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Workforce Retention and Recognition Stipend Program

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WECA logo

Round 2 Application Period is Open Until June 25 at 5 p.m.

(Round 1 closed June 11)

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) is committed to supporting Wisconsin’s early childhood workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. Several rounds of funding were awarded to child care programs throughout Wisconsin in 2020 and early 2021. Now we are launching two new programs to support child care professionals working at these programs. Through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) of 2021, credited to the state’s Child Care and Development Block Grant award, $10 million in funds are being directed toward supporting child care professionals through the Workforce Retention and Recognition Stipend Program.

DCF has contracted with Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) to disseminate these stipends using their existing REWARD Wisconsin Stipend Program system. 

Child care providers and their staff may be eligible for a stipend of at least $350 through the Workforce Retention and Recognition program. Please pass this information on to your staff. 

Checks will be made available to all child care professionals who meet eligibility requirements, which include current employment in a regulated child care program and a completed fingerprint background check. There will be two rounds of applications. Individuals should only apply for one round and can only receive one check from this program.

Important Note:
You must have completed a fingerprint background check and received a preliminarily eligible decision to be eligible for this stipend. 

If you do not have your background check completed, please visit the DCF Background Check webpage for more information. Or contact the DCF Child Care Background Unit by emailing DCFPlicBECRCBU@wisconsin.gov or calling 608-422-7400.


Application Dates

Round 1 is now closed

  • For eligible individuals who submitted fingerprints and received at least preliminary eligibility on this background check by May 1, 2021.
  • Apply between May 24, 2021, at 8 a.m. and June 11, 2021, at 5 p.m.
  • Applications will be verified by DCF and WECA after the application period closes. 
  • Checks will be issued in July 2021 following application verification.

Round 2 is now open

  • For eligible individuals who submitted fingerprints by June 1, 2021 and received at least preliminary eligibility on this background check, and for individuals who did not apply during Round 1.  
  • Apply between June 14, 2021, at 8 a.m. and June 25, 2021, at 5 p.m. 
  • Application form will be available beginning June 14, 2021.
  • Begin your application process.

  • Applications will be verified by DCF and WECA after the application period closes. 
  • Checks will be issued in July 2021 following application verification. 

 

Round Background Check Status Application Available
1 Fingerprints submitted and at least preliminary eligibility received on this background check by May 1, 2021.

May 24 -
8 a.m. to June 11 -
5 p.m.

2 Fingerprints submitted by June 1, 2021 and at least preliminary eligibility received on this background check. June 14 -
8 a.m. to June 25 -
5 p.m.

 

 

Eligibility Requirements

There are two application periods for the Workforce Retention and Recognition Stipend Program. Please note the eligibility requirements and dates for each round. 

Round 1

  • Be currently employed by a licensed group child care program, a licensed day camp, a program operated by or under contract with a public school board, or a licensed or certified family child care program.
  • Be currently employed by a program that is open and in good standing as of May 1, 2021. Programs that are temporarily closed (14 day or less) because of a COVID exposure are still considered open for the purposes of this stipend opportunity.
  • Currently be employed in a caregiver role at an eligible child care or school-age care program. Eligible caregiver roles include individuals caring for children directly and identified as directors, assistant directors, lead teachers, teachers, assistant teachers, and family providers (licensed or certified).
  • Have submitted fingerprints and received a at least preliminary eligibility on this background check by May 1, 2021. 

Round 2

  • Be currently employed by a licensed group child care program, a licensed day camp, a program operated by or under contract with a public school, or a licensed or certified family child care program.
  • Be currently employed by a program that is open and in good standing as of June 1, 2021. Programs that are temporarily closed (14 day or less) because of a COVID exposure are still considered open for the purposes of this stipend opportunity.
  • Currently be employed in a caregiver role at an eligible child care or school-age care program. Eligible caregiver roles include individuals caring for children directly and identified as directors, assistant directors, lead teachers, teachers, assistant teachers, and family providers (licensed or certified).
  • Have submitted fingerprints  by June 1, 2021 and received at least preliminary eligibility on this background check.

How to Apply

Get Ready to Apply

  • If you have not completed your fingerprint background check, please visit the DFC Background Check webpage for more information. Or you may contact the DCF Background Check Unit by emailing DCFPlicBECRCBU@wisconsin.gov or calling 608-422-7400. We encourage you to schedule your Fieldprint appointment right away. 
  • You will need your employer’s 10-digit provider number and 3-digit location number to apply for this stipend.  
  • You can get this information from your employer, or
  • You can also find this information using the Child Care Finder 
  • You need to verify your employment by uploading a document that confirms your employment.
  • If you are employed by a group child care program, you need to upload one recent pay stub.
  • If you own a family child care program or own a group child care program, you need to upload your most recent federal tax forms.
    • Exceptions:  
      • If you are an employee of a family child care program, you need to upload one recent pay stub. 
      • If you are a new owner of a family child care program or group center and do not have federal tax forms that show your program’s income, you need to complete the following document and upload it at income verification.
      • Alternate Income Verification Form - English    Spanish

Apply

Apply for the Workforce Retention and Recognition Stipend Program.

 

How Payments are Determined (Stipend Amounts)

NOTE: This table shows the minimum stipend amount for eligible individuals. These amounts are subject to change based on available funding and applications received. This page will be updated once each application period has closed and stipend amounts have been adjusted to remain within the amount of funds available for eligible individuals.

Minimum Stipend Amounts
Round 1 Stipend $350
Round 2 Stipend $150

 

Final amounts will be determined after both applications periods have closed. Stipend amounts will be larger in Round 1 than those in Round 2. All eligible individuals are encouraged to apply in the first round.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is considered a “caregiver role?” 

A caregiver role includes individuals caring for children directly and identified as directors, assistant directors, lead teachers, teachers, assistant teachers, and regulated family providers (licensed or certified). Individuals identified as student teachers/interns, contracted staff, drivers, household members, substitute teachers, trainers, volunteers, non-caregiver employees, or those who are in an eligible role listed above but do not directly care for children are not eligible for this stipend program. 

Is this stipend taxable? 

Yes, this Stipend is taxable. Workforce Retention & Recognition Stipends are personal income and must be reported to the IRS when you file your taxes. WECA will send a 1099-MISC form if you receive funds from WECA totaling $600 or more during a calendar year. The 1099-MISC form is for reporting purposes only and does not need to be submitted with your tax returns. However, you need to report all stipends as personal income to the IRS whether or not you receive the 1099-MISC from WECA. Please consult your tax professional for information on how to report this income.

I did not get my fingerprint background check done in time. Can I still apply? 

No, you must have completed your fingerprint background and received at least preliminary eligibility to be eligible for this stipend program. 

My fingerprint background check is already done, but I missed Round 1. Can I still apply? 

Yes, you are encouraged to apply during Round 2. 

What is the REWARD program? 

The REWARD program provides eligible Wisconsin child care professionals with salary supplements based on your educational attainments and longevity in the field. Learn more about REWARD on the WECA website
 

Terms and Conditions

In order to submit your application, you must acknowledge and agree to the Terms and Conditions of the Workforce Retention and Recognition Stipend program. Your electronic application will display the following: 

  • I agree that the information that I am providing in this application to DCF and WECA is true and correct. 
  • I give permission for WECA to verify the information with DCF and my employer. 
  • I understand that DCF and WECA may require repayment of funds disbursed if the information I have provided is false.  
  • I agree to comply with any potential future audits around the accuracy of information I provided. 
  • I verify that I was employed by an open child care program, directly caring for children, on May 1, 2021.
  • I verify that I am employed by an open child care program, directly caring for children, on the date I am making this application.

 

Need Help?

If you need help or have questions about the Workforce Retention and Recognition Stipend Program, email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov. If you are unable to email, you may call and leave a detailed message 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.