Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

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Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

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Información en español

The COVID-19 public health emergency has placed unprecedented stress on the child care sector which was operating on razor-thin margins before the crisis, leaving too many families, especially vulnerable families, without access to quality, affordable care.

Due to declining enrollment and safety concerns, an estimated 40% of child care providers statewide have made the difficult decision to temporarily close, but continue to incur expenses such as unemployment insurance and rent. And those providers who are staying open – including those providing care for essential workers – are incurring additional expenses to ensure the health and safety of staff, children, and families.

Without additional investment, many child care providers are likely to close permanently, dramatically exacerbating gaps in access to quality, affordable care and hindering the state’s economic recovery as parents return to work. Child care providers are vital contributors to fully reopening Wisconsin’s economy.

In order to ensure parents are able to return to work, Wisconsin needs child care programs to be open, fully staffed, and able to care for children, ages 0-13.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) is supporting the growing demand for child care access for essential workforce families by assisting in the launch of a number of payment programs to support child care providers.

Application Period 1 - May 18 - May 29, 2020

Application Period 2 - June 8 - June 19, 2020

Application Period 3 - June 29 - July 10, 2020


Payment Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families

This program is to support the costs of providing care for essential workforce families. Funds are to be used for paying staff, reimbursing families, or other allowable expenses as outlined in the Terms and Conditions

Payment Program 2: Incentive Pay

This program is to support the costs for providing incentive pay for child care providers and individual educators. Funds are required to be used to increase pay during the State of Emergency for current employees, providers, and individual educators as outlined in the Terms and Conditions

Payment Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

This program is to support the costs of retaining staff and reopening child care programs as Wisconsin’s workforce returns to work. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding. Funds are required to be used for paying staff, reimbursing families, or other allowable expenses as outlined in the Terms and Conditions.

Don’t Delay – Application Periods are Limited

Please read below for important details about each payment program. You will find information about how to apply, and where to go for assistance. We are here to support you, and are ready to assist in submitting your application.

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

Si necesita ayuda en español, por favor llame al 608-535-3650 o envíe un correo electrónico  DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

IMPORTANT NOTICE 

The Child Care Counts programs are time-limited payment programs designed to provide assistance to child care providers in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. They are not grants as that term is defined in 45 CFR 72 and related federal regulations, and use of the word “grant” is incidental.


Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Information

Payment Program 1 - Providing Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families 

Who can apply

  • Regulated child care providers (licensed or certified providers)
  • Organizations providing care in collaboration with a regulated child care provider

Eligibility

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

Requirements

  • Prioritize and provide care for essential workforce families
  • Follow health and safety guidelines for child care providers as outlined by DCF
  • Use the funds for payroll purposes and other allowable expenses which include, but are not limited to:
    • Parent reimbursement for cost of care
    • Mortgage/rent
    • Utilities
    • Materials/supplies for cleaning and sanitation
  • Agree to payment program Terms and Conditions
     

Payment Program 2 - Incentive Pay

Who can apply

  • Regulated child care providers (licensed or certified providers)
  • Individual educators (as identified by DCF) who provided care to children of essential workforce 
    • Individual educators who have been identified and matched with a family by completing the DCF online information and passing a name-based background check

Eligibility

  • Must be licensed or certified in good standing
  • Individual educators who have been identified by completing the DCF online information and passing a name-based background check
  • May not be operating under license revocation, suspension from Wisconsin Shares, summary suspension, or regulation application denial

Requirements

  • Prioritized and provided care for essential workforce families related to the State of Emergency.
  • Open and providing care for essential workforce families during the funding period
  • Follow the health and safety guidelines for child care providers as outlined by DCF
  • Use the funds to increase pay during the State of Emergency for current employees, myself as an individual educator, or myself as a family provider.
  • Agree to payment program Terms and Conditions.

Payment Program 3 - Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

Who can apply

  • Regulated child care providers (licensed or certified providers) who
    • are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility

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

Requirements 

  • Child care program was/is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the funding period.
  • Plan to reopen within 30 days of receiving funding or within 30 days of the ending of Safer at Home order, whichever is later.
  • Use the funds for the following purposes to ensure the program is able to reopen 30 days after receiving funding or within 30 days of the ending of Safer at Home order, whichever is later:
    • Pay staff incentives and/or payroll in order to return to work.
    • Supplement staff salaries for those who remained on payroll during temporary closure.
    • Full or partial parent reimbursement for tuition paid during State of Emergency.
    • Mortgage/rent
    • Utilities
    • Materials/supplies for cleaning and sanitation
  • Agree to payment program Terms and Conditions
     

How to Apply for Payments

Payment Program applications are available in the Child Care Provider Portal.

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

We recommend that you submit your application through the Provider Portal. This will allow you to see upcoming Payment Program opportunities and see the status of your applications.

If you are unable to gain access to the Provider Portal, or choose not to, you may submit your application over the phone with a DCF representative. Please call 608-535-3650 or email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for assistance.

Si necesita ayuda en español, por favor llame al 608-535-3650 o envíe un correo electrónico  DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

Need Help?

If you need help or have questions about your Payment Program application, please call 608-535-3650 or email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

Si necesita ayuda en español, por favor llame al 608-535-3650 o envíe un correo electrónico  DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you navigate this process.

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

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

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

Yes - you may be able to apply for multiple Payment Programs, depending on your situation.

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

Example scenarios:

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

If I received a payment in for funding period 1, do I have to apply again for the next funding period?

Yes – you must complete an application during each application period in order to receive a payment for that funding period.

Funding Period

When Can I Apply?

 03/12/2020

 04/11/2020

 05/18/2020

 05/29/2020

 04/12/2020

 05/11/2020

 06/08/2020

 06/19/2020

 05/12/2020

 05/26/2020

 06/29/2020

 07/10/2020

What happens after I submit my application?

The review period will take 5 business days from the last day of the application period. You will be notified via email when payment letters are available. When you receive the email that the review period is complete, you will be instructed to log in to the Provider Portal to view your payment letter. If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, call 608-535-3650 or email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for assistance.

When will I receive my payment?

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

For Payment Program #3 – Closed Programs: If I was closed, and my staff did not work any hours during the funding period, what do I enter for the “Total Hours Worked?” It won’t let me enter Zero?

If you were closed so the staff was unable to work any hours, just add 1 hour into the Total Hours Worked. Be sure to indicate if their normal hours are full-time or part-time in “Care Type” under staff details.

I’m not sure if parents are Tier-1 or Tier-2 – how do I determine this?

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

Tier Two: employees, contractors, and other staff in vital areas including, but not limited to military; long term care; residential care; pharmacies; child care; child welfare; government operations; public safety and critical infrastructure such as sanitation, transportation, utilities, telecommunications; grocery and food services; supply chain operations; and other sectors as determined by the department.

See https://evers.wi.gov/Documents/COVID19/EMO12-SaferAtHome.pdf for more information about Tier 1 and Tier 2 Essential Workers.

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

You must update your bank account information with FIS in order to receive your payment into the correct bank account. Please fill out the Provider Bank Information Form and send to FIS Merchant Services via email: Merchant.Services.Support@fisglobal.comfax: 1-414-341-7085 OR the mailing address listed at the top of the 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. FIS is currently experiencing long wait times. If you need to contact FIS, you may want to try calling during an off-peak time. If you have tried all the steps and still cannot get access to ebtEDGE, contact the DCF COVID Call Center at 608-535-3650 or email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for additional assistance.

I received a federal Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPP), SBA grant, Dane County CARES funding, or other COVID-19 related funding. Can I still apply for this payment program?

Yes - the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program online application asks a question related to other funding received for COVID-19 purposes. The information provided in response to this question will not impact eligibility to receive payments and payment amounts. This information is being collected to help DCF determine the possible impact of funding on the continuity of child care programs. 

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

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

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.

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

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

My location was closed during the funding period. How do I enter the staff work status?

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

What is considered full time or part-time for staff work time?  
Full time: 30 hours or more per week
Part-time: 29 hours or less per week

What is considered full time or part-time for children hours attended?
Full time: 21 hours or more per week
Part-time: 20 hours or less per week

What are allowable expenses to reimburse families for?
Families can be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket costs, such as tuition or co-pays paid for child care. Wisconsin Shares payments to families cannot be reimbursed.

In the section for Program 1, they ask what percentage do they plan to use for staff compensation? What if they don’t need to use any for staff salary because they got PPP to cover it? There isn’t an option that says 0%. The lowest is 1%-24%. Or, must they use at least 1% for payroll?
Providers should determine what percentage, minimally 1%, of funding can be earmarked to compensate staff for providing care to children of essential workforce. Compensation may include, but is not limited to bonus/incentive pay, additional paid time or professional development days, or other supports for staff.

How do local orders impact the 30-day re-opening time line?
Program #3 is intended to support the reopening of programs within 30 days. Providers must agree to the terms and conditions that they plan to reopen within 30 days of receiving funding or within 30 days of the ending of a local/county order, whichever is later. If a program is unable to reopen within 30 days they must send an email to dcfmbcovid19@wisconsin.gov.

I’m not sure how to answer the question “did your facility serve children from tribal communities.”
Select “yes” if either the child and/or one or more of the biological parents is affiliated with a tribe or tribal community. This can be regardless of whether they reside on tribal land or not. 
 

How Payments are Determined

Payment Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families
Based on available funding, Program 1 is calculated with a base amount of up to $9,000 for licensed group and public school programs, and a base amount of up to $6,000 for licensed family, certified family, provisional certified family, in-home provisional certified, and in-home regular certified programs. Funding may be increased up to a maximum amount of $1,200 per child in full time care, or up to a maximum of $900 per child in part-time care. Additional increases may be available up to a maximum of $400 per child if the provider operated during nonstandard hours, or for those who served children with additional funding prioritization consideration. Payment Program 1 has a maximum payment amount of $100,000.

Payment Program 2: Incentive Pay
Based on available funding, Program 2 is calculated at $5 per hour, up to 40 hours a week for each staff member listed for the funding period.

Payment Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs
Based on available funding, Program 3 is calculated at up to $1,000 for each full-time staff and up to $700 for each part-time staff, with an overall payment amount maximum of $10,000.

Terms and Conditions