Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Supplementary Payment - Program Now Closed

Banner image for the child care counts payment program - now closed - featuring children and the department's logo

Información en español

This program is now closed. Read about the new Child Care Counts: Supplementary Payment Program.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) is committed to continuing to support the demand for high-quality child care access for Wisconsin’s families by launching a supplemental payment program to offer additional support for child care providers. An additional $30 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) dollars are being directed toward supporting early care and education providers. The additional funds will allow DCF to conduct an additional round of payments to early care and education providers.

The Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Supplementary Payment Program is designed to help counter troubling trends persisting in the aftermath of the public health emergency. The additional round will of funding will be distributed through two, new programs targeted at the current challenges early care and education providers are facing. Applications and program eligibility details will be available starting September 9, 2020, with the application window closing September 18, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Payment notifications will be issued on September 26, 2020.

The individual payment programs are detailed below.

These payments are a new, supplementary version of the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program. That program delivered $51 million in funds to 2,712 providers statewide through three application periods from May 18 – July 10, 2020.

Application Period – September 9 – September 18, 2020


Payment Program A – Providing Safe, Healthy, and High-Quality Child Care Opportunities

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

Use this step-by-step guide to help you complete your application.

Child Care Counts Age Chart -

Payment Program B – Funding Staff Recruitment and Retention Efforts

This program is designed to support the costs associated with recruiting and retaining high-quality staff.

Use this step-by-step guide to help you complete your application.
 

Please email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov or call 608-535-3650 for assistance.

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

 

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 grants as that term is defined in 45 CFR 72 and related federal regulations, and use of the word “grant” is incidental.


Payment Program A - Providing Safe, Healthy, and High-Quality Child Care Opportunities

Who can apply

  • Regulated child care providers (licensed or certified providers)

Eligibility

  • Must be licensed or certified in good standing
  • May not be operating under license revocation, suspension from Wisconsin Shares, summary suspension, or regulation application denial

Requirements

  • Be open or able to reopen by 10/19/20 and caring for children ages 0-12 (or under age 18 for children with disabilities)
  • Follow health and safety guidelines for child care providers as outlined by DCF
  • Have a license or certification in good standing as outlined by DCF
  • Licensed Group Centers, Licensed Day Camps & Public School Programs: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, have at least 1/3 of enrolled children are age 5 or under.
  • Regulated Family Providers: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, have at least 1 enrolled child age 5 or under.
  • Use the funds for to support the costs of maintaining or enhancing high-quality care, which include, but are not limited to:
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Materials/supplies for cleaning and sanitation
    • Materials/supplies for enhancing environment
    • Professional Development and/or continuing education
    • Structural changes/modifications to meet compliance guidelines
    • Additional costs to ensure high-quality programming
  • Agree to payment program Terms and Conditions

Use this step-by-step guide to help you complete your application.

Read the Terms and Conditions.

Payment Program B – Funding Staff Recruitment and Retention Efforts

Who can apply

  • Regulated child care providers (licensed or certified providers)

Eligibility

  • Must be licensed or certified in good standing
  • May not be operating under license revocation, suspension from Wisconsin Shares, summary suspension, or regulation application denial

Requirements

  • Be open or able to reopen by 10/19/20 and caring for children ages 0-12 (or under age 18 for children with disabilities)
  • Follow health and safety guidelines for child care providers as outlined by DCF
  • Have a license or certification in good standing as outlined by DCF
  • Licensed Group Centers, Licensed Day Camps & Public School Programs: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, have at least 1/3 of enrolled children are age 5 or under.
  • Regulated Family Providers: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, have at least 1 enrolled child age 5 or under.
  • Use the funds to provide incentive pay or sign-on bonus to current or future employees with approved background checks
  • Agree to payment program Terms and Conditions

Use this step-by-step guide to help you complete your application.

Read the Terms and Conditions.

How to Apply for Payments

How to Prepare for your Payment Application

  • Please read these instructions to determine what information will be needed, and what you can do ahead of time to prepare for your payment application.

Use this step-by-step guide to help you complete your application.

  • These instructions provide step-by-step guidance on submitting your application for the two available payment programs.

If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, you can request access and log in following these instructions.

We recommend that you submit your application through the 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 (608-535-3650) with a DCF representative. Please email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov or call 608-535-3650 for assistance.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

My program does not have 1/3 of children under age 6 (or 1 child under age 6 for family providers). I was not able to submit my application. Does this mean that I cannot apply for this payment program?

Correct, you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for this program if you have too few children under the age of 6. This program is intended to provide additional support to programs serving young children. The requirement to include 1/3 of children under age 6 for Licensed Group, Licensed Camp and Public School providers, and at least 1 child under age 6 for regulated family child care providers was determined based on the following factors:

  • Funding for birth-5 early care and education programs, specifically child care, is limited and different than funding designed for older children who participate variety of programs (e.g., K-12, afterschool programs, etc.).
  • Currently, infant and toddler care is expensive to operate, resulting in fewer infant and toddler slots across the state. In order for parents to return to work, infant and toddler care is needed, in addition to care for 3- to 5-year-old children and school-agers. This age stipulation supports the ongoing need for child care for young children. 
  • The high costs associated with caring for children under age 6 is much higher due to staff to child ratios, resulting in a slim, at best, profit margin. This payment program was designed to include a percentage of children under age 6 so that current child care slots were not solely provided to school-age children, ultimately resulting in infant, toddler, and preschool slots being eliminated.
  • School-age children who are participating in virtual instruction will eventually return to in-person instruction, leaving child care slots currently unavailable to parents with children under age 6, and potentially unfilled slots when children return to school.
  • In order for Wisconsin’s economy to reopen, parents need to return to work and children must have safe and supportive child care options for all ages, including children under age 6.

I did not have any children enrolled on 9/4/20. Can I still apply?

No, if a provider (open or closed) has no enrolled children and/or does not meet the threshold, (1/3 enrolled children under age 6 for Licensed Group, Licensed Camp and Public School providers or 1 child under age 6 for regulated family child care providers) they do not meet the eligibility requirements and cannot apply for this funding.

Can I apply for both Program A and Program B? I do not have any additional staff to enter for program B.

YES – you can still apply for both programs. If you are a family provider, be sure to enter yourself in the staff list.

Who is eligible to apply for Payment Program A?

Eligible Applicants: Regulated child care providers: Licensed or certified child care providers that are currently or will continue to provide care to children.

Applicant must:

  • Be open or able to reopen by 10/19/20 and caring for children ages 0-12 (or age 18 and younger for children with disabilities)
  • Follow the health and safety administrative rules for child care providers as outlined by DCF
  • Have a license or certification in good standing as outlined by DCF 
  • Licensed Group Centers, Licensed Day Camps & Public School Programs: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, at least 1/3 of enrolled children are age 5 or under
  • Regulated Family Provider: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, at least 1 enrolled child age 5 or under
  • Age Chart - Birth to 5 Children Needed (Download this Excel chart to help you determine if you are eligible.)
    • Disclaimer: This chart can be used to help you determine if you meet the children age 5 or under threshold to apply for Child Care Counts Payment Program A and B. It DOES NOT provide a final answer for your eligibility. To determine if you are eligible, submit an application through the Child Care Provider Portal.

Who is eligible to apply for Payment Program B?

Eligible Applicants: Regulated child care providers: Licensed or certified child care providers that are currently or will continue to provide care to children.

Applicant must:

  • Be open or able to re-open by 10/19/20 and caring for children ages 0-12 (or age 18 and younger for children with disabilities)
  • Follow the health and safety administrative rules for child care providers as outlined by DCF
  • Have a license or certification in good standing as outlined by DCF 
  • Licensed Group Centers, Licensed Day Camps & Public School Programs: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, at least 1/3 of enrolled children are age 5 or under
  • Regulated Family Provider: During 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, at least 1 enrolled child 5 or under
  • Use the funds to provide incentive pay or sign-on bonus to current or future employees with approved background checks

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

Yes - Child care programs that were open on 9/4/20 or temp closed and intend to reopen before 10/19/20 can apply for both Payment Programs A and B.

  • Payment Program A is intended to support the costs of maintaining or enhancing compliance status, quality level, and increasing health and safety practices. Child care providers that were open on 9/4/20 or closed and intend to reopen before 10/19/20 can apply. Providers who were open can also receive funds for each child who attended between 8/30/20 - 9/5/20.
  • Payment Program B is to support the costs associated with recruiting and retaining high-quality staff. Providers can receive a base amount to help with staff recruitment and ongoing support for staff.  Providers can also receive a staff add-on amount (paid back to the employee as a bonus or wage increase) for each staff member listed on the application. The staff add-on is not intended for household members who do not care for children or for volunteers.

Example scenarios

  • A program was open and caring for children for a period of time AND was temporarily closed due to COVID-19 for a period of time can apply for Programs A & 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, you must submit new applications for this new round of funding. If you applied before, much of your information will be copied into the current application. Please review any information that is automatically filled in on the application to make sure it is accurate, and update as needed.

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

Yes, you can make changes to your application until the application period closes at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 18. Applications cannot be modified after the application period closes.

What happens after I submit my application?

The review period will take five (5) business days from the last day of the application period (September 18). You will be notified via email when payment letters are available. When you receive the email that the review period is complete, you will be instructed to log in to the Provider Portal to view your payment letter. If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for assistance.

I am temporarily closed, and I do not plan to reopen by 10/19/20. Should I still apply?

No, if you know that you are unable to reopen by 10/19/20, unfortunately you are ineligible to apply for these payment programs.

How can I spend these funds?

The funds can be spent on anything that can be shown to support the child care program operations. Funds may be used for:

  • Mortgage/Rent
  • Utilities
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Materials/supplies for cleaning and sanitation
  • Materials/supplies for enhancing the program environment, curriculum and family engagement activities
  • Professional development and/or continuing education
  • Structural changes/modifications to meet compliance guidelines or enhance the program environment

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

You must email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov to discuss the details of your situation. You may need to return the funds that you received if you are unable to meet the Terms and Conditions of the payment program.

How many providers applied for payments and how much was paid out?

Data on provider payments from past Child Care Counts funding can be accessed online and will be updated to include Child Care Counts: Covid-19 Supplementary Payment amounts the week of September 28.

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

Child care providers must follow DCF Child Care Regulation health and safety administrative rules in order to apply for Child Care Counts; COVID-19 Supplementary Payment Program.
 

Application Questions

How do local orders impact the reopen by 10/19/20 timeline?

Providers must agree to the Terms and Conditions that they plan to reopen by 10/19/20 or within 30 days of the end of a local/county safer at home order, whichever is later. If a program is unable to reopen by 10/19/20 because of a local/county safer at home order, they must send an email to DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

I was closed on 9/4/20 for a vacation day (or other similar closure reason). Can I still apply? How do I answer the questions about if I was open on 9/4/20 and temporary closures?

Yes, you can still apply. If your program was in open status (as opposed to temporarily closed) you should answer YES for the question “Was your facility open on 9/4/20” under the heading “Tell us if your program is opened or closed due to COVID-19.” A closure due to example: long weekend, vacation day, etc. is not a temporary closure. Additionally, this type of closure should not be entered as a temporary closure on the Temporary Closure page.

How do I/where do I enter information for my application?

You can enter your Child Care Counts applications through the Child Care Provider Portal. Please see this How to Prepare manual for instructions on how to get access to the Child Care Provider Portal. Once you have access, please see this application instruction manual for additional information on how to enter your application into Child Care Provider Portal.

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 or not.

My location was closed during the week of 8/30/20 - 9/5/20. How do I enter the staff work status?

If your location was closed during the funding period, please indicate the status of the employee (part-time/full time) prior to closure.

I do not technically pay myself, so how do I fill out the staff section for myself?

If you are a licensed or certified family provider, you will add yourself as a staff member in the staff section.

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

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

You will enter the total number of children enrolled and add each child on the Add Child page. On the Add Child page, you will see a checkbox to indicate if they attended the center the week of 8/30/20 - 9/5/20. Check this box if they attended at all during the week of 8/30/20 - 9/5/20. If they did not attend during that time, leave the box unchecked.
 

Financial Questions

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

Funds received from the Child Care Counts Payment Program are not considered a grant, so they are not subject to the State Single Audit. All Child Care Counts funding (from the Covid-19 Emergency Payment Program Summer 2020 to the new Covid-19 Supplementary Payment Program Fall 2020) is subject to review by DCF to ensure compliance with the Terms and Conditions of the program, so we recommend keeping records of how all Child Care Counts funds were spent in case of a DCF financial review.

When will I receive my payment?

If you are registered with FIS, it may take up to 7 business days from the date of your payment letter. If you are not registered with FIS, it may take up to 14 business days from the date you complete your W-9. If you are not registered with FIS, you will receive instructions on submitting your W-9 with your payment letter.

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 their information on file with FIS and their bank

If any of the four questions above are answered “no”, please follow the bank change instructions below:
You must update your bank account information with FIS in order to receive your payment into the correct bank account. Please see these instructions to update your bank account information with FIS. Before submitting the bank change form, please double check these four items:

  1. Verify both new and old account were submitted on the form
  2. Verify a voided check or bank letter was sent with the form
  3. Verify voided check or bank letter that was submitted has the same information as the bank account information
  4. If the old account information is unknown, contact the State via the call center and tell them you don’t know your old bank account information

Do I have to spend the funds for expenses that occurred during the funding period?

There is no funding period associated with this funding opportunity. Funds can be used for past, current, and future costs for expenses, staff compensation, and other costs as outlined in the Terms & Conditions to support your program.

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

There is no strict time limit. However, in the event of an audit of expenditures, you would need to have a plan for using any unspent funds.

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.

What does the base amount and per staff amount mean for Program B: Funding Staff Recruitment and Retention Efforts?

Payments for Program B will include a base amount and per staff amount. The base amount is to be used for staff recruitment and ongoing support for staff. The per staff amount will be calculated for each staff member with an approved background check and dependent on full time or part-time work status. This amount is to be paid directly to each staff member that was listed on the application.

Family child care providers are eligible for the base amount plus a per staff amount, even if there is only one teacher/provider.

Why did I not receive a payment up to the maximum amount for Payment Program A or Payment Program B? -or- My payment amount does not match up according to the calculations. Why not?

There are some factors that could cause your payment amount to differ such as staff/child part-time or full time schedules, children not listed as attending for the week of 8/30/20 - 9/5/20, and ineligibility of staff because of an incomplete background check.

How was my payment amount determined?

Calculation of payments was based on available funding and used base amounts to equitably distribute payments using program criteria. Refer to the information in the How Payments are Determined accordion below for more details.

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

You must update your bank account information with FIS in order to receive your payment into the correct bank account. Please fill out the Provider Bank Information Form and send to FIS Merchant Services via email: Merchant.Services.Support@fisglobal.com, fax: 1-414-341-7085, OR the mailing address listed at the top of the form. For more information read the handy ebtEdge Provider Portal Instructions.

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. FIS is currently experiencing long wait times. 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, email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for additional assistance.

 

How Payments are Determined - Updated

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

When DCF crafted the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Supplementary Payment Program, we tried to anticipate the level of interest among providers. We set maximum payment amounts according to those estimates. The response from the provider community gratified and overwhelmed us. Because the amounts requested exceeded the funds available, we needed to make adjustments to the payment amounts. Therefore, we established some new metrics, which we have applied across the board to all recipients.

Payment Program A: Providing Safe, Healthy, and High-quality Child Care Opportunities

New Metrics for Payment Program A

Payment Program A Revised Calculation
Family Base $770 Base amount for regulated family providers (open and temporarily closed)
Group Base $1,100 Base amount for licensed group, licensed camp & public school providers (open and temporarily closed)
Full-time $365 Per child amount for full-time child 0-2 years 11 months old
Full-time $190 Per child amount for full-time child 3-5 years 11 months old
Full-time $90 Per child amount for full-time child 6 years and older
Part-time $210 Per child amount for part-time child 0-2 years 11 months old
Part-time $110 Per child amount for part-time child 3-5 years 11 months old
Part-time $50 Per child amount for part-time child 6 years and older
Disability $30 Per child amount for each child with a disability
Cap $20,000 Program maximum amount allowed

 

Payment Program B: Funding Staff Recruitment and Retention Efforts

New Metrics for Payment Program B

Payment Program B Revised Calculation
Family Base $400 Base amount for regulated family providers (open and temporarily closed)
Group Base $660 Base amount for licensed group, licensed camp & public school providers (open and temporarily closed)
Full-time Staff $600 Per full-time staff member listed on payroll
Part-time Staff $350 Per part-time staff member listed on payroll
Cap $20,000 Program maximum amount allowed


 

Terms and Conditions

Need Help?

If you need help or have questions about your Payment Program status, please email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

Or, call and leave your detailed questions at 608-535-3650.