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Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2

cartoon image of two children on a teeter totter

Get ready for September Child Care Counts Update/Application Week!

 

 


What You Need to Do During Update/Application Week

  • You must complete and submit a new initial application to be eligible for ongoing monthly payments for Round 2. 
  • If you applied in August, much of your information will be copied to the new application. Be sure to review this information carefully and update as needed when submitting the new application.
  • If you were approved for August funds, you must update your child and staff information during the next update/application period, September 26 – October 5, 2022.
  • If your August application is on hold (application status is “submitted”), you still must update your child and staff information during the next update/application period, September 26 – October 5, 2022.
  • Watch the How to Apply videos to view step-by-step instructions on how to submit your application. Review the Updating Your Child Care Counts Information During Update Week video to learn how to make application modifications during Update Week.

New Spending Tools Available

You can now download one of two spending tool options to help you track your Round 2 payments (August 2022 – April 2023). This tool is recommended, but not required, for organizing and tracking your Round 2 payment spending. 

For Round 2, we heard your suggestions and created two spending tool options for you. You can now choose from a spreadsheet that you can use in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets or a document that you can print out or use in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

You can download the Spending Tool Excel Spreadsheet to organize your expenses with built-in calculations. You can download the Spending Tool Word Document to print or use in in a different format.
 


Important Dates and Spending Deadlines for Round 2

All Stabilization Payment Program funds must be spent within 120 days from the date of the payment letter

Month

Update / Application Week

Count Week

Payment Letter Date

Spending Deadline

August 2022

8/22 – 9/6/22

8/7 – 8/20/22

9/16/22

1/14/23

September 2022

9/26 – 10/5/22

9/11 – 9/24/22

10/21/22

2/18/23

October 2022

10/24 – 10/28/22

10/9 – 10/22/22

11/18/22

3/18/23

November 2022

11/21 – 11/29/22

11/6 – 11/19/22

12/16/22

4/15/23

December 2022

12/19 – 12/23/22

12/4 – 12-17/22

1/13/23

5/13/23

January 2023

1/16 – 1/23/23

1/1 – 1/14/23

2/10/23

6/10/23

February 2023

2/20 – 2/24/23

2/5 – 2/18/23

3/17/23

7/15/23

March 2023

3/20 – 3/24/23

3/5 – 3/18/23

4/14/23

8/12/23

April 2023

4/24 – 4/28/23

4/9 – 4/22/23

5/19/23

9/16/23

 


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


The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has allocated $351 million in funds for the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The Stabilization Payment Program Round 2 is a nine-month payment program that runs August 2022 through April 2023. It will be followed by an additional nine-month payment program, with the renewal application opening in May 2023. Once approved for payments, eligible providers may continue to receive ongoing monthly payments, providing the financial stability they need to stay open, to recruit and retain qualified staff, and to continue providing high-quality care for children.

These funds will be distributed through two programs targeting the challenges early care and education providers are facing. Details about each program can be found below.

 

Definition of Terms

See below for definition of terms that are used to define different points in time, and how payments are determined for the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2.

Definition of Terms – Points in Time

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 for the 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 August, they must update child and/or staff information during the Monthly Update Week in September and each subsequent month

Count Week

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

  • The Count Week is 2 weeks, or 14 days long
  • 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 

Payment Review Days

The days when DCF reviews applications and updates to ensure the provider remains eligible for payments.

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 April 1, 2022 and 120 days from the date of the payment letter. 

Per-Child Amount

Program A Payment amount for each child entered in the application for the Count Week.

Wisconsin Shares Add-on Amount

Program A payment amount given in addition to the Per-Child Amount for each child included in the application who had a Wisconsin Shares Authorization during the Count Week.

Inclusive Birth to 3 Pilot Add-on Amount

Program A payment amount given in addition to the Per-Child Amount for each child included in the application who is participating in the Inclusive Birth to 3 Child Care Pilot.

Non-Standard Hours Add-on Amount

Program A payment amount given in addition to the Per-Child Amount for each child included in the application who attended 20 or more hours of care during non-standard hours during the Count Week.

(NOTE: Any care provided between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays, or any care provided on Saturday or Sunday is considered care during non-standard hours.)

Base Per-Staff Amount 

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

Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount 

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

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

There are some changes for The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2. See below for some highlights of what is the same, and what is different for Round 2 of the Stabilization Payment Program.

What is the Same for Round 2?

Monthly Payments 

The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2 is a nine-month payment program that runs August 2022 through April 2023. It will be followed by an additional nine-month payment program, with the renewal application opening in May 2023. 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 initial Stabilization Round 2 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/verify child and staff information and re-submit their application 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 April 1, 2022 and 120 days from the date of the payment letter. Providers must keep documentation of how funds were spent. 

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-19 exposure.  

What’s New for Round 2?

Program B – Expanded Allowable Use of Funds

Base Per-Staff Amount

Allowable uses of funds for Program B have been expanded based on provider feedback. The focus of Program B remains on supporting staff compensation, while offering more flexibility in the use of funds to better support recruitment and retention. Program B will still consist of a Base-Per Staff amount, and for programs participating in YoungStar, a Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount.

The Program B Base Per-Staff funds can now be used to cover existing payroll in order maintain or increase the existing wage.

Increasing staff compensation is still recommended. At a minimum, you must use the Base Per-Staff Amount to maintain existing compensation. Compensation (wages, benefits, bonuses) cannot be decreased for staff included in that month’s application for the duration of the payment program.

Quality Incentive Amount

Use of funds from the Program B Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount are no longer restricted to staff with an approved DCF background check.

This means that funds can be used for vendors and services provided to the child care program who are not required to have an approved DCF background check (for example, a training or professional development service, or a recruitment or advertising agency).

See the Use of Funds section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Non-Standard Hours Add-On

The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2 will include an additional per-child add on for Payment Program A – Increasing Access to High-Quality Care.

This add-on amount will be given to eligible providers in addition to the Per-Child Amount for each child included in the application who attended 20 or more hours of care during non-standard hours across the Count Week.

For the purposes of Child Care Counts, there are four types of nonstandard care:

  • Early-morning Care: Care provided between the hours of 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Evening Care: Care provided between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Overnight Care: Care provided between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Weekend Care: Care provided anytime on Saturday or Sunday

View this video for an overview of the Non-Standard Hours Add-On.

See the Non-Standard Hours section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Inclusive Birth to 3 Pilot Add-On Amount

There will be a future Program A add-on amount for providers caring for children who are participating in the Inclusive Birth to 3 Child Care Pilot. This additional amount will be added automatically to eligible providers payments, and providers do not need to include any additional information in their application.

Renewal Application – New Feedback Questions

The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2 renewal application will include a few new questions. These feedback questions will provide valuable information on the impact of the Child Care Counts Program and inform potential future opportunities for support. These questions are intended to:

  • Help DCF understand how providers have used their Round 1 Stabilization funds
    • Which expenses were funds used for most?
  • Gather input from child care providers
    • This feedback will help DFC understand how future funding opportunities could best support providers in stabilizing and strengthening their child care programs.

These feedback questions will only be used for information gathering purposes.

  • This information will not be used for audit purposes.
  • These questions will ask for approximate amounts and will not be reviewed against any actual documentation that you may be asked to provide in the event of an audit.
  • Please estimate how much you used. There is no need to gather documentation for this form.
  • Feedback results will not be published with your facility name, nor with any identifying information related to your child care

These questions will only need to be completed one time for the duration of Stabilization Round 2. These will appear in a provider’s initial Round 2 application.

View the Feedback Questions to see what questions will be included in the Round 2 application.

See the Feedback Questions section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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, the Application Week, Monthly Update Weeks, and on Payment Review Days. 
  • 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 be in compliance with health and safety administrative rules for child care providers as outlined by DCF Child Care Regulation and meet the requirements of any local orders
  • If my program has an outstanding Wisconsin Shares or Child Care Counts overpayment, I must be in compliance with any DCF Finance Repayment Agreement. If there is no Agreement, I must be making regular monthly payments toward the debt.
  • 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, 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
      • You are encouraged to prioritize families most in need of financial relief.
      • Wisconsin Shares payments to families cannot be reimbursed.

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 DCF program or reimbursed by another state or federal fund source
  • Costs must have been incurred between April 1, 2022 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 , the Application Week, Monthly Update Weeks, and on Payment Review Days.  
  • 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 be in compliance with health and safety administrative rules for child care providers as outlined by DCF Child Care Regulation and meet the requirements of any local orders
  • If my program has an outstanding Wisconsin Shares or Child Care Counts overpayment, I must be in compliance with any DCF Finance Repayment Agreement. If there is no Agreement, I must be making regular monthly payments toward the debt.
  • 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.

  • Base Per-Staff Amount must be used, at minimum, to maintain existing 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: wages, bonuses, benefits, recruiting, 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 April 1, 2022 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.

 Child Care Provider Portal

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

 

August 2022 Payment Amounts (Payment letter date 9/16/22)

Payment Letter Date 9/16/22

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.

The Non-Standard Hours 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 attended 20 or more hours of care during non-standard hours 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

Non-Standard Hours Add-On Amount

Per Child

$150

 

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

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

NOTE: The FAQs are grouped generally by topic within each section below. Some questions may fall into more than one topic, so please be sure to review all sections.

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 Child Care Counts?

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 and Program B.

Will there be additional funds available for children who have disabilities?

Not yet. There will be additional funding in Payment Program A in the future. This will be a per-child add-on amount for eligible providers who are caring for children participating in the Inclusive Birth to 3 Child Care Pilot.

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. Providers will also need to upload verification documents during their initial application of Stabilization Round 2.

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

NOTE: The FAQs are grouped generally by topic within each section below. Some questions may fall into more than one topic, so please be sure to review all sections.

Questions Related to Documents

How do I submit documentation?

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

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.

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 August 5 for the time worked July 10 – July 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. 

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

Per the Terms and 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. 

Questions About Staff Included on the Application

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? 

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 cannot be added to the application.

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 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. 

How do I remove staff from my application?

To remove staff from your application, you must remove them from the staff list in the application. Follow the steps below to remove staff from your application:

  1. Open the application for Program B
  2. Click the Staff button
  3. Click Details next to the staff name
  4. Click …More in the bottom right of the screen
  5. Click Modify Staff Details
  6. Do either one of the following:
    • Answer No for "Is the individual employed or on payroll anytime between (dates of the Count Week)." This option should be used when the individual is expected to be returning/employed or on payroll during the next Count Week.
    • Check the box next to "Remove this staff from the grant?" This option should be used when the individual is no longer employed at your facility, and you must follow the additional steps below.
  7. Click Modify

If the staff member will be returning during a later Count Week, (for example, after the summer), no further action is needed until the staff member begins work again. At that time, add the person back into the application. 
  
If the staff member is no longer employed at your facility, you must also enter end dates and modify the Individual Details section in Child Care Provider Portal. Follow the steps below to enter an end date for your staff:

  1. Open the Individuals tab (Note: This is not on the application page.)
  2. Click Details next to the staff name
  3. Click Modify Individual Details
  4. Change the Employment/Residency Status to ‘Inactive’
  5. Enter a date for the Employment/Residency End Date
  6. Click Save

Failure to enter end dates may prevent staff from being added to another facility’s application. 

Note: Providers may not involuntarily furlough (lay off without pay) staff who appear on their center’s application. Child Care Counts Stabilization Payment Program funds for staff may be halted only upon their termination for cause or their voluntary separation from my center.

 

Attendance and Enrollment

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).

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 August 22, 2022, enter the total number of children who attended at least one day between 8/7/22 and 8/20/22. On the Add Child page, use the checkbox to indicate if the child attended during the week of 8/7/22 and 8/20/22. Mark "yes" if they attended at all during that week. If they did not attend during that time, mark "no."

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 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
  • 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. 

NOTE regarding Enrolled vs. Attended for the Non-Standard Hours Add-On:

In order to receive the Non-Standard Hours Add-On amount, the child must have attended at least 20 hours of care during non-standard hours across the Count Week. If the child is enrolled to attend during non-standard hours, they must have actually attended least 20 hours of care during non-standard hours across the Count Week to be eligible for the add-on.

See the Non-Standard Hours section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

 

Questions Related to Eligibility – Can I Apply?

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, subsequent Monthly Update Weeks, and on Payment Review Days. 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 institutional payroll policy or other reasons prevent me from providing bonuses or wage increases. Can I still apply for Program B? 

If you were unable to apply for Program B in the past due to institutional policies that prevented you from providing bonuses or wage increase, you may now be able to apply for Program B in Round 2. Program B funds can now be used to cover existing payroll in order to maintain or increase existing wages.

I was closed during the Count Week for a vacation (or other non-COVID-19 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 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. 

Questions Related to Seasonal Closures or Other Seasonal Program Changes

My facility will not be operational for a period of time, for example, it is closed during the summer. What should I do with my Child Care Counts Application? 

Your facility must be open and caring for children during the Count Week in order to receive payment. If you are closed due to any reason other than COVID-19 exposure, your application will be denied and you will receive a denial letter. 

If your program is closed during the entire Count Week for any reason other than COVID-19 exposure (which may include seasonal closures), withdraw your Child Care Counts application using the steps below:

  1. On the main page of the application, click ‘Modify Application Details’ in the ‘Payment Program Details’ section for Increasing Access to High-Quality Care or Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention.
  2. Click the downward arrow next to ‘Review Needed’ and select ‘Withdrawn’ from the drop-down menu. 
  3. Then, click on ‘Modify’.  
  4. Repeat this process to withdraw from any remaining applications (Payment A and Payment B must be withdrawn separately). 

NOTE: You can only withdraw or edit your application during the Application/Update Week for the current month. To re-enter the CCC payment program after withdrawing your application, you will need to reapply during a future Application/Update week.

See the Child Care Counts Calendar for future Application/Update Weeks.

Reminder: If staff members are no longer employed at your facility, you must enter employment end dates and remove them from your Child Care Provider Portal Staff List. Failing to update this information may restrict staff from being added to a new employer’s Program B application. (Remember to update employees in the Child Care Provider Portal for background check purposes as well.) 

I have changes to my child attendance or enrollment for summer/school year 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 August Count Week 8/7/22 – 8/20/22, and has since changed to part-time enrollment during September Count Week 9/11/22 – 9/24/22 (e.g., for the school year), the September 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., next summer).

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. 

 

4K Classrooms

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). 

 

Virtual Programming

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

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?

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. 

 

Family Providers

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. 

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

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?

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.

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?

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. 

 

Other Questions

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

You'll find the new terms in the Definition of Terms section 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 new Application Guide for additional information on how to enter an application into Child Care Provider Portal.

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.

Can I fix an error I found in my application?

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 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.  

How do I withdraw my application?

You can withdraw your Child Care Counts application using the steps below:

  1. On the main page of the application, click ‘Modify Application Details’ in the ‘Payment Program Details’ section for Increasing Access to High-Quality Care or Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention.
  2. Click the downward arrow next to ‘Review Needed’ and select ‘Withdrawn’ from the drop-down menu. 
  3. Then, click on ‘Modify’.  
  4. Repeat this process to withdraw from any remaining applications (Payment A and Payment B must be withdrawn separately). 

NOTE: You can only withdraw or edit your application during the Application/Update Week for the current month. To re-enter the CCC payment program after withdrawing your application, you will need to reapply during a future Application/Update week.

See the Child Care Counts Calendar for future Application/Update Weeks.

Reminder: If staff members are no longer employed at your facility, you must enter employment end dates and remove them from your Child Care Provider Portal Staff List. Failing to update this information may restrict staff from being added to a new employer’s Program B application. (Remember to update employees in the Child Care Provider Portal for background check purposes as well.)         

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.

 

Update Week

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

August 2022

8/22 – 9/2/22

8/7 – 8/20/22

9/16/22

1/14/23

September 2022

9/26 – 9/30/22

9/11 – 9/24/22

10/21/22

2/18/23

October 2022

10/24 – 10/28/22

10/9 – 10/22/22

11/18/22

3/18/23

November 2022

11/21 – 11/29/22

11/6 – 11/19/22

12/16/22

4/15/23

December 2022

12/19 – 12/23/22

12/4 – 12-17/22

1/13/23

5/13/23

January 2023

1/16 – 1/23/23

1/1 – 1/14/23

2/10/23

6/10/23

February 2023

2/20 – 2/24/23

2/5 – 2/18/23

3/17/23

7/15/23

March 2023

3/20 – 3/24/23

3/5 – 3/18/23

4/14/23

8/12/23

April 2023

4/24 – 4/28/23

4/9 – 4/22/23

5/19/23

9/16/23

 

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

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. 
 

Permanent Facility Closures and Change of Ownership

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.

 

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 PortalNote: 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-19 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-19 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-19 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 August Count Week. One classroom is closed due to COVID-19 exposure. Children from the two open classrooms are included in the August Application. If classroom three reopens before the September Count Week, children from that classroom can be added during the September 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-19 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-19 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-19 exposure during a future Count Week.

Example: If you have already received payment for the months of August and September, and in October you closed your facility due to a COVID-19 exposure, you may be eligible to receive payment for October. 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-19 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-19 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-19 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-19 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-19 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-19 exposure. Can I still receive payment?

Yes. If a provider must close a classroom due to COVID-19 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-19 exposure/closure. For example, if children disenroll, or staff are no longer employed.

If a child did not attend due to COVID-19 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. Be sure to include that child in the total count for “Number of children attended” on the Application Details page.

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-19 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-19 exposure.

During the Monthly Update Week, you must update child and staff information changes that occurred during the Count Week regardless of the COVID-19 exposure/closure. For example, if children disenroll, or staff are no longer employed.

If a child did not attend due to COVID-19 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. Be sure to include that child in the total count for “Number of children attended” on the Application Details page.

 

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 Single Audit requirements? 

Funds received from the Child Care Counts Payment Program are not considered a subaward, so they are not subject to the Federal Single Audit requirements. 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.

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. 

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.

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? 

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? 

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 April 1, 2022 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:

  • August Payment Letter Date 9/16/22– Funds must be spent by 1/14/23, on costs incurred from 4/1/22 – 1/14/23
  • September Payment Letter Date 10/21/22– Funds must be spent by 2/18/23, on costs incurred from 4/1/22 – 2/18/23

See the Update Week section of the FAQs and the Child Care Counts Calendar for important dates for Stabilization Round 2.

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 as follows: 

  • Awarded Base Per-Staff funds must be used to maintain or increase compensation (through wages, bonuses, or benefits) for each staff person listed in each month’s Count Week.
    • At a minimum, you must use the Base Per-Staff Amount to maintain existing compensation.
    • Compensation (wages, benefits, bonuses) cannot be decreased for staff included in that month’s application for the duration of the payment program.
  • Awarded Quality Incentive Per-Staff funds must be used toward one or more of the following:
    • Wages, bonuses, benefits
    • Professional development, staff training, scholarships, other continuing education expenses
      • Funds can be used for vendors and services provided to the child care program who are not required to have an approved DCF background check (for example, a training or professional development service, or a recruitment or advertising agency).
    • Funds can also be used to pay staff who support the overall operations of the child care program. For example: staff who do not work onsite, do not provide direct care to children, are not required to have a DCF approved background check, or are not added to the application.

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 distributed at your discretion to maintain or increase compensation for existing staff. These funds must be spent within 120 days of the date of the payment letter from which they were awarded. 

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. 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. At a minimum, you must use the Base Per-Staff Amount to maintain existing compensation for each staff person listed in the given month’s application.

  • For example, if a full-time staff member receives $15 per hour currently, they must continue to receive at least $15 per hour for the duration of the payment program.

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: wages, bonuses, benefits, professional development, staff training, scholarships, other continuing education expenses, sign-on bonuses or other recruiting costs.

  • For example, the Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount for the Payment Letter dated 9/16/22 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 Payment Letter 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.

Can I use CCC funds to pay staff who are not added to the application?

Yes. Funds can be used to pay staff who support the overall operations of the child care program. For example: staff who do not work onsite, do not provide direct care to children, or are not required to have a DCF approved background check

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? 

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 two 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 Program A funds to make physical improvements to my facility or property? What is the difference between a minor or major renovation or improvement?

Program 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.

Program A funds may 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, removing non-load bearing walls to create additional space for social distancing, and enhancements to make the facility more inclusive and accessible to children with disabilities and family members with disabilities (installing railing, ramps, or automatic doors).       

Some examples of minor renovations may also include:

  • Upgrading the kitchen to add safe electrical outlets and fix plumbing fixtures
  • Repainting walls with a non-toxic paint
  • Renovating and updating a bathrooms (e.g., sink, faucet, toilet, etc.) to ensure age-appropriateness and child safety
  • Replacing cabinets with an adequate storage space for each child’s personal belongings
  • Installing rails and ramps that are accessible to individuals with disabilities
  • Updating a sidewalk to provide a safe pathway for children
  • Building or upgrading a playground
  • Replacing fire sprinklers, carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke detection systems
  • Replacing windows or doors
  • Completing a minor roof repair
  • Removing non-load bearing walls to create additional space for social distancing

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 April 1, 2022. 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.govIf 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 (new tool coming soon) 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

Denial Reasons

See below for Child Care Counts Denial Reasons and descriptions.

Failure to Update

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.

Program Requirements Not Met 

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.

No Children in Care

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.

Not Regulated

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. 

Temporary Closure

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.   

Serious Shares Violation

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.

Non-Compliance – Background Check Law

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.

Non-Compliance – Audit

Upon completion of the Child Care Counts Audit, it was determined that you did not comply with the audit process as outlined in the terms and conditions.

Wisconsin Shares Delinquency

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

Child Care Counts Delinquency

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.

DOR Delinquency

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.

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 Request for Review form is available to assist with requesting a 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. 

 

Questions Related to Denials

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.

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 August 2022 through April 2023. When eligibility issues are resolved, you may reapply during a future Application Week.

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.

 

Application Review Process

My application is “on hold.” What does this mean? 

The Terms and Conditions for Child Care Counts include several conditions that must be met in order to receive payments. DCF reviews applications every month to ensure that programs are in good standing, including review of serious regulation issues, revocations, or investigations. During the review process, some applications may be identified for further review. These applications will remain in “Submitted” status until a determination has been made. 

Providers will receive an email notifying them that their application has been placed on hold while the investigation is ongoing. Providers will be notified in the Child Care Provider Portal as soon as the investigation concludes, and a determination is made. 

Please note that the Child Care Counts Call Center is unable to provide further details until the review has been completed and a determination has been made. 
 

 

Non-Standard Hours Add-On 

The Non-Standard Hours Add-On is an additional per-child amount for Payment Program A – Increasing Access to High-Quality Care.

This add-on amount will be given to eligible providers in addition to the Per-Child Amount for each child included in the application who attended 20 or more hours of care during non-standard hours across the Count Week.

For the purposes of Child Care Counts, there are four types of nonstandard care:

  • Early-morning Care: Care provided between the hours of 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Evening Care: Care provided between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Overnight Care: Care provided between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Weekend Care: Care provided anytime on Saturday or Sunday

Overview

View this Child Care Counts: Non-Standard Hours Add-On video for an overview of the Non-Standard Hours Add-On. 

The following module, Non-Standard Hours of Care for Child Care Providers will provide information on the steps to follow to receive Child Care Counts funding for non-standard hours of care, helpful resources, and best practices on providing non-standard hours of care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the “Non-Standard Hours Add-On"?

The Non-Standard Hours Add-on is a Program A payment amount given in addition to the Per-Child Amount for each child included in the application who attended 20 or more hours of care during non-standard hours during the Count Week. 

What hours of care are considered “non-standard”?

Any care provided between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays, or any care provided on Saturday or Sunday is considered care during non-standard hours. For the purposes of Child Care Counts, there are four types of non-standard hours care: 

  • Early-morning Care: Care provided between the hours of 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Evening Care:  Care provided between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Overnight Care: Care provided between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Weekend Care: Care provided anytime on Saturday or Sunday 

How can I get the add-on for providing care during non-standard hours? 

The child(ren) must attend at least 20 hours of care during non-standard hours (see definition above) over the two designated Count Weeks to receive the add-on amount. When completing your Payment A application, indicate any children that meet this threshold of non-standard care hours by answering “Yes” to the question, “Did this child attend at least 20 hours of care during non-standard hours between XX - XX?”. (NOTE: Question dates will change for each set of Count Weeks.) This question must be answered for each child you wish to receive funding for.

Providers must be regulated to provide care during non-standard hours to receive the add-on amount. 

Note: The Count Week is a two-week period. A child needs to attend at least 20 total hours of care during non-standard hours during those two weeks to be eligible for the add-on. The hours do not have to be all in one week, but can accumulate over the two-week period to equal 20 or more hours.  

I am unable to mark ‘yes’ for children attending non-standard hours. Why not? 

Providers must be regulated to provide care during non-standard hours to receive the add-on amount. If you are not regulated for non-standard hours (your hours of operation do not include non-standard hours), you will be unable to mark ‘yes’ to that question in the application, and the message below will be displayed: 

If you are not currently regulated for non-standard hours or would like to learn more about expanding your hours of operation, contact your licensor or certification specialist.  

Can I receive the add-on for children who were scheduled to attend and did not show up?  

No, children must have actually attended during the Count Weeks in order to receive this additional funding. 

Does a child have to attend 20 hours of non-standard hours per week for a given Count Week?

No. The Count Week is a two-week period. A child needs to attend at least 20 total hours of care during non-standard hours during those two weeks to be eligible for the add-on. The hours do not have to be all in one week, but can accumulate over the two-week period to equal 20 or more hours.  

Why is additional funding for non-standard hours being provided? 

The additional funding for children who attend care during non-standard hours is intended to increase the availability of care during these times through financial incentives and supports for providers who are currently offering care or have the ability to add these services. 

How much money will I receive for providing care during non-standard hours? 

The “Non-Standard Hours Add-On” amount will be included in your Child Care Counts Payment A payment letter. This amount is calculated per-child that attends at least 20 hours of non-standard care during the designated Count Weeks.  These amounts will also be visible on the Child Care Counts webpage under the How Payments are Determined section. 

How can I use the funding I receive for providing care during non-standard hours?

The “Non-Standard Hours Add-On” is part of the Payment Program A – Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and must be used according to the terms and conditions of Payment Program A. 

I don’t offer care during non-standard hours right now, but I want to learn more.  How can I find out more information? 

If you are interested in learning more about offering care during non-standard hours, please reach out to your licensor or certification specialist

You can also view the Child Care Counts Provider Training Module (training module coming soon) for more information, including resources, best practices, and regulatory information. 

 

Feedback Questions - Initial Application

The Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2 renewal application will include a few new questions. These feedback questions will provide valuable information on the impact of the Child Care Counts Program and inform potential future opportunities for support. These questions are intended to: 

  • Help DCF understand how providers have used their Round 1 Stabilization funds
    • Which expenses were funds used for most? 
  • Gather input from child care providers
    • This feedback will help DFC understand how future funding opportunities could best support providers in stabilizing and strengthening their child care programs. 

These feedback questions will only be used for information gathering purposes

  • This information will not be used for audit purposes. 
  • These questions will ask for approximate amounts and will not be reviewed against any actual documentation that you may be asked to provide in the event of an audit. 
  • Please estimate how much you used. There is no need to gather documentation for this form. 
  • Feedback results will not be published with your facility name, nor with any identifying information related to your child care program. 

These questions will only need to be completed one time for the duration of Stabilization Round 2. These will appear in a provider’s initial Round 2 application in August.

Feedback Questions

View the Feedback Questions to see what questions will be included in the Round 2 application. 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are these new feedback questions included in the Child Care Counts application? 

This information will be used by DCF to understand providers' experiences with the Child Care Counts program. This is also an opportunity for you to provide feedback to help inform potential future DCF programs to support child care providers to stabilize and strengthen their child care programs.  

We look forward to hearing from child care providers about their experiences, feedback, and suggestions.  

What will I be asked in the new feedback questions? 

View the Round 2 application Feedback Questions

Do I have to answer the feedback questions in the Child Care Counts application? 

Questions 1, 2, and 4 are required to submit your initial Round 2 application. You can view all the feedback questions that will be included in the application. The other questions are not required, but providers are strongly encouraged to complete them as they will help DCF learn about providers' experiences with the Child Care Counts Program and direct future funding efforts to support child care providers. These questions are not in any way related to audit or specific reporting purposes tied to the child care facility. We welcome the opportunity to learn from child care providers experiences and feedback.

What will this information be used for and who will it be shared with? 

This information will be used by DCF to understand providers' experiences with the Child Care Counts program. This is also an opportunity for you to provide feedback to help inform potential future DCF programs to support child care providers to stabilize and strengthen their child care programs.  

A summary of feedback results will be shared on the DCF webpage, but the results will not contain any facility names, nor any identifying information related to specific care programs.  

Where can I find the outcomes of these feedback questions? 

Results will be published on the DCF webpage. Watch for announcements in the Child Care Provider listserv for information on when they will be published. 

I do not know how to answer these feedback questions. 

It may be helpful to prepare this information before the August renewal application opens. You can view this Finding Total Child Care Counts Payment Amounts video for instructions on finding your total payment amounts for the Stabilization Payment Program. View the feedback questions. If you have used the Spending Tool, or other tracking methods, this will be helpful in finding the information to complete the feedback questions.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, contact the Child Care Counts Call Center at DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov or 608-535-3650. 

Will the information I enter be used in potential future audits? 

No. This information will not be used for audit purposes. These questions will ask for approximate amounts and will not be reviewed against any actual documentation that you may be asked to provide in the event of an audit. You do not need to submit any documentation when completing these questions. 

What if I enter the incorrect amounts for my spending? Will I be penalized? 

No. You will be asked to provide approximate amounts only. It will be helpful to be as accurate as possible, but there will be no review nor penalty for inaccuracies in responses. 

Child Care Counts applications for our program are completed by administrative/other staff who do not have access to how the funds were spent. How do they answer these questions? 

It may be helpful for the person who has access to this information to prepare before the August renewal application opens. This Finding Total Child Care Counts Payment Amounts video includes instructions on finding total payment amounts for the Stabilization Payment Program. View the feedback questions. If you have used the Spending Tool, or other tracking methods, this will be helpful in finding the information to complete the feedback questions.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, contact the Child Care Counts Call Center at DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov or 608-535-3650.

How can I find the total amount of funding I received from the Stabilization Payment Program? 

This Finding Total Child Care Counts Payment Amounts video includes instructions on finding your total Stabilization Payment amounts, using the Payments Data webpage

The feedback form in the application will also include an approximate amount of how much funding providers received between November 2021 and July 2022. These amounts will display automatically in your application in the Child Care Provider Portal.

 

Inclusive Birth to 3 Pilot Add-on

Inclusive Birth to 3 Pilot Add-On Amount

There will be a future Program A add-on amount for providers caring for children who are participating in the Inclusive Birth to 3 Child Care Pilot. This additional amount will be added automatically to eligible providers payments, and providers do not need to include any additional information in their application.

More information on the Inclusive Birth to 3 Pilot Add-On Amount will be coming soon.

Resources - Videos, Guides, and Tools

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

Application Resources

Application Guide

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

Update Guides

This Update Guide and Update Video shows step-by-step instructions for updating and re-submitting your application during monthly Update Weeks.

Round 2 Application Walkthrough Video 

This video shows step-by-step instructions for applying for Round 2 of Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program.

Uploading Documents to the Child Care Provider Portal

Guide and Video with instructions on uploading documents.

Modifying a Submitted Application

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

Temporary Closure Guide

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

 

Provider Portal Resources

Accessing the Child Care Provider Portal

See this guide and video for instructions on how to request access and log in to the Child Care Provider Portal.

 

Audit Resources

Child Care Counts Audit and Overview Training Video 

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

Child Care Counts Audit Process Flowchart 

Step-by-step overview of the DCF Child Care Counts audit process.

 

Spending Tool Resources

Spending Tool Resources – For Round 2: August 2022 - April 2023

The Spending Tool is recommended for organizing and tracking how you spend your Child Care Counts Stabilization Payment Program Round 2 funds. For Round 2, we heard your suggestions and created two spending tool options for you. You can now choose from a spreadsheet that you can use in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, or a document that you can print out or use in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

Spending Tool Resources – For Round 1: November 2021 - July 2022

The Spending Tool is recommended for organizing and tracking how you spend your Child Care Counts funds. View the Spending Tool Training Video for instructions on how to use the spending tool.

You can download the Spending Tool Excel Spreadsheet to organize your expenses.

 

Other Resources

Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Provider Informational Module

All-in-one resource on the Child Care Counts Payment Program, including how to how to apply, what to expect after applying, and more.

Finding Total Child Care Counts Payment Amounts

View this step-by-step walkthrough of finding a facility's total Child Care Counts payment amounts for each payment program. 

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. 

Request for Review

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

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. 

 

FIS Resources

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. 

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. 

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

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

Terms and Conditions

Read the Terms and Conditions of the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program Round 2.

Audit and Review Process

Resources - Audit and Review Process

Child Care Counts Audit and Overview Training Video

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

Child Care Counts Audit Process Flowchart

Step-by-step overview of the DCF Child Care Counts audit process.

Upload Guide and Upload Video

Instructions on how to upload documents in the Child Care Provider Portal.

Spending Tool Excel Spreadsheet and Spending Tool Training Video 

This tool is recommended for organizing and tracking how you spend your Child Care Counts funds. 

Spending and Verification Quick Reference Guides 

Program A and Program B 

Accessing the Child Care Provider Portal Guide and Video 

These two resources provide instructions on how to access the Child Care Provider Portal.

Terms and Conditions for the Child Care Counts Stabilization Payment Program 
 

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? 

The DCF audit includes 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 for an audit?

Documentation must be uploaded to the Program Integrity Documents section of the Child Care Provider Portal. 

  1. Log into the Child Care Provider Portal and access the COVID-19 Payments Page
  2. Select the Month and Program (as indicated in your Audit Notice; for example, November Program A) 
  3. Select the Program Integrity Documents section. 
  4. Choose the appropriate description in the drop-down options for the type of documentation that is being submitted 

The options listed in the dropdown are as follows: 

Program A

  • Program A: Additional Costs Ensuring High-Quality Programming
  • Program A: Attendance Records
  • Program A: Copayment/Tuition Relief
  • Program A: Mental Health Services 
  • Program A: Mitigating Risk of Covid-19, Supplies, Materials
  • Program A: Operation Expenses
  • Program A: Professional Development/Continuing Education 
  • Spending Tool 

Program B

  • Program B – Quality: Professional Development and Recruitment 
  • Program B – Quality: Wage Increase, Bonus, Benefits
  • Program B – Staff Base: Wage, Bonus, Benefits
  • Program B – Employee Payroll Records
  • Spending Tool  

See the Upload Guide and Upload Video to assist with the upload process. 

I’m not sure which category to select when submitting my documentation. Can I change the category I selected, or will I be penalized for selecting the incorrect category? 

No. You cannot change the category description once you have uploaded documentation. You will not be penalized for uploading documentation to the incorrect category. These descriptions and categories are designed to assist providers in with the document 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.