachers be included in the application? 

Yes. If a staff member was out ill, on vacation, or was otherwise not scheduled during the Count Week, but they are a current employee or on payroll, they can still be added to the application for Program B. The intention of the per-staff funding is to help retain current employees.

  • A staff member who was out during the Count Week can be considered “on payroll” if they did not work regularly scheduled hours, but did receive pay during the Count Week. For example: 

  1. The staff member did not work regularly scheduled hours during the Count Week due to PAID time off.
  2. The staff member did not work regularly scheduled hours during the Count Week due to a PAID medical or family leave of 12 weeks or less. 
  • A staff member who was out during the Count Week can be considered a “current employee” if they have worked within the last 30 days or were out due to a medical or family leave of 12 weeks or less. For example:

  1. The staff member did not work regularly scheduled hours during the Count Week due to illness. The staff did not receive pay (they were not on payroll), but worked within 30 days of the Count Week.
  2. The staff member was not scheduled to work during the Count Week due to an UNPAID medical or family leave of 12 weeks or less (e.g., unpaid maternity leave).
  3. The staff member was not scheduled to work during the Count Week due to an UNPAID vacation. The staff did not receive pay (they were not on payroll), but worked within 30 days of the Count Week. 
  4. The staff member (e.g. on-call or substitute staff) was not scheduled to work during the Count Week. The staff did not receive pay (they were not on payroll), but worked within 30 days of the Count Week. 

I was closed during the Count Week for a vacation (or other non-COVID closure reason). Can I still apply? 

No. Providers are not eligible for payments if they are closed for the entire Count Week in any given Application and Monthly Update week. If open and caring for children at least one day during the count week, providers may still be eligible for payments. 

I’m not sure how to answer the question “did your facility serve children from tribal communities.”

Select “yes” if either the child and/or one or more of the biological parents is affiliated with a tribe or tribal community. This can be regardless of whether they reside on tribal land.

I did not have any children in attendance during the count week, but my staff were still working (cleaning, preparing, etc.). Can I still get a payment for that month? 

No. Providers must be open and caring for children during the count week in order to receive funds for that month. 

I do not technically pay myself. How do I fill out the staff section for myself?

Owners of licensed or certified family providers should add themselves as a staff member in the staff section. Select yes to indicate that you are on the payroll. 

What is considered full time or part-time for staff work time and children hours enrolled?

Full-time and part-time hour designations are the same for staff work time and children hours enrolled:
Full time: 21 hours or more per week
Part-time: 20 hours or less per week

**Employees can be entered as full-time at one location with up to one part-time role from a different Tax ID. Employees may be listed as part-time at up to three total locations, with up to two locations from the same Tax ID (if applicable).

Children’s schedules can vary from week to week. Do I need to count the hours each child attends during the Count Week to determine full-time or part-time status? 

Providers should use enrollment information to determine if a child should be entered in the application as attending full-time or part-time.

  • If a child is enrolled on a full-time basis (21 hours or more per-week), they should be entered into the application as full-time.
  • If a child is enrolled on a part-time basis (20 hours or less per-week), they should be entered into the application as part-time.  
  • If a child only attends “drop-in” care and there is no formal agreement/contract to determine a regular schedule of attendance, providers will need to determine if they meet the full-time or part-time definition based on the hours the child actually attended during the Count Week. 

Regardless of full-time or part-time status, a child must have attended at least one day during the Count Week to be added to the application. 

Can I fix an error I found in my application? - NEW

Yes. Contact the Child Care Counts Call Center to describe the error discovered. If, upon review, it is discovered that the error resulted in the receipt of funds that should not have been awarded,  Call Center staff can assist you with calculating the amount and how to return those funds. It is important to know that any funds you should not have received must be returned. Please note: The call center will not be able to make any changes to applications that are closed.

In addition, if your application is missing staff or children that should have been added, the call center is not able to make any edits to closed applications and you will not be able to receive additional funds for these errors. During the monthly update of your applications, ensure that you thoroughly review your child list, child attendance, and staff list to reflect each Count Week accurately to prevent errors.  

 

Update Week  - Updated

When are the Update/Application Weeks, and what are the Count Weeks for each of them?

View the table below and see the Child Care Counts Calendar for details. 

Month Update / Application
Week
Count Week Payment
Letter Date
Spending
Deadline
November  2021 11/08 - 11/29/21 10/24 - 11/06/21 12/10/21 4/9/22
December 2021 12/13 - 12/17/21 11/28 - 12/11/21 1/7/22 5/7/22
January 2022 1/17 - 1/21/22 1/2 - 1/15/22 2/11/22 6/11/22
February 2022 2/14 - 2/18/22 1/30 - 2/12/22 3/11/22 7/9/22
March 2022 3/14 - 3/18/22 2/27 - 3/12/22 4/8/22 8/6/22
April 2022 4/11 - 4/15/22 3/27 - 4/9/22 5/13/22 9/10/22
May 2022 5/16 - 5/20/22 5/1 - 5/14/22 6/10/22 10/8/22
June 2022 6/20 - 6/24/22 6/5 - 6/18/22 7/15/22 11/12/22
July 2022 7/25 - 7/29/22 7/10 - 7/23/22 8/19/22 12/17/22

 

I have changes to my child attendance or enrollment for summer programming. How should I enter this on my CCC application? 

The application should reflect the child’s enrollment at the time of the Count Week. For example, if a child was enrolled full-time during the May Count week 5/1/22 – 5/14/22, and has since changed to part-time enrollment during June Count Week 6/5/22 – 6/18/22 (e.g., for the summer), the June application should reflect the child’s enrollment as part-time. This child would continue to be marked as part-time until another change in enrollment happens (e.g., when school begins). If a child only attends “drop-in” care and there is no formal agreement/contract to determine a regular schedule of attendance, providers will need to determine if they meet the full-time or part-time definition based on the hours the child actually attended during the Count Week. Regardless of full-time or part-time status, a child must have attended at least one day during the Count Week to be added to the application.  

Please note that if your program is selected for audit, a contract, attendance forms, or other document verifying a child’s schedule may be requested. 

If a child’s enrollment changed during the Count Week period, should they be entered as part-time or full-time on the application? 

If a child was enrolled full-time for one portion of the Count Week, and part-time for the other portion of the count week, you may enter them as full-time. 

What do I have to do during update week? 

If you are approved for payments for the prior month, you must update your application each month in order to maintain eligibility for ongoing payments according to the Terms and Conditions of the program. This includes: 

  • Reviewing and updating any information on the Common Details application section as necessary
  • Indicating if you were open and caring for children at least one day during the Count Week
  • Updating Child information as necessary (attended during Count Week, receiving Wisconsin Shares, full-time/part-time enrollment status). Add new children or remove children who are no longer enrolled. 
    • Note: You do not need to change enrollment status according to the child attendance during the Count Week. This should only be changed if the child’s full- or part-time enrollment status has changed. 
      • For example, if a child’s enrollment status at the facility is full-time, but they only attended part-time during that particular Count Week, you should leave their status as full-time in the application. 
  • Updating Staff information as necessary (employed or on payroll during the Count Week, full-time/part-time status)
  • Uploading additional verification documents if prompted during your update. If there are significant changes in child/staff information, you will be taken to the Document Upload page, and must upload verification documents for the Count Week.
  • Submit your updated application before the deadline of 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the Update/Application Week

See this video for instructions on updating your application during the Update Week. 

Do I have to re-enter all children and staff during Update Week? 

No. Child and staff information will be copied from your previous month’s application. You just need to review and make any updates as necessary. Be sure to carefully review children’s Wisconsin Shares status. An (!) icon next to a child on the Child List indicates that additional details are needed for that child. 

You may enter new children or remove children who are no longer enrolled at the facility. You may also add new staff or remove staff who are no longer employed. See Application FAQs for more details about which children and staff to include in your application. 

Do I have to upload new verification documents? 

You are only required to upload new verification documents if you have entered a significant change in child/staff information. If additional documentation is required, you will be taken to the Verification Documents page. You will need to upload attendance records for all children and/or staff entered on your application for the Count Week. 

What happens if I forget to update during Update Week? 

Providers are required to update during each monthly Update Week. Failure to do so may result in an overpayment or discontinuation of monthly payments. If you forget to add children or staff, you will not receive per-staff or per-child funds for those individuals. If you forget to remove/update children or staff, you must contact the Child Care Counts Call Center with the details to begin a repayment process. 
 

 

Facility Closures and Change of Ownership

I am voluntarily closing my facility, what should I do with the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program payments I received? 

You must communicate your voluntarily closure reason and date to your licensor or certifier. This action directly impacts the status of your facility’s child care license or certification.

FUNDS: All payments are subject to the Terms and Conditions and all funds are subject to audit. We strongly recommend that funds are spent on allowable expenses prior to closing the facility. Keep all documentation for all months you receive payments for. We recommend you create a file folder with these records on hand, or you may also choose to upload to the Child Care Provider Portal. Note: All Child Care Counts payments may be audited up to five (5) years from payment, all related documentation must be retained for this timeframe. 

Documentation to keep includes: 

  • Attendance records 
  • Staff payroll & pay rates/wage details
  • Staff hours/schedule 
  • All receipts and invoices Child Care Counts Funds were allocated to 

STAFF: You must enter employment end dates for all staff. Failing to update this may restrict staff from being added to a new employers Program B application. Staff names should also be removed from Program B application Staff List. 

APPLICATION: Providers must withdraw their Child Care Counts Application for both Program A and Program B. Failing to withdraw may lead to an overpayment. 

See the Buying or Selling a Regulated Child Care Facility document for additional information. 

I am in the process of selling my child care facility. Do I still qualify for Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program funds? 

Before any sale or change of licensee name can be processed, you must communicate this matter to your licensor or certifier. This action directly impacts the status of your facility’s child care license or certification.  

Given the complexities that surround this process, it is difficult to determine if you or your child care facility qualifies for Child Care Counts payments until the process has been completed. Providers must be actively operating and regulated during count week and at the time of payment. 

Prior to applying, confirm the individual listed as “certified provider” or “licensee” and ensure that bank information for your business has been updated. DCF will not assist with business disputes. 

See the Buying or Selling a Regulated Child Care Facility document for additional information. 

Who will be responsible for receiving and administering the funds if I sell my child care facility? 

All Child Care Counts payments issued and spent are directly tied to the payee at the time of application. In addition, payment for those applications is addressed to that identified person. 

It is strongly recommended that funds are expensed prior to the sale or change of licensee name. Any unspent funds must be returned. See the Use of Funds section of the Frequently Asked Questions for details and instructions. 

If audited at a later date, the identified payee will be liable for those funds, records and verification of documents outlined in the Terms and Conditions

Retain all Child Care Counts documents for up to 5 years after payment is received. 

Documentation to keep includes: 

  • Attendance records 
  • Staff payroll & pay rates/wage details
  • Staff hours/schedule 
  • All receipts and invoices Child Care Counts Funds were allocated to 

Note: All payments are subject to audit up to five (5) years from payments. All payees must retain and provide these documents at the request of DCF or other auditing entity. If an overpayment is assessed for that same time frame, the payee will be addressed as the liable individual to repay those funds. DCF will not take part in any business disputes in these situations. 

I am the new owner of a Child Care program that has previously received payment through Child Care Counts. Do I need to complete a new Child Care Counts application? 

As a new owner if you receive a new facility ID or provider number you must begin a new application. Work to start the process to establish your bank account with FIS as soon as possible. This will allow for ACH payments of Child Care Counts once you are eligible to apply. 

If you are the previous owner, you must take the following actions:

  1. Enter employment end dates for your employees, failing to do this step will make it difficult for their next employer to add them to their application
  2. Remove the staff from your existing Child Care Counts application
  3. Withdraw both program A and program B applications
  4. If you have an existing FIS account, you must contact FIS to report that you wish to remove your bank account. Please see Child Care Counts Frequently Asked Questions: Financial Questions for additional guidance. 

If you need assistance, please send an email to the Child Care Counts Call Center: DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov. If you are unable to email, you may call and leave your detailed questions at: 608-535-3650. Please note – email is recommended for a faster response. 

Call Center hours are 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F.

See the Buying or Selling a Regulated Child Care Facility document for additional information.  

 

COVID Guidance  

Initial Application

This is my first time applying and I was closed during Count Week due to a COVID exposure. Will my facility be eligible for payment?

No. The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program requires providers to be open and caring for children during the Count Week.

If this is your initial application to the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program and you are closed due to a COVID exposure during Count Week, you will not be eligible. We strongly encourage you to apply during the next month’s Application Week.

I was open and caring for children during the Count Week, but had one or more classrooms closed due to COVID-exposure. Which children should be included in my application?

For the initial application, include only children who attended during the Count Week. When the classroom reopens, update child information during the next Monthly Update Week.

Example: A provider with three classrooms is open and caring for children in two classrooms during November Count Week. One classroom is closed due to COVID exposure. Children from the two open classrooms are included in the November Application. If classroom three reopens before the December Count Week, children from that classroom can be added during the December Monthly Update Week.

I was open and caring for children during the Count Week, but had one or more children, who were scheduled to attend absent the entire week due to COVID exposure. Can these children be included in my application?

For the initial application, only include children who attended during the Count Week. When the child/children return, update child information during the next Monthly Update Week.

Future Months

I have already received a payment for a previous month of the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program, but I had to close during this month’s Count Week due to a COVID exposure. Can I still receive payment?

Yes. Providers who have already been approved for payment may continue to be eligible if closed due to COVID exposure during a future Count Week.

Example: If you have already received payment for the month of November and December and in January you closed your facility due to a COVID exposure, you may be eligible to receive payment for January. When updating the common details in your application, you will answer ”NO” to the question “Was your facility open’ during the Count Week.” You will then be taken to the Temporary Closure page to enter your temporary closure. Only closure reasons of COVID-19 Exposure of Staff to COVID-19 or COVID-19 Exposure of Child(ren) to COVID-19 may be eligible for payments.

See this Temporary Closure guide for instructions on entering temporary closures in the Child Care Counts Application.

During the Monthly Update Week, you must update child and staff information changes that occurred during the Count Week regardless of the COVID exposure/closure. For example, if children disenroll, or staff are no longer employed. 

I have already received a payment for a previous month of the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program, but I had to close during this month’s Count Week due to a non-COVID reason. Can I still receive payment?

No. The current Child Care Counts Program requires providers to be open and caring for children during the identified Count Week, with exceptions for closures due to COVID exposure. Your program will be denied due to the temporary closure. You may reapply at the next month’s application week if you have children in care for the next identified Count Week. 

You can report and update your temporary closures in the Provider Portal. For further assistance, you can work directly with your licensor or certifier. 

Important: Discovery of unreported temporary closures may result in an audit, investigation, Wisconsin Shares overpayment, and Child Care Counts overpayment. Ensure you are communicating accurate status of your facility to the department.

I have already received a payment for a previous month due to a COVID exposure. I still have not been able to reopen. Will I still be eligible for payment?

No. Providers who are closed due to a COVID exposure for more than one Count Week period will be denied for additional payments. You may reapply in a future application week if you have children in care during the Count Week. 

I have already received a payment for a previous month of the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program, but I had to close a classroom during this month’s Count Week due to a COVID exposure. Can I still receive payment?

Yes. If a provider must close a classroom due to COVID exposure, they may still be eligible to receive payment. 

During the Monthly Update Week, you must update child and staff information changes that occurred during the Count Week regardless of the COVID exposure/closure. For example, if children disenroll, or staff are no longer employed.

If a child did not attend due to COVID exposure, mark ‘No, child did not attend due to exposure to COVID-19’ to the attendance question, and that child can still be added to the application/update for the Count Week.

I have already received a payment for a previous month of the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program, but I but had one or more children, who were scheduled to attend, absent the entire Count Week due to COVID-exposure. Can I still receive payment?

Yes. Providers who have already been approved for payment may still be eligible to receive payment if a child, or children, are absent the entire Count Week due to COVID exposure.

During the Monthly Update Week, you must update child and staff information changes that occurred during the Count Week regardless of the COVID exposure/closure. For example, if children disenroll, or staff are no longer employed.

If a child did not attend due to COVID exposure, mark ‘No, child did not attend due to exposure to COVID-19’ to the attendance question, and that child can still be added to the application/update for the Count Week.

 

Financial Questions (FIS, Taxes, 1099 Information) 

Are the payments taxable?

All payment programs are taxable income. For further questions on how these funds impact your tax situation, please consult with a CPA or tax attorney.

Are the Child Care Counts funds considered subawards and subject to the State Single Audit? 

Funds received from the Child Care Counts Payment Program are not considered a subaward, so they are not subject to the State Single Audit. All Child Care Counts funding (Emergency Payment Programs, Supplementary Payment Programs, Response and Relief Programs, and Stabilization Payment Programs) is subject to review by DCF to ensure compliance with the Terms and Conditions of the program, so we require that you keep records of how all Child Care Counts funds were spent in case of a DCF financial review.

What is the funding source for this program?

The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program is funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Stabilization Fund. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number for this funds is 93.575.

I want my payments to be automatically deposited to my bank account, but I am not registered with FIS. What should I do? 

In order for your payments to be directly deposited to your bank account, you must register with FIS. You are encouraged to begin this process right away. See this guide for instructions on setting up your account with FIS. Please Note: FIS may take up to a week to review and approve the FIS Provider contract or change the bank information. You are encouraged to begin this process immediately if you are not already set up with FIS.

I am already registered with FIS. Is there anything I need to do? 

  • If you are already registered with FIS, please verify you can answer the four items below with ‘yes’:
  1. Current bank account is on file with FIS
  2. Bank account on file is your business account
  3. Bank account name matches the business name on file with FIS
  4. Business has not gone through any other name or business changes recently without updating information on file with FIS and your bank
  • If any of the four questions above are answered “no,” you must update your bank account information with FIS.
    Please contact FIS Merchant Services at 1-800-894-0050 or Merchant.Services.Support@fisglobal.com for a Bank Change Form. 

If you do not receive funds in your bank account 10 days from the date of your payment letter, email or call FIS Merchant Services and ask for the status of the payment to your bank account: Merchant.Services.Support@fisglobal.com OR 1-800-894-0050. It may take up to 5 business days to receive a response from Merchant Services. If you do not hear back from FIS Merchant Services or they do not resolve your issue, please email: DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

I am already registered with FIS, but my bank account information has changed. What do I do? - Updated

You must update your bank account information with FIS in order to receive your payment into the correct bank account. Please contact FIS Merchant Services at 1-800-894-0050 or Merchant.Services.Support@fisglobal.com for a Bank Change Form.

I am already registered with FIS, but I am locked out of my account. Can I still receive my payment through FIS?

Yes – as long as your bank account information has not changed, you will still receive your payment via automatic deposit to your bank account through FIS. You can check the status of your payment in the DCF Provider Portal.

I am having trouble with my FIS registration or my account, and I cannot get through to FIS customer service over the phone.

Please refer to ebtEDGE Provider Portal Instructions for additional help with your FIS account. You can email FIS: Merchant.Services.Support@fisglobal.com. FIS is currently experiencing long wait times, it may take up to 5 business days for a response to voicemail or email. If you need to contact FIS, you may want to try calling during an off-peak time. If you have tried all the steps and still cannot get access to ebtEDGE, or need help resolving your FIS issue, email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for additional assistance.

How  do I close my account with FIS? - NEW

If you no longer want to receive payments through ACH/direct deposit from FIS or are closing your bank account, you must do the following to close your account with FIS: 

  • Notify FIS in writing at least 60 days prior to closing your bank account by emailing Merchant Services at merchant.services.support@fisglobal.com
  • Keep your current bank account open until all payments have processed to ensure payments are received in a timely manner

Will I receive a 1099?

If you receive Child Care Counts payments via ACH Transfer (from FIS), you will receive a 1099-K from FIS. This will include other payments that were made to you from the Wisconsin Shares program. 

If you receive Child Care Counts payments via check from DCF, and if the payment amount was less than $600, you will not receive a 1099 from the State of Wisconsin. You should consult your tax advisor for guidance on how to include the payment on your taxes.

If you receive Child Care Counts payments via check from DCF, and if the payment amount was more than $600, you will receive a 1099-NEC from the State of Wisconsin. 

If you received BOTH ACH transfer payment AND payment by check, you will receive a 1099-K from FIS for all electronic payments AND a 1099-NEC from the State of Wisconsin for check payment(s). All payments made to you via ACH transfer from FIS will be on one 1099.

If you paid Child Care Counts funding back to the state, this adjustment will not be included in the 1099-K. You should consult your tax advisor for guidance on how to include the adjustment on your taxes.

If you paid Wisconsin Shares subsidy funds back to DCF due to a Voluntary Repayment Agreement (VPA), these adjustments will not be included on your 1099-K from FIS. You should consult your tax advisor for guidance on how to include the adjustment on your taxes.
 

Use of Funds 

Is there a time limit on when I have to spend the funds?

Yes. Funding from the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program must be spent within 120 days of the date of the Payment Letter for the given month. Costs must have been incurred between March 12, 2020 and 120 days from the date of the payment letter.

Note: Expenses cannot have already been funded by a prior DCF program or reimbursed by another state or federal fund source.

For example:

  • November Payment Letter Date 12/10/2021 – Funds must be spent by 4/9/2022, on costs incurred from 3/12/2020 – 4/9/2022
  • December Payment Letter Date 1/7/2022 – Funds must be spent by 5/7/2022, on costs incurred from 3/12/2020 – 5/7/2022
  • January Payment Letter Date 2/11/2022 – Funds must be spent by 6/11/2022, on costs incurred from 3/12/2020 – 6/11/2022

How can I spend these funds?

Program A funds must be spent on the following to support necessary and reasonable costs of maintaining or enhancing high-quality care:

  • Operating expenses necessary to remain open, including but not limited to:
    • Mortgage, rent/space costs
    • Utilities
    • Insurance
    • Business-related taxes
    • Payroll/benefits
  • Expenses related to mitigating the risk of COVID-19, including but not limited to:
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Supplies for cleaning and sanitation
  • Materials/supplies for enhancing the program environment and curriculum, and social and emotional development supports
  • Professional development and/or continuing education
  • Additional costs to ensure high-quality programming
  • Mental health services for children and employees
  • Relief from copayments and tuition payments for families
    • Wisconsin Shares payments to families cannot be reimbursed

Program B funds must be spent to support necessary and reasonable costs of recruiting and retaining high-quality staff by providing wage increases, bonuses, and/or benefits to current or future employees with approved background checks as follows: 

  • Awarded Base Per-Staff funds must be used to increase compensation (through wages, bonuses, or benefits) for each staff person listed in each month’s Count Week
  • Awarded Quality Incentive Per-Staff funds must be used toward one or more of the following:
    • Wage increases, bonuses, benefits
    • Professional development, staff training, scholarships, other continuing education expenses

I received Base Per-Staff funds from Program B that are supposed to go to specific staff that are no longer employed at my program.  What can I do with these funds? 

If, at the time of payment, an employee is no longer employed at your facility, the Base Per-Staff amount awarded for that individual can be used for other Program B allowable expenses to support recruitment and retention efforts for existing or future employees with approved background checks. These funds must be spent within 120 day of the date of the payment letter from which they were awarded. 

Example scenarios:

  • I plan to hire another staff member to replace them.
    • These funds can be used as a sign-on bonus/hiring incentive for new staff with approved background checks 
  • I am fully staffed, and do not anticipate any recruitment needs in the foreseeable future.
    • These funds can be distributed at your discretion among existing staff in the form of bonuses, wage increases, benefits, or professional development.  These staff did not need to be included in the application, but must have approved background checks.

I have a staff member who has been out ill. Do I need to pay them even if they do not have any paid time off or sick time left to use? 

Providers should follow their existing policies regarding paid or unpaid time off/leave. To understand whether or not an employee who is out during the Count Week can be added to the application, please see the above FAQ. 

Please note: Staff included in the application must receive at least the Base Per-Staff amount that was awarded regardless of hours worked.  

Can the Child Care Counts funds be used to cover the payroll taxes associated with the bonus payment to staff?

Yes. Payroll taxes would be considered an allowable expense under Program A.

What does the Base Per-Staff Amount and Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount mean for Program B?

Payments for Program B will include a Base Per-Staff Amount for all approved programs. The Base Per-Staff Amount will be indicated in each month’s Payment Letter. Each staff person listed in the given month’s Count Week must receive an increase in compensation (through wages, bonuses, or benefits) equal to at least this amount.

  • For example, the Base Per-Staff Amount for full-time staff for the Payment Letter dated 12/10/21 is $150 That means that each full-time staff must receive a direct increase in compensation by at least $150.

Payments for Program B will include a Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount for all approved programs participating in YoungStar. This amount is based on YoungStar level for each eligible full-time/part-time staff listed in the application. The Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount will be indicated in each month’s Payment Letter. This funding may be used toward one or more of the following: wage increases, bonuses, benefits, professional development, staff training, scholarships, other continuing education expenses.

  • For example, the Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount for the Payment Letter dated 12/10/21 is $250 per full-time staff at a 4-star provider. This means that if a child care program has 3 staff, the Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount would be $750. These funds can be used to support the costs of recruiting and retaining high-quality staff as described above.

What is not allowed for use of Program B funds? 

  • Program B funds cannot be used to pay household members who are not on staff or actively caring for children, volunteers, or contracted staff
  • High-level administrative staff for group providers may receive no more than two (2) times the per-staff amount (Base Per-Staff Amount plus Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount as indicated in the payment letter).
    • For example, the Base Per-Staff Amount for full-time staff in the November Payment Letter dated 12/10/21 is $150. The Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount is $150 for per full-time staff for a 3 Star provider. This means that the director/center administrator/ licensee/etc. could not receive more than $600.

What benefits are allowable expenses?

  • Benefits can include, but are not limited to, an increase to the employer contribution towards retirement plans, healthcare, dental benefits, and child care expenses, as well as increased paid time off.

Can I use Child Care Counts Stabilization funds for a car payment or other transportation expenses? 

Yes. If a provider is approved by DCF for transportation, the expenses (care payment, fuel, insurance and maintenance, etc.) for vehicles used for business purposes are an allowable expense for Program A. If the vehicle is also used for personal use, the expenses must be prorated to the business portion. Work with your accounting or tax professional to determine how to track the business portion for these expenses. Providers will need to keep documentation and provide to DCF upon request.

I  am a family provider. Do I need to prorate expenses, for example using the “time and space” method? New

No. If you are family provider, expenditures do not need to be prorated using the "time and space" method for the purposes of the Child Care Counts Stabilization Payment Program

Can I use Payment A funds for WI Real Estate or Personal Property Taxes necessary to operate my child care business? 

Yes, WI Real Estate Or Personal Property Tax payments made to your municipality could be considered an eligible expense. The provider must identify the business portion of their local taxes. There are 2 options for considering eligible under Child Care Counts:

  1. Through a lump sum payment to their municipality, OR
  2. Through monthly payment to the mortgage company, where taxes are held in escrow. 

Providers cannot “double count” by considering both the escrow payments and the lump sum payment to the municipality as eligible expenses for Child Care Counts.   Provider must select one option and consistently use that method for purposes of considering expenses eligible for use of Child Care Counts funds.  Provider must keep documentation (local tax bill or escrow paperwork provided by mortgage company, etc.) of whichever option is selected and provide documentation to DCF upon request. The funds must be spent within the spending timeframe (120 days from the date of the payment letter) for the given monthly payment. 

Can I use Payment A funds to make physical improvements to my facility or property? - NEW

Yes. Child Care Counts funding can be used for minor renovations or improvements to environments that are directly related to the child care business. These improvements can include, but are not limited to, building or upgrading playgrounds, renovating bathrooms, replacing carpet, enhancements to make the facility more accessible (installing railing, ramps, or automatic doors), and removing non-load bearing walls to create additional space for social distancing.

Payment A funds may not be used for major renovations: (1) structural changes to the foundation, roof, floor, exterior or load-bearing walls of a facility, or the extension of a facility to increase its floor area; or (2) extensive alteration of a facility such as to significantly change its function and purpose, even if such renovation does not include any structural change.
 

When is the return of Child Care Counts funds required?

Unused Funds

Child Care Counts payments can only be used for a provider’s documented eligible expenses as agreed to in the terms and conditions. Providers must keep (and provide to DCF upon request) detailed documentation of their eligible expenses for at least 5 years from the receipt of Child Care Counts payment. An eligible expense is an expense that follows the program rules, timelines, and terms and conditions.

If a provider is unable to spend a Child Care Counts payment within the spending time frame, unused Child Care Counts funds must be immediately returned to DCF. Remember, Child Care Counts funding can be used to cover eligible expenses incurred after March 12, 2020. Providers can look back at their costs to identify where these funds can be used. 

For immediate return of Child Care Counts funds, mail a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order to the address below with the Provider Name, Provider #, Location #, and the Child Care Counts Round being returned:

Bureau of Child Care Subsidy Administration
Attention: Operations Program Associate
PO Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916

Application Mistakes and Inaccuracies 

The provider must report to DCF any known mistakes or inaccuracies made during the application process, such as but not limited to:

  • Incorrect or incomplete reporting of child attendance records 
  • Inaccurate or incomplete staff employment and background check records
  • Inaccurate W-9 information
  • Inaccurate address/contact information
  • Inaccurate reporting of facility open/close dates

Application mistakes or inaccuracies may require immediate return of Child Care Counts funds and must be reported to DCF. If you made mistakes on your application, contact the DCF Call Center at: DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov. If you are unable to email, you may call and leave your detailed information at 608-535-3650. Please note: email is recommended for faster response. Call Center hours are 8 a.m. – 4: 30 p.m. M-F.


DCF Overpayment Notices

Providers must comply with Overpayment Notices issued by DCF. The DCF Overpayment Notice indicates which Child Care Counts round resulted in an overpayment. The specific Child Care Counts funds received for the round indicated must be immediately returned to DCF.  

If the indicated Child Care Counts funds are no longer available because they were used for what the provider thought were eligible expenses, the provider must find an alternate fund source to satisfy the DCF Overpayment Notice.  A provider alternative fund source cannot be:

  • DCF funds received for a different (prior or future) Child Care Counts round
  • Other state funds
  • Other federal funds

Child Care Counts payments can only be used for a provider’s documented eligible expenses as agreed to in the terms and conditions. Child Care Counts payments cannot be used to repay an overpayment established for a different (prior or future) Child Care Counts round.

Providers must keep detailed documentation and track eligible expenses for each Child Care Counts payment. Providers are encouraged to use the Spending Tool to keep track of their eligible expenses. Consult your accountant/bookkeeper/lawyer to ensure an appropriate fund source is used to return funds to DCF. 
 

Denials and Review Process - Updated

Good Standing/Denial Reasons - Updated

My application was denied, with the reason of “Failure to Update” what does that mean? - New

Upon review of your Program A and/or Program B applications it was discovered that you failed to update your application. In order to remain in good standing with the Child Care Counts program you are required to update and re-submit your application every month. You will need to follow the "initial application" process to re-enter the program. See the How to Apply section of the Payment Program webpage for more information on submitting a new application.

The terms and conditions say providers need to be in “good standing.”  What does in “good standing” mean?

Providers are required to meet eligibility requirements outlined in the Terms and Conditions and be in “good standing.” Good standing will be determined by a thorough review of regulatory status, background check compliance, program integrity issues, and any unpaid debt due to DCF.

My application was denied, with the reason of “Program Requirements Not Met” what does that mean? 

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that you did not report any children in care during the identified monthly Count Week. The qualifications outlined in the terms and conditions states: I must be open and caring for children ages 0 through 12, or under age 19 for children with disabilities, during the Count Week identified for each month.

My application was denied, with the reason of “No Children in Care” what does that mean? 

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that you did not report any children in care during the identified monthly Count Week. The qualifications outlined in the terms and conditions states: I must be open and caring for children ages 0 through 12, or under age 19 for children with disabilities, during the Count Week identified for each month.

My application was denied, with the reason of Wisconsin Shares Delinquency, what does that mean?

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that you have an existing Wisconsin Shares or YoungStar overpayment.

Contact the DCF Bureau of Finance to discuss repayment options: 608-422-7550

My application was denied, with the reason of Child Care Counts Delinquency, what does that mean?

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that you have an existing Child Care Counts overpayment.

Contact the DCF Bureau of Finance to discuss repayment options: 608-422-7550

My application was denied, with the reason of DOR Delinquency, what does that mean?

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that you have a debt that was referred to the Department of Revenue (DOR). DCF refers past due public assistance debts, including Wisconsin Shares and Child Care Counts, to the DOR if the DCF Bureau of Finance has been unable to collect the debt.

DOR does have options for repayment if a provider is unable to pay the full amount. However, because this debt has reached DOR delinquency status, the debt must be paid in full to regain good standing.

Contact the Department of Revenue to further discuss the amount owed and options available to you to repay this debt.

Department of Revenue Contact Number: 608-266-7879

My application was denied, with the reason of Serious Shares Violation, what does that mean?

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that you have been audited and investigated by the Bureau of Child Care Subsidy Administration (BCCSA) and serious integrity concerns have been discovered. These egregious Shares violations may also include permanent suspension of the Wisconsin Shares Program.

You may contact the Child Care Call Center to request additional information if needed. Please send an email to: DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov if you are unable to email, you may call and leave your detailed questions at: 608-535-3650. Please note – email is recommended for a faster response.

My application was denied, with the reason of Not Regulated, what does that mean?

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that your facility was not regulated.

If your facility was illegally operating, or your license or certification was suspended, revoked, denied, or not renewed timely you are not eligible for Child Care Counts payments at this time. Work with your licensing specialist or certifier to correct your regulation status. 

My application was denied, with the reason of Non-Compliance-Background Check Law, what does that mean?

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that you are not in compliance with background check law because one or more individuals at your center does not have eligible FBI fingerprint background check results. All individuals must be brought into compliance as reflected in the Child Care Provider Portal.

If you have questions regarding background check requirements, please contact the Child Care Background Unit by calling 608-422-7400 or emailing DCFPlicBECRCBU@wisconsin.gov.

Additional online resources to support providers with background check requirements are available here.

Will my application be denied if I have new staff who have not yet completed the full background check process?

A provider may still be eligible for Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program payments if new staff do not have an approved background check. However, new staff who do not have at least a preliminary fingerprint background check eligibility may not be included in the calculation for payment, but this will not result in the program’s application denial.  If you have questions regarding background check requirements, please contact the Child Care Background Unit by calling 608-422-7400 or emailing DCFPlicBECRCBU@wisconsin.gov

Additional resources to support providers with background check requirements are available online here.

My application was denied, with the reason of Temporary Closure, what does that mean?

Upon review of your application, it was discovered that your facility was temporary closed during the Count Week. A facility must be open and caring for children at least one day of the identified Count Week.

See Frequently Asked Questions section labeled COVID Guidance if your facility was closed due to a COVID exposure.

Important: Discovery of unreported temporary closures (14 days or more) may result in an audit, investigation, Wisconsin Shares overpayment, and Child Care Counts overpayment. Keep track of closure dates and reasons in your Child Care Provider Portal. Work with your licensing specialist or certifier for more information or guidance.   

Denial Review Process

My application for the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program was denied. Can I request a review of the denial decision? What is the process for requesting a review?

Yes. Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program denial decisions may be reviewed upon request.

If you believe you were incorrectly denied a Child Care Counts payment, you may seek review of that denial by following the below procedure:

(NOTE: It is recommended that you use the form linked below to ensure that your request for review includes all required information.) 

  1. File a written request for review with the Division of Early Care and Education. You must state clearly and specifically what you believe was incorrect in this decision. Please attach any relevant documentation to support your claim. A form is available here to assist with requesting review.
  2. The review will be limited to the statement and supporting documentation you submit, unless the reviewing authority has questions or seeks clarification from you.
  3. We strongly encourage you to submit your request for review via email to DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov to avoid any delays in reviewing your request. The subject line of your email should say CCC Review Request.
  4. If you are unable to submit your request via email, you may submit it, along with any supporting documentation, by fax to 608-266-5473 or via U.S. Mail to:

    Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
    BCCSA/OPA
    P.O. Box 8916
    Madison, WI 53708-8916
     
  5. Your request for review must be emailed, faxed, or postmarked no later than 14 calendar days after the date on the Denial Letter. 

I would like a request a review of my application denial, but I did not send in my written request within 14 days. Can I still request a review?

No. Requests for review must be emailed, faxed, or postmarked no later than 14 calendar days after the date on the denial letter. Requests received after this time will not be reviewed.

This is a nine-month payment program that runs November 2021 through July 2022. When eligibility issues are resolved, you may reapply during a future Application Week.

Resources - Videos, Guides, and Tools - Updated

These guides and videos will help you gain access to the Child Care Provider Portal, register with FIS for direct deposit, upload required documents, and submit your Child Care Counts application.

Videos - Updated

Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Provider Informational Module

General information all in one link on the payment program, how to prepare for applying, how to apply, and what to expect after applying.  

How to Apply for Program A 

Step-by-step video walkthrough of the application process for Program A.

How to Apply for Program B 

Step-by-step video walkthrough of the application process for Program B. 

Accessing the Child Care Provider Portal 

If you do not have access to the Child Care Provider Portal, you can request access and log in following these instructions. The instructions are also available in this short video.

Modifying a Submitted Application

This new video explains how to modify a submitted application (before the deadline).

Updating Your Child Care Counts Information during Update Week

This video takes you through the process of making application modifications during Update Week.

Uploading Files into the Child Care Provider Portal

This video explains how to upload required files from your desktop computer to your Child Care Counts application.

Spending Tool Training Video 

View this step-by-step Spending Tool training video to learn tips and tricks for organizing and tracking how you spend your Child Care Counts funds. You may download the Spending Tool Excel spreadsheet (see Tools Section below) to help you keep track of how you spent Child Care Counts funds.

Child Care Counts Audit and Overview Training Video - New

This is a general overview of the Audit and Review Process. The audio is in English, but Spanish closed captions are available. 

View the step-by-step Child Care Counts Audit Process flowchart

Child Care Counts November 10, 2021 Webinar Recording

 

 

Guides - Updated

Application Guide

This guide provides step-by-step instructions on submitting your application in the Child Care Provider Portal

Temporary Closure Guide

See this guide for instructions on entering temporary closures in the Child Care Counts Application.   

During the Monthly Update Week, you must update child and staff information changes that occurred during the Count Week regardless of the COVID exposure/closure. For example, if children disenroll, or staff are no longer employed. 

Update Week Guide 

This Update Week Guide provides step-by-step instructions for updating child and staff information changes that occurred during the Count Week. 

Upload Guide

This guide provides instructions on how to upload documents to the Child Care Provider Portal

Accessing the Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP) 

This guide provides instructions on how to set up access to the Child Care Provider Portal

FIS Guide

This guide provides information on how to set up an account with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS). You will also find guidance on how to update your bank account information and reset your password. 

If you are approved for Child  Care Counts payment and want to receive your payment faster through direct deposit (ACH), it is recommended that you register with FIS if you do not already have an account set up. 

If you are an existing provider currently receiving ACH payments and you need to update your bank account information, please contact FIS Merchant Services at Merchant.Services.Support@fisglobal.com,  or 1-800-894-0050 for a Bank Change Form. 

If you do not have an account with FIS, it will take longer for your Child Care Counts payments to reach you, as they will be sent by check from DCF. If you have any questions about registering with FIS, please contact the Child Care Counts call center for assistance. 

How to Change Video Closed Captions from English to Spanish 

This guide provides instructions on how to change video closed captions from English to Spanish. Note: the voiceover will remain in English. 

Tools

These tools will help you keep track of important dates and documentation regarding your Child Care Counts payments and more.

Employment and Wage Verification for Family Providers

This form can be completed by family providers to verify employment and wages. This can be used for owner/operator, and for staff of the family provider, too.

Online Calendar

View this online calendar for important dates related the to the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program. You can add dates to your personal calendar using this tool. 

Spending ToolNovember 2021 - July 2022

This tool is designed to help you keep track of how funds received from the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program were spent. View the Spending Tool training video (see video section above) to help you learn how to use the Spending Tool.

Request for Review - NEW

This document is recommended when requesting a review of a Child Care Counts denial. See Denials and Review Process section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

If you need help or have questions about the Child Care Counts payment program, please contact the Child Care Counts Call Center at DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov. If you are unable to email, you may call and leave a detailed message at 608-535-3650. Call center hours are 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

PLEASE NOTE: Email is recommended for a faster response.

When contacting the call center, please include your name, facility name, provider number, and detailed question.

 

 

Contact Information

Child Care Counts Call Center

If you need any assistance, please send an email to: DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov. If you are unable to email, you may call and leave your detailed questions at: 608-535-3650. Please note – email is recommended for a faster response. 

Call Center hours are 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F.

 

Terms and Conditions

Audit and Review Process - Updated

Child Care Counts Audit and Overview Training Video - New

This is a general overview of the Audit and Review Process. The audio is in English, but Spanish closed captions are available. 

View the step-by-step Child Care Counts Audit Process flowchart

DCF conducts monitoring and audits of the Child Care Counts Program. What does monitoring include?

Monitoring: DCF requires providers to enter names of children attending and staff employed in their applications. These names must be updated each month to reflect children attending and staff currently working to provide care. Child/staff information will be saved and tracked for changes each month. 

Documentation: DCF also requires providers to upload attendance documentation and staff employment details during their initial application. While uploads are not required each month, adding a significant number of new children will require additional records to verify those children are attending. To add staff, providers must adhere to the Child Background Check requirements in order to add those employees to the Child Care Provider Portal staff list. 

DCF Audits: DCF Audits are conducted for all Child Care Counts programs. This process includes an audit of application details, uploaded documentation, and request for documentation to show how the funds were spent. The audit process is used to confirm that providers were awarded accurate funding and to verify that the funds were used as outlined by the Terms and Conditions. The discovery of misapplied funds, inaccurate reporting, or failure to submit documents may result in an overpayment. 

DOA Reviews: The Department of Administration (DOA) must also conduct reviews of the Child Care Counts program. They will assess the details of applications, uploaded documentation, calculation of awards, and spending of the funds. These reviews are conducted to ensure that DCF has outlined a consistent program that follows federal regulations. DCF must also provide records for funds awarded and funds collected from overpayments to ensure the balance of funds is accurate and current.  

LAB Reviews: The Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) will also conduct reviews of the Child Care Counts program. They will monitor the program design, application details, upload of documents, request additional documents, review of the DCF audit and overpayment process, and tracking of funds. This review ensures that DCF upholds the integrity of the program. You can find dates and information for all rounds of Child Care Counts on the Child Care Counts Payment Program Overview page. 

What does a DCF Child Care Counts audit include?

DCF Child Care Counts Audits have two parts:

Eligibility review: DCF will review application details and verify the uploaded documents support those application details. Additional records may be requested. If it is discovered that children or staff were not eligible or could not be verified, as outlined in the Terms and Conditions, these discrepancies may result in an overpayment. 

Allowable Expenses review: DCF will request documentation to verify how the funds were spent. Providers must show that the funds were spent within the 120-day time frame, and verify that the expenses meet the guidelines for each program outlined in the Terms and Conditions. Unspent funds or failure to provide adequate receipts may result in an overpayment.

How will I be notified if I am selected for any type of audit or review?

All providers who participate in the Child Care Counts Program are subject to a DCF audit, DOA review, or LAB review. Providers who are selected for an audit or review will receive a written notice. 

This notice will indicate who is conducting the review or audit. It will also include details on:

  • Information requested
  • Date when the information must be submitted by
  • Where and how to submit the requested documentation 
  • Contact number for additional questions or assistance

How long does a Child Care Counts audit or review take?

Providers are provided a minimum 2-week time frame to submit required documentation. This documentation is expected to be uploaded to the Provider Portal. 

Once the documentation is complete, the audit or review can begin. This review process takes approximately 30-90 days. 

How does DCF select providers or applications to audit? 

DCF will pull a random 3% sample of submitted applications for audit or review. Providers will receive a written notice of review or audit in the Child Care Provider Portal and sent by US Mail.

Note: A single provider may be selected for more than one audit or not at all. Each time a random sample is pulled, it will include all providers who submitted applications. Providers who were already audited or reviewed may be selected again. 

What additional information may be requested?

Each review or audit will look at information for a specific time frame, which will be indicated in the review notice. 

Documents requested for the identified time frame may include: 

  • Attendance records 
  • Staff records and details
  • Receipts for funds spent 

How long should I keep records related to my application?

According to the Terms and Conditions, DCF reserves the right to request documentation of use of this funding for review or audit purposes up to five (5) years after you have received the funds. 

Note: Even if you are revoked, suspended, denied, voluntarily close your facility, or change ownership, access to Child Care Counts-related records may be requested and must be supplied. Failure to provide documentation in the 5-year review period may result in an overpayment of those funds.  

What do I submit to show how I spent the funds?

Examples of documentation include, but are not limited to: 

  • Mortgage/rent/space cost statements
  • Utility statements
  • Payroll and benefits records
  • Documentation of relief of tuition or copayment for families
  • Expenditures for mental health supports for families, staff, and children
  • Original invoices and/or receipts for purchases of materials/supplies including, but not limited to:
    • PPE, cleaning and sanitation supplies, and all other materials and services related to mitigating the risk of COVID-19
    • Materials and supplies for enhancing the program environment and/or curriculum, and social and emotional development supports
    • Educational supplies and learning materials

How do I submit documentation?

Documentation must be uploaded to the Program Integrity Documents section of the Child Care Provider Portal
See the Upload Guide and Upload Video to assist with the upload process. 

What if I upload the wrong documentation, upload incomplete information, or fail to upload additional information? 

Someone from DCF will be in contact to inform you of an error and will request you to upload the required documents. Your response will be time sensitive to ensure an overpayment is not assessed.

If you discover this upload error, you can upload the correct document into your portal at any time. You will not be able to remove any document uploaded in error. You may contact the Child Care Counts Call Center with questions.  

What if I am not able to spend the funds in the 120 days?

If a provider is unable to spend a Child Care Counts payment within the spending time frame, unused Child Care Counts funds must be immediately returned to DCF. Remember, Child Care Counts funding can be used to cover eligible expenses incurred after March 12, 2020. Providers can look back at their costs to identify where these funds can be used. 

For immediate return of Child Care Counts funds, mail a personal check, cashier’s check, or money order to the address below with the Provider Name, Provider #, Location #, and the Child Care Counts Round being returned:
Bureau of Child Care Subsidy Administration
Attention: Operations Program Associate
PO Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
 

Overpayments

How is a Child Care Counts Overpayment established? 

DCF will review your application, supporting documentation, and funds your facility was awarded. Any discrepancies of children or staff reported will be determined as misapplied funds and will need to be returned. This will result in a Child Care Counts Overpayment. 

Documentation must clearly outline that the funds were spent within the 120-calendar day time frame and in accordance with the Terms and Conditions. Failure to provide or lack of supportive documentation for allowable expenses will result in a Child Care Counts Overpayment. 

How will I be notified of a Child Care Counts Overpayment?

DCF will upload a Child Care Counts Overpayment Notice into your documentation tab in the Child Care Provider Portal. 

This notice will also be physically mailed to your facility. 

The notice will include:

  • If the overpayment is for Program A, B, or both
  • What months resulted in an overpayment
  • How much is owed
  • 30 days to repay 
  • Instructions on how to repay 
  • Consequence of not repaying

How do I repay my Child Care Counts Overpayment?

The Child Care Counts Overpayment Notice will include instructions on how to pay and where to send payment to. It is also important to include the remittance slip included in your notice when you send your payment. This will ensure that DCF can apply payment to this debt.

Bureau of Child Care Subsidy Administration
Attention: Operations Program Associate
PO Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916

It is important to note failure to address this overpayment will impact you receiving future Child Care Counts payments. Providers must enter into repayment and stay current on payments. 

What happens if I cannot pay my Child Care Counts Overpayment?

Failure to take action to resolve this overpayment will result in future denial of Child Care Counts payments. 

If you cannot pay the debt in full, you may contact the Bureau of Finance to set up a repayment plan. Child Care Counts eligibility requires that providers are in active and current repayment.

Contact the DCF Bureau of Finance to discuss repayment options: 608-422-7550.

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The Child Care Counts programs are time-limited payment programs designed to provide assistance to child care providers in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. They are not subawards as that term is defined in 45 CFR 75 and related federal regulations.