COVID-19 Child Care Listserv Message Archive

The Department of Children and Families is committed to keeping child care programs informed during this health care emergency. This continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so we have created a place where child care programs can view messages that have been sent on the Child Care Listserv during the emergency.

Please sign up to receive Child Care listserv messages and announcements to stay informed about this crisis.

Go back to the COVID-19 Child Care Resources page.

Additional Resources

 

August 13 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Celebrate Early Care and Education

To all who give so much to children and families across Wisconsin: we are so thankful for all you do. You are amazing and essential!

We are celebrating the wonderful people and excellent work being done to support young children and their families. This celebration consists of the following:

We invite you to join in the celebration and help us share these messages with those in the early care and education field.

Reminder - Back to School Guidance

DCF recognizes this is a challenging time for child care providers, parents, and local education agencies (LEAs) as they attempt to navigate the upcoming school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. DCF and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) strongly recommend collaboration between child care providers and LEAs/schools to find ways to meet family needs. We have produced a series of Back to School guidance documents to help child care providers, LEAs, and parents navigate the reopening of school this fall.

Please carefully review the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy and Child Care Regulation information below as these updates may impact child care providers during the upcoming school year.

Reminder - Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy for the 2020-2021 School Year

For the 2020-2021 school year, parents can receive child care authorizations during the day when school is delivered virtually and child care is needed for parents to participate in their approved activity. This change means that school-age children could potentially receive full-time authorizations during the day. Parents may receive authorizations even if they are working from home; however, they must be participating in their approved activity during the times when care is needed. Parents cannot receive authorizations for time when the child is physically attending school for in-person instruction. Parents cannot receive authorizations for time when the child is attending class virtually at a location other than the child care provider location, or time when the parent is not participating in their approved activity.

Child care providers must ensure that they do not provide any instructional services that supplant or duplicate the academic program of any public or private school. This means that providers cannot provide the main instruction, but may assist with school work as they would any other homework.

Reminder - Operations Memo 20-14 - Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy for the 2020-2021 School Year

The purpose of Operations Memo 20-14, published today, is to provide local agencies with guidance for authorizing child care for school-age children during the 2020-2021 school year.

If you have questions, please contact the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy and Technical Assistance Line at childcare@wisconsin.gov.

Reminder - Child Care Regulation for the 2020-2021 School Year

DCF recognizes there will be vast differences in learning environments for school-age children this fall in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. DCF has and will continue to work with child care programs and collaborating LEAs/school districts to meet the needs in their communities. DCF staff have the ability to work with current child care providers to help address any needs, such as amending their license or relocating, and to work with new child care providers to expedite the initial licensing process in order for programs to open as quickly and safely as possible.

Exception Requests
Per DCF administrative rules, licensees may also request exceptions to any rule requirements. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the regional licensing specialist and their supervisor, in accordance with the DCF exception review process. A written exception request will need to include the licensee’s alternate plan for meeting the intent of the specific rule for which the request is submitted, ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of children is still met. It is important to note that DCF does not have the authority to grant exceptions to state statute or to another agency’s administrative rule or requirement.

Examples of common rule exception requests are:

  1. 251.05(3)(g) – Assistant child care teacher qualifications
  2. 251.06 – Physical premises rules (sinks show up in a couple of different rules, but 251.09(4)(b) requires a sink in a room serving infants and toddlers that is not used for food prep or dishwashing and 251.06(9) is kitchen requirements
  3. 251.06 (11) - Outdoor play space

Note: DCF has received several inquiries about capacity exceptions for Regulated Family Child Care Providers.  A decision on those requests is pending. The final decision will be sent via the Child Care listserv as soon as a decision is finalized.

Contact your licensing/certification specialist or regional licensing office with questions or to discuss licensing options. Licensing/Certification specialists are available to assist child care providers in making decisions and implementing various options that are child and family-centered while meeting the health and safety requirements.

Tribal Listening Sessions August 25 & 26

The final two Preschool Development Grant listening sessions will be held August 25 and 26 for Wisconsin tribal members to give input on what quality, equitable, and culturally relevant early care and education should look like in the future. If you are a tribal member or work with tribal families, register today and tell your friends and colleagues to join us as well!

The information gathered through PDG’s listening sessions will influence our next proposal for funding and decisions made at DCF every day. Thank you to all who have taken the time to contribute to this effort! Watch for our summary report on the PDG web pages later this summer.


In the News

YMCA Offering options for the back-to-school dilemma
WTMJ4-Milwaukee | August 13, 2020

 

August 11 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Back to School Guidance

DCF recognizes this is a challenging time for child care providers, parents, and local education agencies (LEAs) as they attempt to navigate the upcoming school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. DCF and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) strongly recommend collaboration between child care providers and LEAs/schools to find ways to meet family needs. We have produced a series of Back to School guidance documents to help child care providers, LEAs, and parents navigate the reopening of school this fall.

Please carefully review the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy and Child Care Regulation information below as these updates may impact child care providers during the upcoming school year.

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy for the 2020-2021 School Year

For the 2020-2021 school year, parents can receive child care authorizations during the day when school is delivered virtually and child care is needed for parents to participate in their approved activity. This change means that school-age children could potentially receive full-time authorizations during the day. Parents may receive authorizations even if they are working from home; however, they must be participating in their approved activity during the times when care is needed. Parents cannot receive authorizations for time when the child is physically attending school for in-person instruction. Parents cannot receive authorizations for time when the child is attending class virtually at a location other than the child care provider location, or time when the parent is not participating in their approved activity.

Child care providers must ensure that they do not provide any instructional services that supplant or duplicate the academic program of any public or private school. This means that providers cannot provide the main instruction, but may assist with school work as they would any other homework.

Operations Memo 20-14 - Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy for the 2020-2021 School Year

The purpose of Operations Memo 20-14, published today, is to provide local agencies with guidance for authorizing child care for school-age children during the 2020-2021 school year.

If you have questions, please contact the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy and Technical Assistance Line at childcare@wisconsin.gov.

Child Care Regulation for the 2020-2021 School Year

DCF recognizes there will be vast differences in learning environments for school-age children this fall in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. DCF has and will continue to work with child care programs and collaborating LEAs/school districts to meet the needs in their communities. DCF staff have the ability to work with current child care providers to help address any needs, such as amending their license or relocating, and to work with new child care providers to expedite the initial licensing process in order for programs to open as quickly and safely as possible.

Exception Requests

Per DCF administrative rules, licensees may also request exceptions to any rule requirements. Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the regional licensing specialist and their supervisor, in accordance with the DCF exception review process. A written exception request will need to include the licensee’s alternate plan for meeting the intent of the specific rule for which the request is submitted, ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of children is still met. It is important to note that DCF does not have the authority to grant exceptions to state statute or to another agency’s administrative rule or requirement.

Examples of common rule exception requests are:

  1. 251.05(3)(g) – Assistant child care teacher qualifications
  2. 251.06 – Physical premises rules (sinks show up in a couple of different rules, but 251.09(4)(b) requires a sink in a room serving infants and toddlers that is not used for food prep or dishwashing and 251.06(9) is kitchen requirements
  3. 251.06 (11) - Outdoor play space

Note: DCF has received several inquiries about capacity exceptions for Regulated Family Child Care Providers.  A decision on those requests is pending. The final decision will be sent via the Child Care listserv as soon as a decision is finalized.

Contact your licensing/certification specialist or regional licensing office with questions or to discuss licensing options. Licensing/Certification specialists are available to assist child care providers in making decisions and implementing various options that are child and family-centered while meeting the health and safety requirements.


In the News

Are your kids learning from home? Here’s some advice from a homeschool mom
Channel3000.com | August 11, 2020

Children can get severe COVID-19, CDC says – Especially Black and Hispanic Children
WPR.org | August 8, 2020

 

August 6 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Reminder: Face Mask Information and FAQs for Child Care Providers

Currently, Wisconsin is under an emergency order mandating the use of face masks throughout the state that went into effect on August 1, 2020. The Emergency Order sets a minimum bar, requiring face masks for all persons 5 years old and older, in most settings other than private residences, including child care programs.

The Department has received a number of questions from child care providers. As a result, the Department has created Face Mask Order FAQs, available on the Department’s COVID-19 Information for Child Care Providers and Educators web page.

Please contact your certification worker or licensing specialist with any questions. Note: Check your local city or county website frequently for updated local face covering orders or ordinances.

Reminder: Update Your Provider Portal Information

During these unprecedented times, it is vital to update information in the Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP). Are you closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you open, but operating at a smaller capacity? Be sure to update your contact information, indicate if you are open, if you care for children with special needs, and the number of slots you have available by age range on the COVID-19 Emergency Information page in CCPP.

Keeping your information current in CCPP ensures parents are seeing your up-to-date slot availability on the Available Child Care map, and makes it easier to connect you with parents who are requesting child care.

Need access to the Provider Portal? Visit our CCPP information page for complete access instructions.

Reminder: The Child Care Counts COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program is Now Closed

Funding from Child Care Counts reached 2,712 providers. Payments allowed over 20,000 workers to receive pay and enabled nearly 80,000 children to continue their care during the pandemic. Data on provider payments can be accessed online.

Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) on Monday, July 20, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.

In the News

Wisconsin’s Looming Child Care Crisis and its Broad Ranging Impact
A guest editorial from DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson
DCF Press Release | August 5, 2020

Wauwatosa approves mask mandate until January 31, 2021
WTMJ-TV | August 4, 2020

Back to School: Here’s how districts in southeast Wisconsin plan to reopen
WTMJ-TV | Updated August 4, 2020

Sidestepping the summer slide: SHARP Literacy seeks to keep kids engaged during pandemic pause
CBS58.com | August 2, 2020

August 4 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Updated Face Mask Information and FAQs for Child Care Providers

Currently, Wisconsin is under an emergency order mandating the use of face masks throughout the state that went into effect on August 1, 2020. The Emergency Order sets a minimum bar, requiring face masks for all persons 5 years old and older, in most settings other than private residences, including child care programs.

The Department has received a number of questions from child care providers. As a result, the Department has created Face Mask Order FAQs, available on the Department’s COVID-19 Information for Child Care Providers and Educators web page.

Please contact your certification worker or licensing specialist with any questions. Note: Check your local city or county website frequently for updated local face covering orders or ordinances.

Update Your Provider Portal Information Today!

During these unprecedented times, it is vital that your Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP) information is current. Are you closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you open, but operating at a smaller capacity? Be sure to update your contact information, indicate if you are open, if you care for children with special needs, and the number of slots you have available by age range on the COVID-19 Emergency Information page in CCPP. Keeping your information current in CCPP ensures parents are seeing your up-to-date slot availability information on the Available Child Care map, and makes it easier to connect you with parents who are requesting child care. Need access to the Provider Portal? Visit our CCPP information page for complete access instructions.

The Child Care Counts COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program is Now Closed

Funding from Child Care Counts reached 2,712 providers. Payments allowed over 20,000 workers to receive pay and enabled nearly 80,000 children to continue their care during the pandemic. Data on provider payments can be accessed online.

Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) on Monday, July 20, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.

WAN Equity & Inclusion in After School Programs Training Courses

The Wisconsin Afterschool Network (WAN) has developed a new Equity and Inclusion course in Afterschool with the help of UW-Stevens Point. The courses will be offered in August and September and are designed to help afterschool programs create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all children and their families. The training provides 12 hours of continuing education Tier 3 training on The Registry. Course fee: $25.
Learn more and register for August 11, 14, 18, and 21 virtual training. Deadline to register is August 7.
Learn more and register for September 1, 4, 8, and 11 virtual training. Deadline to register is August 28.

In the News

Madison School District aims to provide child care spots during online start to year
Madison.com | August 4, 2020

FDA’s List of dangerous hand sanitizers has now grown to more than 100
Channel3000.com | August 3, 2020

July 30 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Governor Evers Issues Executive Order Declaring Public Health Emergency and Requiring Face Coverings Statewide

Today Governor Evers issued an Executive Order declaring a public health emergency due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. Pursuant to that order he also issued an Emergency Order mandating the use of face masks throughout the state.

The Emergency Order sets a minimum bar, requiring face masks for all persons 5 years old and older, in most settings other than private residences. Obviously, this affects child care centers.

If you operate or work in a group center your staff, parents and children at least 5 years of age must wear face masks when in an enclosed space, except when eating, sleeping or swimming.

If you operate a family child care center in your own home you are exempt from the Emergency Order, unless your local municipality has issued a stricter order. If your municipality has issued a stricter order, you must follow it. Additionally, you are free to set policy requiring face masks.

Final Child Care Counts Updates and Data

Funding from Child Care Counts reached 2,712 providers. Payments allowed over 20,000 workers to receive pay and enabled nearly 80,000 children to continue their care during the pandemic.

Providers qualified for funding based on their eligibility criteria and ability to meet the terms and conditions set by DCF. The department estimated payments for each program and related activity. Due to incredibly high demand, an overall proration rate of roughly 35 percent was required to stay within the $51 million allocation. The Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families program accounted for $32.3 million of all funds, the Incentive Pay program accounted for $14.6 million of all funds, and Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs accounted for $4.1 million of all funds.

Data on provider payments can be accessed online. The department recently launched an initiative to connect families with local child care, including an interactive map that displays open, available care and an application for families in need of child care.

The complete press release is available on the DCF Press web page.

  • Payment Period 3 Payment Letter Available in Provider Portal
    Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) on Monday, July 20, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal. To date, $50,954,818 has been paid to 2,712 providers across the state. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.

Preschool Development Grant Social Media Chats

On Thursday, July 30, DCF is hosting a social media chat throughout the day seeking interaction and online discussion related to early care and education in Wisconsin. It will take place on both Facebook and Twitter, and include a range of discussion prompts and visual content every hour between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Follow @WisDCF and #wipdg to join us in the discussion and please share this event on your social media accounts to help us get the word out.

Child Care Administrative Rule Expiration and Repeals

All of the child care administrative rules that were waived as a result of Governor Evers’ Public Health Emergency expired on May 11, 2020. This means that the administrative rules for Group and Family child care centers and Day Camps for children are back in effect. While attendance of children in child care facilities continue to be impacted, we want to clarify some important rules to provide guidance and support compliance. 

  • Providers must report if a child has not attended for 30 consecutive days
    • Providers should maintain regular communication with your families.
    • Contact your local agencies to end any authorizations.
    • Providers are also encouraged to utilize the Provider Portal to end any authorizations for children who no longer require care at this time.
  • Wisconsin Shares subsidy funds are intended to pay for care provided. Funds are not intended for days closed or for holding a spot.
    • Please contact your local agency if you received a subsidy payment for a closure that occurred after June 30, 2020, and they will assist you with a process to repay those funds.
    • At no point should providers pay these funds back to a parent/family.
    • Funds paid are also specific to the month and should not be used to credit any future or past care or care for a child not authorized.

The only child care rules that remain repealed are found in the certification rule DCF 202. The two certification rules that remain temporarily repealed are specific to certification agencies (DCF 202.04 (3) (b) 9. c. and DCF 202.04 (3) (c) 5.).

WAN Equity & Inclusion in After School Programs Training Courses

The Wisconsin Afterschool Network (WAN) has developed a new Equity and Inclusion course in Afterschool with the help of UW-Stevens Point. The courses will be offered in August and September and are designed to help afterschool programs create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all children and their families. The training provides 12 hours of continuing education Tier 3 training on The Registry. Course fee: $25.
Learn more and register for August 11, 14, 18, and 21 virtual training. Deadline to register is August 7.
Learn more and register for September 1, 4, 8, and 11 virtual training. Deadline to register is August 28.

Technical Revisions to Child Care Certification, Background Check, and Licensing Rules

On August 1, 2020, technical corrections will go into effect for child care background check, certification, and licensing rules, affecting DCF 13, 202, 250, and 251, respectively. In general, these rule revisions correct cross references, update terminology, and incorporate minor statutory changes. Information regarding these revisions, such as the Hearing Rule Text, can be found on the Department’s Child Care Rulemaking Projects web page. Below is a summary of the rule changes:

  • DCF 13, Background Checks in Child Care Programs
    The rules update the child care background check rules in DCF 13 to incorporate changes to s. 48.686, Stats., as affected by 2019 Wisconsin Act 9. These changes add “noncaregiver employees” to the list of persons subject to the background check; replace the term “nonclient resident” with “household” member; and change the time period for a person to file an appeal of an ineligibility determination from 60 days to 10 days.
     
  • DCF 202, Child Care Certification
    The rules reinstate a rule that was inadvertently removed during the 2020 permanent rule revisions. DCF 202.08 (9) (nm)
     
  • DCF 250, Family Child Care Centers and DCF 251, Group Child Care Centers
    The rules update cross-references to rules repealed or renumbered in the recent 2020 Permanent rule revisions, correct a typo, and update the term “HealthCheck provider” to “EPSDT provider” based on the terminology in s. DHS 105.37.

If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist.

Preschool Development Grant Social Media Chats

On Thursday, July 30, DCF is hosting a social media chat throughout the day seeking interaction and online discussion related to early care and education in Wisconsin. It will take place on both Facebook and Twitter, and include a range of discussion prompts and visual content every hour between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Follow @WisDCF and #wipdg to join us in the discussion and please share this event on your social media accounts to help us get the word out.

Reminder - Be Mindful of Mask Requirements in Your Area

More cities and counties in Wisconsin have issued policies requiring people to wear a mask in public spaces. Providers must review and follow their local order or ordinance, including any requirements to wear masks. DCF cannot give exceptions to local orders or ordinances. Only the local entity that issued the mask requirement can do that. DCF recommends wearing masks where appropriate. For more information, read DCF's guidelines and best practices for health and safety. *Note: Check your local city or county website frequently for updated mask orders or ordinances.

In the News

List: School districts determine back-to-school plans
Channel3000.com | July 27, 2020

List of WI cities and counties requiring masks in public spaces
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Updated July 30, 2020

July 28 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Fingerprint Background Checks During COVID-19
During the COVID-19 stay at home order, DCF paused fingerprint background check requirements. In the interim, DCF has been conducting temporary name-based background checks for employees and household members who have not completed fingerprints. Now that the stay at home order has been lifted, DCF encourages individuals to begin completing their fingerprints as soon as there is an open Fieldprint site in their area and it is safe in their communities to do so. Check the availability of open fingerprint locations on the Fieldprint website.

DCF is monitoring the availability of open Fieldprint fingerprint sites and will notify providers when fingerprint compliance efforts resume. At that time, individuals with name-based background checks will need to complete their fingerprints to maintain their eligibility.

If you have questions about background checks, contact the Child Care Background Unit.

Technical Revisions to Child Care Certification, Background Check, and Licensing Rules
On August 1, 2020, technical corrections will go into effect for child care background check, certification, and licensing rules, affecting DCF 13, 202, 250, and 251, respectively. In general, these rule revisions correct cross references, update terminology, and incorporate minor statutory changes. Information regarding these revisions, such as the Hearing Rule Text, can be found on the Department’s Child Care Rulemaking Projects web page. Below is a summary of the rule changes:

  • DCF 13, Background Checks in Child Care Programs
    The rules update the child care background check rules in DCF 13 to incorporate changes to s. 48.686, Stats., as affected by 2019 Wisconsin Act 9. These changes add “noncaregiver employees” to the list of persons subject to the background check; replace the term “nonclient resident” with “household” member; and change the time period for a person to file an appeal of an ineligibility determination from 60 days to 10 days.
  • DCF 202, Child Care Certification
    The rules reinstate a rule that was inadvertently removed during the 2020 permanent rule revisions. DCF 202.08 (9) (nm)
  • DCF 250, Family Child Care Centers and DCF 251, Group Child Care Centers
    The rules update cross-references to rules repealed or renumbered in the recent 2020 Permanent rule revisions, correct a typo, and update the term “HealthCheck provider” to “EPSDT provider” based on the terminology in s. DHS 105.37.

If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist.

Interested in furthering your education? T.E.A.C.H. can cover even more of the costs!
T.E.A.C.H. has good news to share! Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) advocated for and received approval from DCF to reduce the recipient and center share of T.E.A.C.H. scholarship costs. T.E.A.C.H. will now cover 90% of tuition costs for group center staff and 95% for family child care providers! The sponsor’s share has been reduced to only 5%, with the recipient now paying only 5%. The decrease in program and recipient share will go into effect beginning in the fall of 2020. Due to its success, in addition to funds allocated through the biennial budget, T.E.A.C.H. recently received supplemental funding from The Preschool Development Grant (PDG).

Don’t delay! T.E.A.C.H. scholarships are available with no waitlist! Counselors are available to help you find the continuing education program that matches your program needs.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN, funded through the Department of Children and Families (DCF), provides higher education scholarships to child care professionals working in regulated early education and school-age care programs. Since 1999, WECA and DCF have been committed to investing in the early childhood workforce through T.E.A.C.H. and have provided funding to help nearly 10,000 early childhood educators attain higher education, increase their compensation, and reduce the turnover rate in early care and education.

To learn more or to apply for a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship, contact Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA).
Email: teach@wisconsinearlychildhood.org
Phone: 1-800-783-9322
Website: https://wisconsinearlychildhood.org/programs/t-e-a-c-h/

Preschool Development Grant Social Media Chats
On Thursday, July 30, DCF is hosting a social media chat throughout the day seeking interaction and online discussion related to early care and education in Wisconsin. It will take place on both Facebook and Twitter, and include a range of discussion prompts and visual content every hour between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Follow @WisDCF and #wipdg to join us in the discussion and please share this event on your social media accounts to help us get the word out.

Reminder - Be Mindful of Mask Requirements in Your Area
More cities and counties in Wisconsin have issued policies requiring people to wear a mask in public spaces. Providers must review and follow their local order or ordinance, including any requirements to wear masks. DCF cannot give exceptions to local orders or ordinances. Only the local entity that issued the mask requirement can do that. DCF recommends wearing masks where appropriate. For more information, read DCF's guidelines and best practices for health and safety. *Note: Check your local city or county website frequently for updated mask orders or ordinances.

Updates for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program
All payment program application periods are closed. Thank you to all Wisconsin child care providers who applied for the programs, who have continued to care for children, and who plan to reopen and begin caring for children again. Thank you for your commitment and compassion during COVID-19. Because of your dedication to Wisconsin children and families, essential workers have been able to continue providing necessary services to those in need. You are essential, too!

  • Payment Period 3 Payment Letter Available in Provider Portal
    Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) on Monday, July 20, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal. To date, $50,954,818 has been paid to 2,712 providers across the state. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.
  • Note that Payment Period 3 is a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 and 2, covering only two (2) weeks rather than four (4) weeks. Payment amounts are prorated, resulting in a payment calculation of 50% less for base amount and child count amounts.

In the News
List of WI cities and counties requiring masks in public spaces
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Updated July 26, 2020

4 more Wisconsin cities enact mask mandates
Madison.com | July 23, 2020

July 23 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Be Mindful of Mask Requirements in Your Area

More cities and counties in Wisconsin have issued policies requiring people to wear a mask in public spaces. Some government institutions, including city and county governments, are also requiring masks inside their buildings. Providers must review and follow their local order or ordinance, including any requirements to wear masks. DCF cannot give exceptions to local orders or ordinances. Only the local entity that issued the mask requirement can do that. DCF recommends mask wearing where appropriate. For more information, read DCF's guidelines and best practices for health and safety. *Note: Green Bay recently added a mask requirement and Brown County is also considering a mask requirement. Check your local city or county website for updated mask orders or ordinances.

More Products Added to FDA’s List of Hand Sanitizers Containing Toxic Methanol

The FDA has updated the original list of more than 24 hand sanitizer products to avoid, now listing 75 such products to avoid on this FDA web page. Those products can be viewed either by clicking on the “Methanol Contaminated Products List” button at the top of the web page, or by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and then by clicking on any or all pages listing the 75 hand sanitizer products. As with the original list of hand sanitizer products to avoid, all 75 products are potentially toxic when absorbed through the skin.

For Milwaukee County Child Care Providers

  • Parent Provider Liaisons are available for Milwaukee County 414-615-6318 to assist you with any concerns or questions about Wisconsin Shares
  • New Provider Meetings are still available through Skype

Updates for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

All payment program application periods are closed. Thank you to all Wisconsin child care providers who applied for the programs, who have continued to care for children, and who plan to reopen and begin caring for children again. Thank you for your commitment and compassion during COVID-19. Because of your dedication to Wisconsin children and families, essential workers have been able to continue providing necessary services to those in need. You are essential, too!

  • Payment Period 3 Payment Letter Now Available in Provider Portal
    Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) on Monday, July 20, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal.
  • To date, $50,954,818 has been paid to 2,712 providers across the state. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.
  • Note that Payment Period 3 is a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 and 2, covering only two (2) weeks rather than four (4) weeks. Payment amounts are prorated, resulting in a payment calculation of 50% less for base amount and child count amounts.

Sign Up Today for July PDG Listening Sessions!
Stakeholders and community members are invited to participate in the Preschool Development Grant virtual listening sessions being held via Zoom video and audio conferencing. Visit the PDG website for all available dates and times by region. DCF strongly encourages you to participate in any of the remaining sessions, even if it is not for your area of the state.

In the News
List of WI cities and counties requiring masks in public spaces
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | July 18, 2020
*Note: Green Bay recently added a mask requirement and Brown County is also considering a mask requirement.

July 21 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Updates for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program
All payment program application periods are closed. Thank you to all Wisconsin child care providers who applied for the programs, who have continued to care for children, and who plan to reopen and begin caring for children again. Thank you for your commitment and compassion during COVID-19. Because of your dedication to Wisconsin children and families, essential workers have been able to continue providing necessary services to those in need. You are essential, too!

  • Payment Period 3 Payment Letter Now Available in Provider Portal
    Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) on Monday, July 20, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal. To date, $50,954,818 has been paid to 2,712 providers across the state. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.
     
  • Note that Payment Period 3 is a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 and 2, covering only two (2) weeks rather than four (4) weeks. Payment amounts are prorated, resulting in a payment calculation of 50% less for base amount and child count amounts.

Sign Up Today for July PDG Listening Sessions!
Stakeholders and community members are invited to participate in the Preschool Development Grant virtual listening sessions being held via Zoom video and audio conferencing. Visit the PDG website for all available dates and times by region. DCF strongly encourages you to participate in one of the sessions that is scheduled for your area of the state. ¡También tenemos información en español!

In the News

Wisconsin’s tribes have weathered COVID-19 better than tribes in other states. How did they do it?
Madison.com | July 20, 2020

List of WI cities and counties requiring masks in public spaces
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | July 18, 2020

Rock County to require masks in county facilities
WMTV-15 | July 16, 2020

July 16 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Check the FDA’s List of Hand Sanitizers Containing Toxic Methanol

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to consumers and health care providers about hand sanitizer products that are labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol (i.e., methyl alcohol or wood alcohol) is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested. As per the FDA news update hyperlinked below, “Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

Please see the full FDA news update on hand sanitizers with methanol for further information.

Updates for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

All payment program application periods are now closed. Thank you to all Wisconsin child care providers who applied for the programs, who have continued to care for children, and who plan to reopen and begin caring for children again. Thank you for your commitment and compassion during COVID-19. Because of your dedication to Wisconsin children and families, essential workers have been able to continue providing necessary services to those in need. You are essential, too!

  • Payment Period 3 applications are being reviewed. Providers will be notified of their eligibility for these funds the week of July 20 via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal.

PDG Listening Sessions are Still available – Sign Up Today!
Stakeholders and community members are invited to participate in the Preschool Development Grant virtual listening sessions being held via Zoom video and audio conferencing. Visit the PDG website for all available dates and times by region. DCF strongly encourages you to participate in one of the sessions that is scheduled for your area of the state. ¡También tenemos información en español!

In the News

List of Wisconsin counties and cities requiring people to wear face masks in public spaces
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | July 16, 2020

Dane County distributes 100,000 face masks to local organizations amid COVID-19 pandemic
Channel 3000 | July 15, 2020

The COVID-19 childcare chasm
Wisconsin Examiner | July 15, 2020

July 14 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Reminder – Child Care Administrative Rule Expiration and Repeals
State level:
All of the child care administrative rules that were waived as a result of Governor Evers’ Public Health Emergency expired on May 11, 2020. This means that all administrative rules for Group and Family child care centers and Day Camps for children are back in effect.

The only child care rules that remain repealed are found in the certification rule DCF 202. The two certification rules that remain temporarily repealed are specific to certification agencies (DCF 202.04 (3) (b) 9. c. and DCF 202.04 (3) (c) 5.)

Local level: In some instances, counties or local public health departments issued local guidance or orders. Child care programs should follow local guidance or orders, if issued.

Updates for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program
All payment program application periods are now closed. Thank you to all Wisconsin child care providers who applied for the programs, who have continued to care for children, and who plan to reopen and begin caring for children again. Thank you for your commitment and compassion during COVID-19. Because of your dedication to Wisconsin children and families, essential workers have been able to continue providing necessary services to those in need. You are essential, too!

  • Payment Period 3 applications are being reviewed. Providers will be notified of their eligibility for these funds the week of July 20 via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal.

Frequently Asked Question – Face Masks and Child Care Programs
Are children required to wear masks while attending child care programs? Can I receive an exception to the mask requirement for children in my child care program?

Providers must review and follow their local order or ordinance, including any requirements to wear masks. DCF cannot give exceptions to local orders or ordinances. Only the local entity that issued the mask requirement can do that.
DCF recommends mask wearing where appropriate. For more information, read DCF's guidelines and best practices for health and safety.

Sign Up for Preschool Development Grant Listening Sessions
We are inviting stakeholders and community members to participate in virtual listening sessions being held via Zoom video and audio conferencing. Visit the PDG website for all available dates and times by region. DCF strongly encourages you to participate in one of the sessions that is scheduled for your area of the state. ¡También tenemos información en español!

In the News

What Parents Need to Know about Milwaukee Public Schools’ Reopening Plan
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | July 14, 2020

Milwaukee Common Council Approves Requiring Masks in Public Spaces
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | July 13, 2020

The New Way COVID-19 Might be Affecting Kids
Milwaukee Courier | July 10, 2020

Reach Out and Read Program Gives Out Books at Pediatric Well Visits
NBC-15-Madison | July 9, 2020

July 9 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Latest Information about Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Two Days Left to Apply for Payment Period 3 – Deadline July 10
    DCF is accepting applications for Payment Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) through tomorrow - July 10, 2020. (Note that this is a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 and 2, covering only two (2) weeks rather than four (4) weeks. Be sure to accurately enter hours worked and child attendance indicators for the two-week funding period.)
     
  • Submitting Applications and Support
    Applications must be submitted through the Provider Portal by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 2020. If you have not started the application and need assistance, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov before 4 p.m. on Friday, July 10. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process. Staff will be available until 8 p.m. Friday to answer questions.
     
  • About Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.

Formula Supplies Shipping from Baby2Baby to Area Food Banks
In cooperation with Baby2Baby, Wisconsin food banks will receive a limited supply of baby formula. Delivery dates and quantities provided to various food pantries will differ. Check with your local food pantry to see when formula supplies may be available to you. To find a local food pantry, please contact 2-1-1.

Sign up for Preschool Development Grant Listening Sessions
We are inviting stakeholders and community members to participate in virtual listening sessions being held via Zoom video and audio conferencing. Visit our website for all available dates and times by region. We strongly encourage you to participate in one of the sessions that is scheduled for your area of the state. ¡También tenemos información en español!

Additional Resources

July 7 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Latest Information about Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Three Days Left to Apply for Payment Period 3 – Deadline July 10
    DCF is accepting applications for Payment Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) through July 10, 2020. (Note that this is a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 and 2, covering only two (2) weeks rather than four (4) weeks. Be sure to accurately enter hours worked and child attendance indicators for the two-week funding period.)
     
  • Applications must be submitted through the Provider Portal by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 2020. If you have not started the application and need assistance, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov before 4 p.m. on Friday July 10. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process. Staff will be available until 8 p.m. Friday to answer questions.
     
  • About Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.

Connecting with Your Local Grocery Store
Child care providers have expressed that shopping and availability of some foods and cleaning items have become difficult to find during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthy Early and the Wisconsin Grocers Association (WGA) have partnered to put together the following tips and talking points to help work with local grocery stores.

Text Messaging for Parents Using the Child Care Parent Portal
Parents using the MyWIChildCare Parent Portal are able to sign up to receive text message alerts. They will receive a text message when an authorization worker sends a message to the parent via the Parent Portal. Learn more about the new text messages.

In the News
The Role of Child Care Centers in Economic Recovery
NBC-26-Green Bay | July 2, 2020

Getting it right: How Madison-area daycares are able to safely stay open during the pandemic
Channel 3000 | July 2, 2020

What can I do to help my young child get used to wearing a mask?
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | July 6, 2020

Public Health Madison & Dane County Releases New Orders Requiring Face Coverings
City of Madison | July 7, 2020

Additional Resources

July 2 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Sign up for Preschool Development Grant Listening Sessions
We are inviting stakeholders and community members to participate in virtual listening sessions being held via Zoom video and audio conferencing. Visit our website for all available dates and times by region. We strongly encourage you to participate in one of the sessions that is scheduled for your area of the state. ¡También tenemos información en español!

Wisconsin Afterschool Network Virtual Meeting – July 8
The Wisconsin Afterschool Network invites you to join in a virtual meeting on July 8 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This meeting is to open a conversation with providers from across the state to share information and strategies as schools and after school programs plan for the upcoming school year. 

To Register and participate in this conversation, please complete the survey. A follow-up link to join the conversation will be sent to you by email.

Licensing Visits During COVID-19 – Guidance & Expectations
The Bureau of Early Care Regulation (BECR) has created a guidance list for what child care providers can expect from their Licensing Specialists during a visit while we are dealing with COVID-19. Read more about what a visit may look like at your center.

Latest Information about Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Payment Period 2 payment letter now available in Provider Portal
    Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 2 (4/12/2020 – 5/11/2020) on Monday, June 29, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.
     
  • Applications for Payment Period 3 Began June 29 – Deadline July 10
    DCF is accepting applications for Payment Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) from June 29 – July 10, 2020. This application covers the funding period of 5/12/20 – 5/26/2020 (Note that this is a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 and 2, covering only two (2) weeks rather than four (4) weeks. Be sure to accurately enter hours worked and child attendance indicators for the two-week funding period.). You may be able to apply for more than one application period, and more than one program. See our FAQs for more information. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process.
     
  • About Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.

Text Messaging for Parents Using the Child Care Parent Portal
Starting Saturday, July 4, parents using the MyWIChildCare Parent Portal can sign up to receive text message alerts. They will receive a text message when an authorization worker has sent a message to the parent via the Parent Portal. Learn more about the new text messages.

Heat-Related Health and Safety Tips
The Wisconsin Department of Human Services (DHS) has published a health safety fact sheet that includes various ways to protect your family from extreme heat. Some tips include, drinking lots of water, checking on your neighbors, and never leave pets or people in a parked car. Stay safe and stay cool this holiday weekend!

Look Before You Lock
Where’s baby? Look before you lock! Make a habit of looking in your car before locking the door and walking away. Heatstroke is the number one killer of children, outside of car crashes. Learn more about preventing heatstroke in cars.

In the News
DHS Urges Wisconsin Residents to Stay Home 4th of July Weekend
Department of Health Services | July 2, 2020

Additional Resources

June 30 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Updated Policies for Licensed Child Care Programs
With all the energy child care providers have spent responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department wants to remind licensed child care programs that center policies need to be updated to meet the new and revised administrative rules. DCF’s forms Policy Checklists for Family Child Care Centers, Group Child Care Centers, and Day Camps, and the Policy Sample – Family Child Care Centers (Word | PDF) have been updated and are available on DCF’s Forms and Publications web page.

Additionally, DCF’s Proposed Child Care Rulemaking Projects web page features Training Tools for licensed provides that includes lists of revised rules for DCF 250, 251, and 252. The lists specify whether a rule was added, deleted, or modified during the recent rule revision process. Please use these forms and tools when updating your policies. New and updated policies are due to DCF by the center’s license continuation date.

Latest Information about Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Payment Period 2 payment letter now available in Provider Portal
    Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 2 (4/12/2020 – 5/11/2020) on Monday, June 29, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal. Approximately $14M was paid to over 2,000 providers across the state. This program supported the costs for providing incentive pay for child care providers and individual educators who worked during Payment Period 2. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and under the How Payments are Determined section on the payments web page.
     
  • Applications for Payment Period 3 Began June 29
    DCF is accepting applications for Payment Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) from June 29 – July 10, 2020. This application covers the funding period of 5/12/20 – 5/26/2020 (Note that this is a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 and 2, covering only two (2) weeks rather than four (4) weeks. Be sure to accurately enter hours worked and child attendance indicators for the two-week funding period.). This funding is part of the $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. You may be able to apply for more than one application period, and more than one program. See our FAQs for more information. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process.
     
  • About Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.

NAEYC Survey on Child Care and the Pandemic
Whether your child care program is reopening, never closed, or is still in limbo, we want policymakers and the public to know about the challenges you are facing and how you are feeling about the decisions and circumstances in front of you. Please complete and share this survey in English or in Spanish TODAY to help inform the next set of potential policy actions so they can effectively support child care across all states and settings.

Your previous survey responses are driving change! From the earliest days of the pandemic to the ongoing impact, your stories and data have informed policymakers and the public about how much support child care needs - and how much America needs child care. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise! 

Final Reminder – Wisconsin Shares Authorizations Ending TODAY for Temporarily Closed Centers
If your center is listed as temporarily closed in DCF automated systems, all Wisconsin Shares authorizations to your center will automatically end today-June 30. It is very important that any changes to your program’s temporary closed status are reported to your licensor or certifier in a timely manner. You can update your temporary closed status by contacting your licensor or certifier to provide your reopening date. Check your center’s status in the Provider Portal or contact your licensor/certifier to verify your status today.

If you have questions concerning authorizations, contact childcare@wisconsin.gov. If you have questions about your temporary closed status, contact your licensor or certifier immediately.

In the News
Milwaukee health officials give guidance on child care safety protocol amid pandemic
WDJT-Milwaukee | June 25, 2020

Additional Resources

June 25 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

EBT Card Payment Transfers
DCF will no longer be transferring funds from MyWIChildCare EBT cards to the corresponding child care provider bank accounts. Parents must initiate all payments to their child care providers. The Department was able to make those transfers under Administrative Rule waivers associated with COVID-19. That waiver has expired and no future ACH transfers of MyWIChildCare EBT funds will be transferred to child care provider bank accounts. Please contact the Child Care Help Desk childcare@wisconsin.gov with questions.

Latest Information about Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Payment Period 2 payment letter available Monday
    Providers will be notified of their eligibility for these funds on Monday, June 29, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal.
  • Applications for Payment Period 3 Begin June 29
    DCF will accept applications for Payment Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) from June 29 – July 10, 2020. This application covers the funding period of 5/12/20 – 5/26/2020 (a shorter funding period than Payment Periods 1 or 2). This funding is part of the $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. You may be able to apply for more than one application period, and more than one program. See our FAQs for more information. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process.
  • About Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.

Reminder – Temporarily Closed? Wisconsin Shares Authorizations Ending on June 30
If your center is listed as temporarily closed in DCF automated systems, all Wisconsin Shares authorizations to your center will automatically end on June 30. It is very important that any changes to your program’s temporary closed status are reported to your licensor or certifier in a timely manner. You can update your temporary closed status by contacting your licensor or certifier to provide your reopening date. Check your center’s status in the Provider Portal or contact your licensor/certifier to verify your status today.

If you have questions concerning authorizations, contact childcare@wisconsin.gov. If you have questions about your temporary closed status, contact your licensor or certifier immediately.

Reminder – Premieres Tonight: No Small Matter-Their Future is Now - June 25 – 7 p.m. CDT
America doesn’t work without child care, and its early learning infrastructure was fragile even before COVID-19. Watch the national streaming premier of ABCinemaNOW’s Facebook Live Screening. This event is designed to generate support for the urgent action needed to tackle America’s child care crisis. Register for this free online event. #NoSmallMatter

In the News
What You Need to Know about Kids, Pets, and Hot Cars this Summer
Spectrum Milwaukee News | June 25, 2020

DHS Launches New COVID-19 Activity Level by Region and County Dashboard
DHS | June 25, 2020

Additional Resources

June 23 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Latest Information about Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Payment Period 2 applications are being reviewed. Providers will be notified of their eligibility for these funds on Monday, June 29, via a payment letter uploaded to the Child Care Provider Portal.
     
  • Applications for Payment Period 3 Begin June 29
    DCF will accept applications for Payment Period 3 (5/12/20 – 5/26/20) from June 29 – July 10, 2020. This application covers the time period of 5/12/20 – 5/26/2020. This funding is part of the $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. You may be able to apply for more than one application period, and more than one program. See our FAQs for more information. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process.
     
  • About Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.

Updates to Child Care Licensing Continuing Education Requirements for 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic most, if not all, in-person continuing education offerings have been cancelled, and although slowly starting again, it affects a child care provider’s ability to obtain the required hours of continuing education. As a result of the Public Health Emergency in Wisconsin from March through May, DCF will be lessening the continuing education requirements for the year of 2020 as follows:

Family Child Care

  • DCF 250.05(4)(c)1. – Providers will only be required to obtain 11.25 hours of continuing education.
  • DCF 250.05(4)(c)3. – DCF will allow for all continuing education to be obtained via independent reading, viewing educational materials, Internet searches, or web-based training.

Group Child Care

  • DCF 251.05(4)(c)1. and 2. – Providers who work more than 20 hours per week will only be required to obtain 18.75 hours; and providers who work 20 or fewer hours per week are only required to have 11.25 hours of continuing education.
  • DCF 251.05(4)(c)8. – DCF will allow for all continuing education to be obtained via independent reading, viewing educational materials, Internet searches, or web-based training.

If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist.

Child Care Licensing Rule Books Being Sent to Providers
The child care licensing rules were recently revised, and the permanent rules went into effect on April 1, 2020. The Department is mailing a physical copy of the applicable licensing rule book to each provider location during the week of June 29. Going forward, DCF will not print new rule books. However, you may download an electronic copy of the rule books and view training tools for revised rules online. If you have any questions, please contact your regional licensing office.

Documentary: No Small Matter-Their Future is Now Premieres June 25 – 7 p.m. CDT
America doesn’t work without child care, and its early learning infrastructure was fragile even before COVID-19. Watch the national streaming premier of ABCinemaNOW’s Facebook Live Screening. This event is designed to generate support for the urgent action needed to tackle America’s child care crisis. Register for this free online event. #NoSmallMatter

Reminder – Temporarily Closed? Wisconsin Shares Authorizations Ending on June 30
If your center is listed as temporarily closed in DCF automated systems, all Wisconsin Shares authorizations to your center will automatically end on June 30. It is very important that any changes to your program’s temporary closed status are reported to your licensor or certifier in a timely manner. You can update your temporary closed status by contacting your licensor or certifier to provide your reopening date. Check your center’s status in the Provider Portal or contact your licensor/certifier to verify your status today.

If you have questions concerning authorizations, contact childcare@wisconsin.gov. If you have questions about your temporary closed status, contact your licensor or certifier immediately.

In the News
DPI Issues Guidance on Safe Return to In-Person Instruction
DPI Press Release | June 22, 2020

Additional Resources

June 18 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Important Information for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Deadline Tomorrow - Friday, June 19 – Child Care Counts Application Period 2
    Applications must be submitted through the Provider Portal by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. If you have not started the application and need assistance, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov before 4 p.m. on Friday June 19. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process. Staff will be available until 8 p.m. Friday to answer questions.
     
  • Information Related to Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.
     
  • Remember to Review Submitted Applications
    In order to ensure potential payment amounts are calculated correctly, please review your submitted applications before the application period closes. If you applied for payment period 1, many of your entries were carried over to period 2 – please review all entries for accuracy. For example: staff list and hours, child attendance and care type, and temporary closures. DCF is unable to make changes once the application period closes.
     
  • Timeline for Application Periods
    Application Period 2 covers the time period of 4/12/20 – 5/11/20, and the deadline to apply is 6/19/20. Application Period 3 covers the time period of 5/12/20 – 5/26/20, and this application period will be open from 6/29/20 – 7/10/20. You may be able to apply for more than one application period, and more than one program. See our FAQs for more information.

Reminder – Temporarily Closed? Wisconsin Shares Authorizations Ending on June 30
If your center is listed as temporarily closed in DCF automated systems, all Wisconsin Shares authorizations to your center will automatically end on June 30. It is very important that any changes to your program’s temporary closed status are reported to your licensor or certifier in a timely manner. You can update your temporary closed status by contacting your licensor or certifier to provide your reopening date. Check your center’s status in the Provider Portal or contact your licensor/certifier to verify your status today.

If you have questions concerning authorizations, contact childcare@wisconsin.gov. If you have questions about your temporary closed status, contact your licensor or certifier immediately.

Preschool Development Grant (PDG) is Moving Forward!
In spite of the COVID-19 public health emergency, PDG has expanded its team and is making progress on many grant activities. The team is eager to begin connecting with stakeholders statewide once again to collaborate on achieving our goals! Read the latest PDG newsletter for details.

In the News
DHS Awards $1.2 Million to Local Programs to Support Innovation in Addressing the Social and Emotional Needs of Children
DHS Press Release | June 15, 2020
 

Additional Resources

June 16 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Collaborative Partnership Delivers Supplies to Child Care Providers
The Department of Children and Families (DCF), Feeding Wisconsin, Baby2Baby, United Way of Wisconsin, and United Way of Dane County have teamed up to secure and deliver supplies to providers in need. During the early stages of the crisis, DCF worked to secure supplies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help early care and education providers who were struggling to find supplies.

The department was able to work with private suppliers like Baby2Baby to find additional donations for scarce items such as diapers, wipes, and formula. As resources came in, the department began to evaluate providers in need by working with staff who regulate child care providers and other advocates in the field. Read the full press release for more information.

Important Information for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

  • Child Care Counts Application Period 2 Open – Deadline June 19
    Applications must be submitted through the Provider Portal by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2020. If you have not started the application and need assistance, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov before 4 p.m. on Friday June 19. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process. Staff will be available until 8 p.m. Friday to answer questions.
  • Information Related to Payment Program #3 – Support for Temporarily Closed Programs
    Payment Program #3 is to support the reopening child care programs who were temporarily closed. Funds are required to be used for reopening within 30 days of receiving funding as outlined in the Terms and Conditions. If you know that you will be unable to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for Payment Program #3.
  • Remember to Review Submitted Applications
    In order to ensure potential payment amounts are calculated correctly, please review your submitted applications before the application period closes. If you applied for payment period 1, many of your entries were carried over to period 2 – please review all entries for accuracy. For example: staff list and hours, child attendance and care type, and temporary closures. DCF is unable to make changes once the application period closes.

Temporarily Closed? Wisconsin Shares Authorizations Ending on June 30
If your center is listed as temporarily closed in DCF automated systems, all Wisconsin Shares authorizations to your center will automatically end on June 30. It is very important that any changes to your program’s temporary closed status are reported to your licensor or certifier in a timely manner. You can update your temporary closed status by contacting your licensor or certifier to provide your reopening date. Check your center’s status in the Provider Portal or contact your licensor/certifier to verify your status today! Note: only modifying the status in the Provider Portal does not notify the licensing specialist. If you have questions concerning authorizations, contact childcare@wisconsin.gov. If you have questions about your temporary closed status, contact your licensor or certifier immediately.

New Child Care Counts FAQs Posted to the Website

  • What if I can’t comply with the Terms and Conditions?
    You must call 608-535-3650 or email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov to discuss the details of your situation. You may need to return the funds that you received if you are unable to meet the Terms and Conditions of the payment program.
  • I thought I would be able to reopen within 30 days, but now I don’t think I will. Should I still apply?
    If you are unable to comply with the Terms and Conditions, you may be ineligible to receive funds or have to return the funds you received. You can withdraw your application before the end of the application period for which you are applying (June 19 for Payment Period 2). You cannot withdraw your application after the period has closed and may have to return funds after they are disbursed. Contact the Call Center at 608-535-3650 or DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov to discuss the details of your situation. If you know for certain that you will not be able to reopen within 30 days of receiving funds, you should not apply for program #3.

Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more.

Additional Resources

June 11 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Child Care Counts Payment Information for Period 1
Child care providers received their Child Care Counts payment letter for Period 1 (3/12-4/11) via the Provider Portal this past weekend. Approximately $32.21M was paid to over 2,350 providers across the state. This funding program allowed approximately 66,000 children to remain in child care and 16,000 teachers and providers to remain employed and receiving pay during the health emergency. More information can be found on the Child Care Counts dashboard and in this press release.

Child Care Counts Application Period 2 Open – Deadline June 19
Application Period 2 for the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program is now open! Submit your application by June 19. Check the Provider Portal for your Period 1 payment information. Data on all provider payments can be found online.
 
Tips for successfully completing your application:

  • Be sure to carefully review staff hours worked and enter ‘Total Hours Worked’ during the entire funding period (April 12 – May 11), not just the average hours worked in a week.
  • You must enter all children enrolled, and then mark Yes/No for each if child if they attended during the funding period.
  • Carefully review any temporary closures that are listed in the Provider Portal to ensure accurate calculation of your payment amount. If there are any errors in the closure details, you should edit that information before submitting your application.
  • You may be able to apply for more than one program, depending on whether you were open or closed during the funding period. See the FAQ section of the webpage for some examples.
  • If you applied for application Period 1, some of your information will carry over into your application for Period 2. Be sure to review all information and make any updates as necessary. For example, you will need to make sure all children and staff are entered correctly for the next funding period.
  • Once you have completed your application, make sure the status reads as “submitted.”

Need help? Email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

Our website has been rebranded with the new DCF logo! Bookmark the Child Care Counts web page to make it easy to find.

Website Updated with New DCF Logo and Brand Colors!
Our new branding officially launched on the DCF website on June 10. The new logo and colors better reflect our vision that all Wisconsin children and youth are safe and loved members of thriving families and communities. We will be transitioning our forms, publications, and other materials to the new brand as those items need to be updated. We are using this approach to reduce costs related to the change and to be responsible with the taxpayer dollars and resources that went into creating the old materials. Please visit the DCF website and explore our new look!

Additional Resources

June 9 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program
Application Period 2 is now open! Be sure to submit your application by June 19. Payment information for Period 1 can be found in the Provider Portal. Data on all provider payments can be accessed online.

Tips for successfully completing your application:

  • Carefully review any temporary closures that are listed in the Provider Portal to ensure accurate calculation of your payment amount. If there are any errors in the closure details, you should edit that information before submitting your application.
  • You may be able to apply for more than one program, depending on whether you were open or closed during the funding period. See the FAQ section of the webpage for some examples.
  • If you applied for application Period 1, some of your information will carry over into your application for Period 2. Be sure to review all information and make any updates as necessary. For example, you will need to make sure all children and staff are entered correctly for the next funding period.
  • Once you have completed your application, make sure the status reads as “submitted.”

Need help? Email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

New Option - Pay Your Licensing Continuation Fees Online
Child care providers can now pay licensing continuation fees to DCF using a new e-payment portal within the Child Care Provider Portal. Fees may be paid by credit or debit card (with an additional 2% fee) or ACH bank transfer (with no additional fee). To pay your fees online, log in to the Child Care Provider Portal and use the new e-payment tool. Visit the Child Care Provider Portal Information web page for more information or to gain access to the portal.

Resources and Services for Children with Delays or Disabilities
As families across Wisconsin face uncertainties during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, services for children with delays or disabilities is still a critical need. Because of this, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is reminding providers, physicians, and other health and child care professionals to continue referring children with suspected or diagnosed delays or disabilities to the Birth to 3 Program.

You can help! DHS has developed a media toolkit to help you share our message, including a flyer, social media ideas, and sample newsletter articles. These resources remind families, doctors, and others working with children to continue referring to the Birth to 3 Program, and explain how the Birth to 3 Program is providing constant support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please consider sharing these materials with clinics, physicians, and other local partners. Email the Birth to 3 Program with any questions at dhsbirthto3@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

Reminder - Notify Your Licensing Specialist/Certifier and Keep Your Open/Closed Status Current
All child care providers that were temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic must contact their licensing specialist/certifier prior to reopening. Modifying the status in the Provider Portal does not notify the licensing specialist. Anytime a change in status occurs, the licensing specialist/certifier must be contacted and the Provider Portal updated.

Please note: All Wisconsin Shares authorizations will be ended on June 30 if your program is closed, or if the parent reports that their child is not attending and that they do not plan to return to your center.

In The News
Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Ann Bieringer provides child care during pandemic
Natalie Shepherd | Jun 3, 2020

Additional Resources

June 4 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

REMINDER: Applications for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Application Period 2 Begins June 8
DCF will start accepting applications for Period 2 (4/12/2020 – 5/11/2020) of the Payment Program beginning June 8 – June 19, 2020. This funding is part of the $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community.

Please note:

  • You will need to complete a new application in order to be considered for funding in Period 2.
  • If you applied for Application Period 1, watch for an email early next week regarding the status of your application.

Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more about the three programs and how to apply. 

If you have a questions, contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

June EBT Card Payment Transfer  
On Tuesday, June 9, all Wisconsin Shares subsidy fund balances from April, May, or June that are available on families’ MyWIChildCare EBT cards will be transferred from EBT cards to the corresponding child care providers’ financial institution. Funds should be available in child care providers’ accounts between June 9 - June 12, depending on the financial institution’s policies.

Please contact the Child Care Help Desk at childcare@wisconsin.gov with questions.

REMINDER: Notify Your Licensing Specialist/Certifier and Keep Your Open/Closed Status Current
All child care providers that were temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic must contact their licensing specialist/certifier prior to reopening. Modifying the status in the Provider Portal does not notify the licensing specialist. Anytime a change in status occurs, the licensing specialist/certifier must be contacted, and the Provider Portal updated.

Please note: All Wisconsin Shares authorizations will be ended on June 30 if your program is closed, or if the parent reports that their child is not attending and that they do not plan to return to your center.

WI-AIMH Releases Tips for Supporting Infants and Young Children as Programs Re-Open
The Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH) just released a new publication entitled “Tips for Supporting Infants and Young Children as We Re-open.” This document provides suggestions on how to help infants and young children adjust and cope during transition back to early care and education programs now and in the future. The document includes links to resources that may be helpful as you intentionally plan to support young children and their families as they rejoin group learning. More resources are available on the WI-AIMH website.

Additional Resources

June 2 Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Notify Your Licensing Specialist/Certifier and Keep Your Open/Closed Status Current
All child care providers that were temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic must contact their licensing specialist/certifier prior to reopening. Modifying the status in the Provider Portal does not notify the licensing specialist. Anytime a change in status occurs, the licensing specialist/certifier must be contacted, and the Provider Portal updated.

DCF Unable to Obtain Cleaning Supplies for Child Care Programs
DCF is aware that finding cleaning supplies in the quantity you need is currently very difficult. Unfortunately, DCF has been unable to obtain cleaning and disinfecting supplies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Child care providers are allowed to use money from the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program 1 (funding to care for children of essential workforce) and Payment Program 3 (funding to reopen temporarily closed programs) to purchase cleaning and sanitizing supplies as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff. Programs are encouraged to work with local grocers and suppliers to help locate and purchase the supplies needed.

Applications for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Begins June 8
DCF will start accepting applications for Period 2 (4/12/2020 – 5/11/2020) of the Payment Program beginning June 8 – June 19, 2020. This funding is part of the $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more about the three programs and how to apply. 
Be sure to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage.
If you have additional questions, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

June Wisconsin Shares Benefit Load Available on EBT Cards
Due to minor technical difficulties, the June Wisconsin Shares EBT benefit load appeared to be unavailable early on June 1. Those technical issues have been resolved and parents were able to see their June Wisconsin Shares funds in both the Parent Portal and on ebtEdge by noon on June 1.

WISER ECE Job Board
If you have logged into wiserece.org lately, you have likely seen a job board posted on the bottom right corner of the homepage. Did you know this is a free job posting and career management site? The Wisconsin ECE Jobs site has a number of time and money-saving features to help you hire or get hired.

WISER is currently free for any WI child care programs to register. Employers can receive advice on what should be included in a job posting and learn more about the average hourly rate of pay for various ECE positions in Wisconsin. When a job is posted, the Wisconsin ECE Jobs site sends the posting to 11 different internet employment sites like Indeed and Google. Anyone can see job postings by going to Wisconsin ECE Jobs. For more information on best practices for hiring and applying, and being a good job candidate, visit the HR tab on WISER. Sample interview questions, posting templates, and useful forms for hiring are available. Questions about WISER materials? Contact WISER at theteam@wiserece.org

Additional Resources

May 28 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.
 

FINAL REMINDER - COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Application Period 1 (3/12 - 4/11/20) Closes Tomorrow
Applications must be submitted through the Provider Portal by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020.

If you have not started the application and need assistance, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov before 4 p.m. tomorrow. The checklist and guide are helpful resources for those beginning the application process. Staff will be available until 8 p.m. tomorrow to answer questions.

Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more.

New Flyer and Poster for Families About Child Care and COVID-19
Are you working with parents or family members who have questions and want help making decisions and plans related to child care during the public health emergency? Please distribute and/or print the resource below to help them navigate enrolling their child in a group or family child care program and staying safe in the months ahead.
Download the 2-page flyer
Download the 11 x 17 poster

Updated: Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training for Child Care Providers
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Prevention Training for Child Care Providers will be required after August 31, 2020, in place of Shaken Baby Prevention Training for Child Care Providers. Either training will meet the training requirement through August 31, 2020. Child care providers who have already completed SBS Prevention training are not required to complete the new AHT Prevention training; however, the training may count toward a child care provider’s continuing education hours.

Child care providers and teachers working with children under age 5 are required to receive training on Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) Prevention and how to manage crying, fussing, or distraught children. In addition to covering SBS prevention, the updated Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training addresses the latest information on:

  • Abusive Head Trauma
  • The Period of Purple Crying
  • Strategies and challenges of soothing
  • Coping with frustration
  • Having a plan and educating others

Learn more about getting SBS and AHT training and read the AHT FAQs for additional information.

Additional Resources

May 26 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.
 

REMINDER – COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Application Period 1 (3/12 - 4/11/20) Closes this Friday, May 29
Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more about the three COVID-19 emergency payment programs and how to apply. Submit your application through the Provider Portal by Friday, May 29, 2020.

If you have additional questions, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

Public School Building Access
There have been many questions regarding the impact of the Supreme Court Order on the Safer At Home Order regarding Public School Building access. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) recently sent an update to school district administrators.

The Supreme Court upheld the closure of school buildings until June 30 for all pupil instruction or extracurricular activities. However, it opened the door for school districts to make decisions about opening the buildings earlier for other activities, including summer camps and child care. While a district could choose to allow external contactors to access the building, they are not required to do so. They would need to make that decision in consultation with local health authorities and determine if it could be done in a safe manner. In the event that a school’s local county government passed their own health order, a school would have to follow those local restrictions.

Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training for Child Care Providers
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Prevention Training for Child Care Providers will be required after August 31, 2020, in place of Shaken Baby Prevention Training for Child Care Providers. Either training will meet the training requirement through August 31, 2020.

Child care providers and teachers working with children under age 5 are required to receive training on Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) Prevention and how to manage crying, fussing, or distraught children. In addition to covering SBS prevention, the updated Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training addresses the latest information on:

  • Abusive Head Trauma
  • The Period of Purple Crying
  • Strategies and challenges of soothing
  • Coping with frustration
  • Having a plan and educating others

Learn more about getting SBS and AHT Training.

Additional Resources

May 21 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.
 
New Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program FAQs posted to our webpage!
Visit the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage to read the FAQs. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Frequently Asked Questions accordion. Here are three sample questions and answers:

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.

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 application period (Period 1 is 3/12/20-4/11/20), apply for Programs 1 and 2.
  • A program was temporarily closed during the application 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 application period (Period 1 is 3/12/20-4/11/20), apply for Programs 1, 2 and 3.

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.

Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Application Instruction Manual
Need help submitting your application for the COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program? Check out this instruction manual for a checklist to aid you with submitting your application. This manual directs you in gathering the information needed to complete and submit your application.

Need additional assistance? Call 608-535-3650 or email your questions to DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov.

You can also find the instruction manual on the DCF website, on the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage. Look in the accordion labeled How to Apply for Payments.

Emergency Payment accordion screenshot

Additional Resources

May 19 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Child Care Administrative Rule Expiration and Repeals
State level: All of the child care administrative rules that were waived as a result of Governor Evers’ Public Health Emergency expired on May 11, 2020. This means that all administrative rules for Group and Family child care centers and Day Camps for children are back in effect.

The only child care rules that remain repealed are found in the certification rule DCF 202. The two certification rules that remain temporarily repealed are specific to certification agencies (DCF 202.04 (3) (b) 9. c. and DCF 202.04 (3) (c) 5.)

Local level: In some instances, counties or local public health departments issued local guidance or orders. Child care programs should follow local guidance or orders, if issued.

Program level: DCF developed recommendations for child care programs and day camps for children that focus on health and safety practices.

Please work with you licensing or certification specialist and check with your local municipality if you have questions.

June EBT Card Payment Transfer  
The DCF will transfer Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy fund balances that were available on families’ MyWIChildCare EBT cards to the corresponding child care provider financial institution accounts during the week of June 8. Child care providers should see the funds reflected in their accounts two to three days after the transfer has been made, depending on their financial institution. A message will be displayed in the Parent Portal to this effect. This will be the final transfer of EBT funds to accounts.

If you have any questions, please contact the Child Care Help Desk childcare@wisconsin.gov.

REMINDER - Now Accepting Applications for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program
DCF is supporting the growing demand for child care access by supporting payment programs for open or temporarily closed child care programs during March 12 – May 25, 2020. Visit Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program to learn more about the three programs and how to apply. 

Be sure to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program webpage. Additional FAQs will be added often.
 
If you have additional questions, please contact DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov

 

Additional Resources

May 18 - Now Accepting Applications for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has been approved to use $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Child care providers are vital contributors to reopening Wisconsin’s economy. In order to ensure parents are able to return to work, Wisconsin needs child care programs to safely remain open or reopen, be staffed, and able to care for children, ages 0-13.

DCF is supporting the growing demand for child care access by supporting payment programs for open or temporarily closed child care programs during March 12 – May 25, 2020. There are three payment programs and three application periods as detailed below. Read more about the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program and apply on the department’s website.

Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Programs

  • Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families
  • Program 2: Incentive Pay
  • Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

Application Periods/Timelines

  • For Period 1 (March 12 - April 11, 2020)
    • Applications open on May 18 and close on May 29, 2020
    • Payment letters will be issued by June 8, 2020
  • For Period 2 (April 12 - May 11, 2020)
    • Applications open on June 8 and close on June 19, 2020
    • Payment letters will be issued by June 29, 2020
  • For Period 3 (May 12 – May 25, 2020, 2-week period)
    • Applications open on June 29 and close on July 10, 2020
    • Payment letters will be issued by July 20, 2020

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

May 16 - Additional DECE Update - Badger Bounce Back FAQs update and Camp Guidance

Badger Bounce Back remains Wisconsin’s plan to decrease COVID-19. In light of the Legislature v. Palm decision, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) is provided an updated version of the Badger Bounce Back Frequently Asked Questions document and a new document to help licensed summer camp providers navigate the health emergency. Those documents, along with the best practices overview and decision tree, are all included below:

  • The updated Best Practices for Child Care Providers frequently asked questions provides specific recommendations during each phase of the transition.

    • Please note: if you opened this document already, you will need to clear your browser cache or redownload the file. The link address is unchanged to prevent dead links.

  • The Guidance for Licensed Day Camps for Children overview provides recommendations and helpful information for those considering opening camps this summer.

  • The Best Practices for Child Care Providers overview highlights considerations and recommendations during each phase of the transition. As always, the health and safety of children is the most important priority.

  • The Reopening Child Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic decision tree assists child care programs in making decisions about reopening during the Badger Bounce Back transition.

May 14 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Badger Bounce Back: Best Practices for Child Care Provider Documents
Badger Bounce Back is Wisconsin’s plan to decrease COVID-19 cases to a low level so that a phased reopening of businesses is possible. It is important to check with the state and local health officials to determine the most appropriate actions.

DCF has created three documents for child care providers that highlight best practices for continuing operations or reopening during the three phases of this transition:

  • The Best Practices for Child Care Providers overview highlights considerations and recommendations during each phase of the transition. As always, the health and safety of children is the most important priority.
  • The Best Practices for Child Care Providers frequently asked questions provides specific recommendations during each phase of the transition.
  • The Reopening Child Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic decision tree assists child care programs in making decisions about reopening during the Badger Bounce Back transition.

Coupon for FREE Registry Membership Now Available
A coupon code for FREE Registry membership and renewal is now available through Wisconsin’s Preschool Development Grant (PDG) funding. This coupon is for all individuals and is available only as funding allows, until December 31, 2020. DCF anticipates funding to last for at least several months.

To track available funding for this coupon, please go to the coupon page on the Registry website and review the PDF attached to this email for more information.

Reminder - Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Next Steps
In preparation for the COVID-19 Payment Program Proposal currently under review by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) reminds all regulated child care providers to take steps to prepare to apply for funds in the event that the proposal is approved. This includes signing up with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to set up a payment account; getting access to the Child Care Provider Portal to manage your program information and to receive funding notices; and updating staff and family information for your program.

Regulated providers not yet signed up with FIS should have recently received a letter with instructions to set up an account with FIS to expedite the payment process. This allows FIS to directly deposit payments into child care provider bank accounts.

All providers should log into the Child Care Provider Portal to update availability and staff information. Please follow these instructions for access to the Child Care Provider Portal.

Please see the instructional manual for suggested steps to take now and visit this website for more information.

 

Additional Resources

May 12 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Reminder - Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Next Steps

In preparation for the COVID-19 Payment Program Proposal currently under review by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) reminds all regulated child care providers to take steps to prepare to apply for funds in the event that the proposal is approved. This includes signing up with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to set up a payment account; getting access to the Child Care Provider Portal to manage your program information and to receive funding notices; and updating staff and family information for your program.
 
Regulated providers not yet signed up with FIS should have recently received a letter with instructions to set up an account with FIS to expedite the payment process. This allows FIS to directly deposit payments into child care provider bank accounts.
 
We also want to remind all providers to log into the Child Care Provider Portal to update your availability and staff information. If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, please follow these instructions.
 
Please see the instruction manual for suggested steps to take now. Visit our website for more information.
 
May EBT Card Payment Transfer
On Friday May 8, Wisconsin Shares subsidy fund balances that were available on families’ MyWIChildCare EBT cards were transferred from EBT cards to the corresponding child care provider bank accounts. Providers should see the money in their bank accounts sometime between May 8 and May 11, depending on their bank. A message is also displayed in the Parent Portal.
 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Child Care Help Desk childcare@wisconsin.gov.
 
In the News
When can Wisconsin open? Tracking the Badger Bounce Back Plan
Addy Bink | May 11, 2020 | WeAreGreenBay.com

 

Additional Resources

May 7 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Get Set Up Now to Apply for Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

In preparation for the COVID-19 Payment Program Proposal currently under review by the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) encourages all regulated child care providers to take steps to prepare to apply for funds in the event that the proposal is approved. This includes signing up with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to set up a payment account; getting access to the Child Care Provider Portal to manage your program information and to receive funding notices; and updating staff and family information for your program.

Regulated providers not yet signed up with FIS will soon receive a letter with instructions to set up an account with FIS to expedite the payment process. This allows FIS to directly deposit payments into child care provider bank accounts.

We also encourage all providers to log into the Child Care Provider Portal to update your availability and staff information. If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, please follow these instructions.

Please see this instructional manual for suggested steps to take now. Visit our website for more information.

National Provider Appreciation Day – May 8
In honor of Provider Appreciation Day, we celebrate the critical role early education providers play in our communities. Every day, children enter the homes and programs of individuals who dedicate their lives to providing safety and security, nurturing strong bodies, building healthy brains, and creating meaningful bonds that can last a lifetime. Providers often serve as an extension of a child’s family, a trusted resource for advice, and a necessary support system that families rely on. These supports strengthen the social fabric of our homes, neighborhoods and greater communities.

DCF recognizes providers are the backbone of our economy and the foundation for future economic success. We will continue to work towards our goal of ensuring that all Wisconsin families have equitable access to affordable, high-quality early care and education opportunities that are led by a workforce that is valued and duly compensated. Today and every day, DCF thanks early care and education providers for your dedication to supporting children and families in Wisconsin.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day – May 7
Gov. Evers has designated May 7, 2020, as Children's Mental Health Awareness Day as a way to raise awareness about the struggles children face, and the importance positive mental health has on early childhood development.

You can read more about the Wisconsin Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2020 Proclamation.

Brush Up on Wisconsin Shares Program Integrity Training
A new training video about Wisconsin Shares Program Integrity for Wisconsin child care providers is available online 24/7. Provider Program Integrity ensures that those rules are followed, and it includes prevention, monitoring, and identification of improper payments and fraud of the Wisconsin Shares program.

Visit the Wisconsin Shares Information for Child Care Providers page for more information.

 

Additional Resources

May 5 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

National Teacher Appreciation Day
National Teacher Appreciation Day recognizes the dedicated educators across the country. Teachers play a critical role in educating and shaping our children, the future leaders of Wisconsin. DCF appreciates everything that YOU – our early care teachers/educators – do to ensure Wisconsin’s youngest children learn and thrive in safe and nurturing environments. Please give a shout-out to teachers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TeacherAppreciationDay and by tagging @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.

 

May is Foster Care Month in Wisconsin

With about 7,300 children and youth in foster care throughout Wisconsin, foster families play a critical role in the lives of children who need a temporary home. To highlight their efforts and bring awareness, Gov. Tony Evers has proclaimed May as Foster Care Month in Wisconsin.

While staying safer at home, the department is encouraging communities to show their support for foster and kinship families by putting light blue hearts, ribbons, or other decorations in their windows, doors, or yards during the month of May. By doing so, they will be displaying their gratitude for the selfless work of our foster families. Individuals, businesses, and organizations who decorate their spaces are encouraged to share their photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FosterCareMonth and by tagging @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.

Read the full version of this release or via Adobe pdf file.

 

Additional Resources

 

April 30 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Wisconsin Shares Parent Letter – Continue to Pay Providers Using EBT Card
A letter to families with Wisconsin Shares subsidy funds on their EBT cards for February, March, and April is going out this week. The instructions in the letter request that parents continue to pay their providers during COVID-19, even if their child is not currently attending the center due to the health emergency. The letter is attached to this email. Spanish language parent letter.

The Department of Children and Families is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. If you have a disability and need to access services, receive information in an alternate format, or need information translated to another language, please call the Division of Early Care and Education at 608-422-6002. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or speech disabled can use the free Wisconsin Relay Service (WRS) – 711 to contact the department.

Update Your Provider Portal Information
During these unprecedented times, it is vital that your Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP) information is current. Are you closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you open, but operating at a smaller capacity? Be sure to update your contact information, indicate if you are open, if you care for children with special needs, the number of slots you have available by age range, etc. Need access to the Provider Portal? Visit our CCPP information page for complete access instructions.

In the News

UW-Oshkosh’s Children’s Learning and Care Center continues to support families during COVID-19
April 27, 2020 | Liz Smith | uwosh.edu

Additional Resources

 

April 28 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

COVID-19 Child Care Grant Proposal Submitted for Approval
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) submitted a formal request today to the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) to use $51 million to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The grant proposal submitted by the department breaks the total $51 million allocation into three smaller funds, with each addressing a critical challenge identified by child care providers and legislative leaders.

A full version of this release can be found on DCF's web site and via Adobe pdf file.

When the proposed grant programs are approved, information on the grant application process will be available on the DCF website and shared via this listserv.

Gov. Evers Expands Opportunities for Certain Nonessential Businesses
Gov. Tony Evers announced yesterday another turn of the dial in expanding allowed operations for nonessential businesses. Read the full press release and the Emergency Order #34, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

In the News

Kimberly Childcare Center Back to Full Staff Through PPP Loan | Childcare centers provide a crucial service for other essential workers, but even though those businesses can keep their doors open, it hasn’t been easy. Despite the positive outlook, Cradle to Crayons had to drop from a 22-person staff to eight. But that changed when the business was chosen to receive funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Read the full story.

WEDC Secretary Shares Steps to Protect Small Businesses | WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes offers safety advice for businesses preparing to reopen under Gov. Evers Badger Bounce Back plan. Secretary Hughes says her office is also working on a data collection project to better understand the financial impact of the pandemic on small businesses.

Read the full story.

Additional Resources

 

April 23 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Upcoming and Recorded Coronavirus Webinars
ChildCare Aware of America is offering new and previously recorded webinars about Coronavirus and child care. Learn how states are responding to coronavirus and how you might apply learnings to your program.

Trauma Informed Care Approach Training for Afterschool Programs
The Trauma Informed Care Approach to Afterschool Programs is a virtual training being held on Friday, May 8 and Friday, May 22. This training will be held as a state-wide training, and registrants will complete additional assignments outside of two required virtual sessions (prior to and in between virtual sessions). Registration fee is $15.00 and deadline to register is April 27, 2020. This training provides 15 total hours of continuing education for afterschool staff who play a vital role in identifying a need for trauma related intervention and provide engaging experiences that build positive adaptive skills and social and emotional skills for kids who at the end of their school day may have exhausted their self-regulation capacity. Registration fee is $15.
Register soon because the deadline to register is April 27, 2020
If you have questions, please contact Jennifer Smith at smith.jenifer@marshfieldclinic.org.

In the News
Gov. Evers Announces Wisconsin is Taking Big Steps to Increase COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Additional Resources

 

April 21 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the pandemic to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

CARES Act Funding for Child Care

On Wednesday, April 17, Governor Evers signed the legislature’s COVID relief package into law, becoming 2019 Act 185. This bill contains one specific provision for the Department of Children and Families (DCF), related to the Child Care Block Development (CCDBG) federal CARES Act funds, totaling $51M. The bill provisions place the CCDBG funds into two child welfare block grant appropriations, which requires DCF to submit a 16.54 request to the Joint Committee on Finance in order to access and provide funding to child care providers across the state.

Please note, although some states have been able to provide CARES Act funding directly to child care providers, the process of obtaining approval from the Joint Committee on Finance is a key component in Wisconsin’s process. More information on these funding opportunities will be shared via the Child Care listserv as it becomes available.

Background Check Requirements for New Child Care Facility Workers During Public Health Crisis

During the COVID-19 public health crisis, fingerprint requirements have been temporarily suspended. DCF will still conduct a name-based background check for all new individuals added to a child care facility after March 24, 2020, at no charge to providers. Eligibility for the emergency background check is temporary and will only be valid for the duration of the public health emergency.

Visit the Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP) to add new individuals to your location, initiating the name-based background check. Individuals who would like to provide child care, but are not connected to a facility, can initiate their background check using the iChildCare Portal.

Temporary eligibility will expire at the end of the emergency period, at which time DCF will reinstate the fingerprint requirements. Individuals with temporary eligibility will not be able to continue to work or reside in a DCF-regulated facility until an FBI fingerprint check is initiated. At that time, return to the CCPP or iChildCare websites to view the individual Reference Code(s) and instructions to complete the FBI fingerprint appointment at a Fieldprint location.

For questions about the temporary suspension of fingerprint requirements or the eligibility process, contact the Child Care Background Unit (CBU) by email at DCFPlicBECRCBU@wisconsin.gov or by phone at (608) 422-7400.

Free Webinar Series for Early Childhood Educators

As a part of the Crossnore School & Children’s Home, the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities is hosting a free webinar series for educators (everyone from early childhood through college) focused on trauma informed care.

  • April 28 at 1 pm CT - Self Care and Team Care During Isolation
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 972 1131 1876
  • May 5 at 1 pm CT - Learning to do a Community Meeting 
    Join Zoom Meeting
    Meeting ID: 927 3740 4798

COVID-19 Child Care Listserv Message Archive
DCF is committed to keeping child care programs informed during this health care emergency. This public health crisis continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so DCF has created a place where child care programs can view messages that have been sent on the Child Care Listserv during the emergency. Read Previous Child Care Listserv Messages.

In the News
Gov. Evers Announces Wisconsin is Taking Big Steps to Increase COVID-19 Testing Capacity

Additional Resources

 

April 17 - Additional DECE Update - Extended Safer at Home Order

What the extended Safer at Home order means for child care providers
The extended Safer at Home order, released yesterday by Governor Evers, does not change the previously issued guidance for child care providers. Child care continues to be considered an essential workforce providing a critical need during this time.

Yesterday's order includes an expanded definition of "minimum basic operations employees" which allows additional workforce sectors to work in a limited, safe fashion during this time. Child care providers are still instructed to prioritize essential workforce families (defined below) for care. They should prioritize tier 1 essential workforce families (health care) first, tier 2 essential workforce families next, and families of minimum basic operations employees after that.

This Order is effective from Friday, April 24, 2020, through Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
 
DCF Essential Workforce Definition

  • Tier 1: employees, contractors, and other support staff working in health care;
  • Tier 2: 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 Secretary of the Department of Children and Families.

 

April 16 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Gov. Evers Directs DHS to Extend Wisconsin's Safer at Home Order
Gov. Tony Evers today directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to extend the Safer at Home order from April 24, 2020 to 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. The order implements some new measures to ensure safety and support the progress we've made in containing COVID-19, but also allows certain activities to start up again. The order is available here.

DCF Guidance Order #29 Frequently Asked Questions on Administrative Rule Suspension
The Department of Children and Families posted a memo to provide guidance on frequently asked questions for recent rule changes related to the COVID-19 public health crisis.Read the full memo and view previous guidance orders and other provider-relevant information.

WECA’s COVID-19 Resources
The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) remains committed to supporting young Wisconsin children and the professionals who care for and educate them. To better serve these groups, WECA is keeping an updated list of resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic specific to Wisconsin’s early care and education workforce. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

Child Care Licensing and Certification Permanent Rule Changes
The permanent rules for DCF 13, 202, 250, 251, and 252 went into effect on April 1, 2020. The primary purpose of the rule changes was to ensure that the department’s certification and licensing child care rules comply with the health and safety requirements found in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. The rule also regroups the rules that address the same topics in different places, eliminates duplicative revisions, corrects errors, incorporates state statutory requirements, and clarifies language where needed to ensure proper implementation and administration of the health and safety requirements.

Printed rule books for licensed child care programs will be sent to each licensed location in early summer and commentary manuals will also be updated and available on the department’s website in early summer.

Due to the current COVID-19 public health crisis, the department will not be offering in-person trainings on the new rules at this time. However, we have created certification and licensing PowerPoints addressing the rule revisions will be available on the department’s website.

If you have any questions, please contact your regional licensing office.

Mark Your Calendars: DCF is Hosting Regional Conference Calls for Child Care Providers
Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information. Dates and times can be found below.

  • Southern region: April 17 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southeastern region : April 17 at 2-3 p.m.
  • Northern region: April 20 at 1-2 p.m. (RESCHEDULED from April 14)

New COVID-19 Child Care Listserv Message Archive
DCF is committed to keeping child care programs informed during this health care emergency. This public health crisis continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so DCF has created a place where child care programs can view messages that have been sent on the Child Care Listserv during the emergency.

Read Previous Child Care Listserv Messages.

In the News

Gov. Evers reads to children in video
April 15, 2020 | Stephen Cohn| Channel3000.com

Additional Resources

 

April 14 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Week of the Young Child
It is the Week of the Young Child and DCF is celebrating YOU! Families are lucky to have you supporting their child’s development during the early years. Thank you for providing high-quality care to Wisconsin’s little ones!

Evers Suspends Additional Rules for Child Care Programs
Yesterday, Governor Tony Evers issued Emergency Order #26, suspending administrative rules for DCF to keep child care opportunities available to critical staff while ensuring the safety of agency staff working with those facilities. The order provides DCF with flexibility on several requirements for child care providers operating group, family, and in-home settings, as well as a number of requirements for the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program.

A full version of this release can be found on DCF's website and via Adobe PDF file.

Wisconsin Shares Payments – May 2020
On April 4, 2020, Wisconsin Shares benefit balances that were available on families’ MyWIChildCare EBT cards were transferred from EBT cards to the corresponding child care provider bank accounts. This will again take place for the May 2020 benefit loads. The transfer will take place on or before May 8, 2020. This is being done to ensure that child care providers are paid regardless of children’s attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Mark Your Calendars: DCF is Hosting Regional Conference Calls for Child Care Providers
Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information. Dates and times can be found below.

  • Southeastern region #1*: April 15 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Western region: April 15 at 4-5 p.m.
  • Northeastern region: April 16 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southern region: April 17 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southeastern region #2*: April 17 at 2-3 p.m.
  • Northern region: April 20 at 1-2 p.m. (RESCHEDULED from April 14)

*Due the high number of providers in the Southeastern region, child care providers may participate on either call.

In the News
Gov. Evers issues order making childcare opportunities possible
April 13, 2020 | Brenda Ordonez | WeAreGreenBay.com

How does social distancing work in child care? Here's what the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA is doing.
April 13, 2020 | Amy Schwabe | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Additional Resources

April 9 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Legislative Package Request to Support Child Care
This press release provides a high-level overview of the proposals within the legislative package. While the outcome of these proposals is unknown at this time, it is important you know DCF appreciates the work of all child care providers, teachers and volunteers before, during, and after this pandemic.

Mark Your Calendars: DCF is Hosting Regional Conference Calls for Child Care Providers

  • Southern region: April 9 at 4-5 p.m. (CANCELLED): RESCHEDULED to April 17
  • Northern region: April 14 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southeastern region #1*: April 15 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Western region: April 15 at 4-5 p.m.
  • Northeastern region: April 16 at 1-2 p.m.
  • Southern region: April 17 at 1-2 p.m. (NEW); RESCHEDULED from April 9
  • Southeastern region #2*: April 17 at 2-3 p.m.

 *Due the high number of providers in the Southeastern region, child care providers may participate on either call.
 Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information.
 
Webinar for Child Care Small Business Owners in the Great Lakes/Midwest Region: Register now!
This is a one-hour webinar on Friday, April 10, 2020 at 10 a.m. Please register now to attend.

As developments unfold in response to the spread of COVID-19, many child care small business owners in the Midwest and Great Lakes states have questions about safety, immediate funding for operations, and resources. Join Small Business Majority, Institute for Childhood Preparedness, and Illinois SBDC for a free webinar to discuss the various resources available to early child care providers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Topics include:

  • Health and safety recommendations for early child care providers, their employees, and clients
  • An overview of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
  • Navigating funding options and avoiding predatory lending
  • Updates on federal policy proposals and recommendations to immediately help small businesses

In the News

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans Immediately Available to Child Care Providers
April 3, 2020 | First Five Years Fund

What Grants and Loans Are Available to Family Child Care Providers?
April 6, 2020 | Tom Copeland

Additional Resources

April 7 - Child Care Provider Updates

During these unpredictable times, the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) will send updates every Tuesday and Thursday, throughout the pandemic, to everyone who has subscribed to the DCF Child Care listserv.

Individual educators who are interested in supporting the essential workforce, please complete information for background check
Thank you to those who are willing to provide care for the essential workforce! If you completed the initial survey, you should have received the text message below. Please click on the link and complete the personal information so DCF can run a free, name-based background check.

Text message:
Thank you for your willingness to help care for the children of essential workers during this challenging time. Before matching you with a family or child care facility, DCF needs some additional information from you in order to conduct a name-based background check, at no cost to you. Please to go https://ichildcare.wisconsin.gov/Login/Login?ReturnUrl=%2F for more details and to enter your information. 

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy: March and April 2020 funds deposited
Over this past weekend, DCF completed an automated process for Wisconsin Shares eligible families to complete a benefit transfer of the parents’ unspent March and April 2020 EBT card child care funds and deposited these funds directly in their authorized child care providers’ bank account through an ACH deposit on 4/6/20. 
 
Save the Date: DCF hosting regional conference calls for child care providers
• Southern region: April 9 at 4-5 pm
• Northern region: April 14 at 1-2 pm
• Southeastern region #1: April 15 at 1-2 pm
• Western region: April 15 at 4-5 pm
• Northeastern region: April 16 at 1-2 pm
• Southeastern region #2: April 17 at 2-3 pm
Licensing specialists will send invites to all child care programs with conference call information.
 
Helping child care programs understand and navigate SBA loan options
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is hosting two upcoming webinars that will help center-based and family-based child care programs understand and navigate how they can get financial support to endure the COVID-19 public health crisis. The bulk of the webinar will focus on helping participants understand and navigate through the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan options. There will be a discussion on how this intersects with unemployment insurance. This webinar will to help attendees understand how the different payment options work, which ones are best for them, and what precise steps are needed to apply.
 
Register by clicking on the webinar below and filling out the registration page. Please note that the content for each webinar is the same but they are being offered in English and Spanish:
Register here for the webinar in English: Thursday, April 9 from 3:30-4:30 pm CT
Regístrese aquí para el seminario web en español: Friday, April 10 from 3:30-4:30 pm CT
 
In the News
Evers announces new partnership for COVID-19 tests, new site to find child care for essential workers
March 30, 2020| Sarah Thomsen

Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans Immediately Available to Child Care Providers
April 3, 2020 | First Five Years Fund

What Grants and Loans Are Available to Family Child Care Providers?
April 6, 2020 | Tom Copeland
 
Additional Resources

*Please note that these web pages are updated frequently, so please check back often.

April 1 - New and Updated Information on Wisconsin Shares and Rule Flexibility

The department posted a Wisconsin Shares FAQ that provides updated information regarding Wisconsin Shares payments, authorizations, and administrative rules, as well as an update to the FAQ on other rule flexibility. Please visit the DCF COVID-19 Child Care web page for up-to-date information and resources.

March 30 - Child Care Taskforce and New Resources

Providing child care to the essential workforce is critical to flattening the curve of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. To meet this need, Governor Evers created the Child Care for Essential Workers Taskforce. Led by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the taskforce is working with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) and Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) to connect essential workforce families in need of child care with locally available child care resources.

DCF is excited to launch two new tools to help connect essential workforce families to local, safe child care. Health care workers and essential employees are now able to submit a request for care through the department’s updated Child Care Finder or proactively view up-to-date availability across the state using the department’s new child care map.

Please see the attached resources for more information regarding the Child Care for Essential Workers Taskforce and relevant information for parents. More information for providers, essential workers, and families can be found on the DCF COVID-19 Child Care web page.

March 30 - Surveys Closed - Update Your Provider Portal Information

During the past two weeks, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) sent out several child care provider surveys. Those surveys are now closed.

Essential Workers Still Need Child Care
We still have a many essential workers who are looking for child care. If you are a child care provider or educator who is willing to serve the families of essential workers, please update your information in the Child Care Provider Portal.

If you do not have access to the Provider Portal, please read the instructions on how to gain access on the Child Care Provider Portal Information page.

Provider availability information, coupled with incoming requests from essential workforce families, will be matched with a newly launched Placement Map which tracks available care by county. Staff from WECA and SFTA will be contacting you to match essential workforce families with your available slots.

Please continue to monitor the DCF COVID-19 Child Care web page for important information and updates.
 

March 27 - Child Care Provider Call: Audio and Summary Available

The audio recording and summary from yesterday’s Child Care Provider Call are available on the Child Care Information for Providers and Educators web page. Please continue to monitor this web page for updated resources.

March 25 - DCF Provider Call with Governor on 3/26 @ 1 p.m.

Child care providers are encouraged to join Governor Evers, Secretary Amundson, and Erin Arango-Escalante from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) on a conference call tomorrow, March 26, from 1-2 p.m. to discuss:

  • The Safer at Home emergency order #12 and implications for child care providers;
  • Department of Health Services emergency order 6, DCF orders 11 and 16;
  • Recently released COVID-19 information and best practices; and
  • Next steps for child care providers.

Conference call number: (line now closed)
Participant code: (code now closed)

Participants are encouraged to have a computer available during this call to review pertinent web pages and resources on the DCF website.
 

March 24 - Important Guidance on Safer at Home Order

Thank you again for your patience and flexibility. We recognize this is an incredibly destabilizing time for all Wisconsinites, but especially the early care and education community.

As promised earlier, we want to provide information for child care providers as it relates to Governor Evers’ Safer at Home order. The guidance can also be found on DCF's COVID-19 Guidance page. Additionally, I want to reminder you about the critical updates to the Provider Portal which will allow DCF to connect open providers with essential workforce families. Please take a few minutes today to update your information in the Provider Portal.

We know we are asking you to do the impossible – to continue serving families in an ever-changing public health crisis and to continue to do so currently with no additional resources. We recognize this situation and hear the concerns you have shared with the Department. We are actively working with the legislature to seek additional funding and with FEMA to secure critical resources.

Thank you for all you do for the children and families of Wisconsin. The department and state appreciate your service and commitment through this crisis.
 

March 24 - Urgent Updates to Provider Portal - Assisting Essential Workforce Families

Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility during the COVID-19 crisis. We will be releasing additional guidance as it relates to the Governor's Safer at Home order, but wanted to separately share information on updates to the Provider Portal.

Background
Access to child care for the essential workforce was deemed an essential objective by the state's emergency management planning team. DCF is the agency lead on the task force to respond to this objective. Our success is dependent on your ability to serve the families of essential workers - and we are committed to supporting and helping you.

To date, DCF has surveyed health care provider parents, child care providers, and educators. From the results of those surveys, DCF has partnered with Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&R) and Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) to help connect the healthcare providers who have needs with the services of child care providers (regulated and in-home options). Today, March 24, DCF is launching updates to our existing applications as well as the development of a new system to more quickly connect the essential workforce with care.

Provider Portal Updates
For DCF, WECA, and SFTA to most effectively match providers with essential workforce families, DCF has updated the Provider Portal to collect additional information. This information includes information like the number of spots available and the type of care you provide. Please update your information in Provider Portal as soon as possible and in an ongoing basis to notify us if you have spots open or if you are closing during COVID-19. Provider availability information, coupled with incoming requests from essential workforce families, will be matched with a newly launched Placement Map which tracks available care by county. Staff from WECA and SFTA will be contacting you to match essential workforce families with your available slots.

Help
User guides are available on the Agency Worker web page under the COVID-19 Emergency Child Care Authorization Manuals. Questions can be directed to DCFDECEBOPIT@wisconsin.gov.
 

March 23 - Updates on Governor Ever's Safer at Home

Many of you have heard Governor Evers’ recently announced he plans to sign a “Safer at Home” order. The order will request all non-essential businesses to close and all non-essential workers to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All child care programs serving health providers and essential workers are requested to stay open. You are providing a critical service in allowing essential workers to keep our communities safe and healthy.

We also want to make you aware that No Kid Hungry is offering real time funding and assistance for early child care providers that are making sure kids have access to the meals they need as schools close due to COVID-19. No Kid Hungry is providing emergency grants to support these local efforts like home delivered meals, grab and go meals programs, school and community pantries, backpack programs, and other steps to help reach children and families who lose access to meals. We’re providing $1 million in emergency grants on a rolling basis. This is the first phase of an ongoing multi-million dollar response. Please visit the linked COVID-19 support inquiry form to learn more.

Finally, if you need immediate supplies and resources, please contact 211 Wisconsin. 211 Wisconsin can help connect you with resources in your local community. If you still cannot find what you need, please contact DCF at dcfmbcovid19@wisconsin.gov and provide your contact information and a general idea of your needs.

We are incredibly appreciative of everything you are doing to serve families at this time. More guidance will be coming soon, so thank you in advance for your patience.
 

March 19 - Meeting Wisconsin's Child Care and School-Age Needs

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) are collaborating with The Registry Inc., Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA), Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA), and the Wisconsin Hospitals Association to ensure that the child care and school-age needs of Wisconsin's essential personnel are met during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are an educator who is able to serve, we’re seeking your help in providing care to Wisconsin’s essential personnel. Please fill out the below survey with your information and availability so we can connect you with local service needs. Thank you.

By filling out this survey, you may be considered to assist in providing child care for individuals who provide essential services in Wisconsin: (Survey is closed - please log in to the Wisconsin iChildCare Portal to submit your information.)
 

March 18 - Frequently Asked Questions on Emergency Order #6

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) produced a frequently asked questions document based on feedback we received from providers. The document is linked above and can also be found on the DCF COVID-19 web page. Please stay tuned for future updates and information. Please contact your licensor with specific questions.

March 18 - Governor's Order to Scale Down Child Care Footprint

The previous email linked to our guidance from 3/15/2020. The update information can be found at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/files/press/2020/dcf-order-2-covid-19.pdf. The link is also correct in the new text below.

Today, the Governor issued an order through the Department of Health Services that addresses child care. Specifically, it limits the size of operations to 10 or fewer staff at the same time, and 50 or fewer children at the same time. We understand the landscape of child care has been changing rapidly and want to reiterate how critical your work is. We also know you are being asked to make difficult decisions daily with regard to continuing to be open and are experience staff fluctuations linked to many aspects of changes happening in our state. DCF has updated its guidance to reflect today's order to support providers staying open.

Wisconsin needs child care programs and early childhood educators now more than ever before. Your critical skills and expertise can help to ensure care is available for the families of health care providers, first responders, and vital public services so that they can continue to provide resources to your fellow Wisconsinites. We want to support you and these families. To that end, we are asking your help in surveying the landscape by filling out one or both of the surveys below if you haven't already done so. Organization staff across the state will be reaching out soon to confirm your status.

The state is working on a legislative package that will provide the necessary funding for child care workers and providers serving essential services families. We will need your help to mobilize in support of this package to get passage in the legislature. Additionally, DCF is working with the national guard to respond to the supply needs of child care programs willing to help with this critical work. We appreciate your time and consideration in working with us to hold up the critical workforce in our state.
 

March 18 - WFCCA Conference Postponed

Out of concern for all involved, the Wisconsin Family Child Care Association (WFCCA) has decided to postpone the 2020 Wisconsin Family Child Care Association Conference. The disappointment in having to postpone the event is far overshadowed by the intention to protect all those planning to attend.

WFCCA is currently working on plans to reschedule the conference for September 10-12, 2020, to be held at the Chula Vista in Wisconsin Dells. All updates will also be posted on their website www.wisconsinfamilychildcare.org.

WFCCA is offering a transfer of paid fees to the September dates, or a full refund without penalty, whichever you choose. Please contact WFCCA by April 20 regarding your choice to receive a refund, or to transfer paid fees to the September dates. If you have hotel reservations, you can transfer them to September at no extra charge or please cancel them at your earliest convenience.

If you have any questions about your transfer or a refund, please contact Sarah Fleming at sfleming2@new.rr.com or 920.851.3384. If you have any other questions, please contact Tara Ebben at tikesntotsfcc@aol.com or 920.585.1778.

Wishing you and your community safety and good health in this difficult time!

March 17 - Access to Online Early Childhood Resources

This message is being sent on behalf of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA).

In response to COVID-19 and the closing of many child care programs and the cancellation of in-person trainings, the Wisconsin Shared Education Resources (WISER) is offering free access to online tools and resources to assist you with professional development during this national crisis. This Free WISER Platform Resource is available to all Wisconsin regulated child care programs on behalf of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association.

For more information, visit www.wiserece.org and register today.

March 17 - COVID-19 Updates for Early Care and Education Providers

We want to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for each of you as leaders and partners as we navigate this difficult and uncertain time. We know that some of you have chosen to close for the weeks that schools are closed. Others are staying open to meet the needs of families. And others of you may be doing a variation of things. In all cases, we understand and support your decision. You are doing what you have always done - protecting our most vulnerable children and families.

If your program is closing or in danger of closing because of lack of available supplies or staff during this emergency, please fill out this survey on the Department of Children and Families (DCF) website at (survey form is now closed) to indicate what essential supplies you would need in order to remain open.

As schools close due to COVID-19, we are working to find local early care and education (ECE) options for health care and emergency workers. Please respond to this survey which asks about the status of your ECE program. It’s critical that we collect this information as soon as possible. Please complete this survey by 3:00pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020. If you miss that time, still complete the survey as we will be collecting this information on an on-going basis. If your status changes, please contact your licensing specialist and local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R).
(Survey is now closed.)

Several licensing rules have also been suspended for the duration of this emergency, including capacity. For more information on these waivers, please see our COVID-19 web page.

Do not hesitate to email DCFMBCOVID19@wisconsin.gov or contact your local CCR&R with any questions. We are all in this together. As always, our top priority is the health and safety of our children, our early care and education providers, and the community.
 

March 15 - Rule Flexibility Granted for Several Child Care Rules

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was granted waivers today to several rules detailed below to give providers and families additional flexibility in seeking child care. A brief description of some of the more come complex rule waivers follows this table.

Temporary rule changes table for COVD-19

On March 13, 2020 Governor Evers signed Executive Order #72 which declares a public health emergency in Wisconsin. Governor Evers signed an order today using Executive Order #72 to grant DCF authority to waive the rules detailed above. The rules will be waived during the time of crisis and will go back into effect upon its conclusion. The rule flexibility and guidance issued earlier today can both be found on DCF's COVID-19 web page.

DCF recognizes that child care providers may receive new requests to provide child care services for additional school age children due to school closures when families must continue to report to their work activity. Therefore, several child care regulations will be waived in order to address the emergency needs of child care program capacity to serve children and to recognize the needs of child care programming to remain available.

In order to support child care programs that remain open during this time the Department has reviewed Wisconsin Shares Administrative Rules and has requested waivers to provide families with Emergency Wisconsin Shares eligibility determination and child care authorizations to expedite payment directly to child care programs for a portion of the cost of child care. Families that do not currently receive Wisconsin Shares can request an authorization during the emergency period by contacting the local county/tribal Wisconsin Shares agency. Parents can select any regulated child care program.

Eligible Wisconsin Shares recipients will have their authorizations continued to support continuity of care and ensure payment continues to regulated child care programming, regardless of child attendance or absence.

Please continue to check with your county health departments for any local issues that may be in place. This continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so watch for additional updates to this guidance and future communications on the child care listserv.

March 15 - Guidance for Health and Safety of Child Care Providers

The department is committed to helping keep child care programs open during this time of crisis. Child care is a vital resource for many of our first responders who are actively assisting our friends, family, and neighbors. We understand and appreciate the challenges many of you face and value your continued efforts to serve the children and families of Wisconsin.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has worked with the Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to develop guidance for keeping the children in your care, your staff, and yourself safe. The guidance can be found on the DCF and DHS websites. Please continue to check with your county health departments for any local issues that may be in place. This continues to be a fluid and fast moving situation, so watch for additional updates to this guidance and future communications on the child care listserv.

March 13 - Administration Orders School Closures

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm to issue a statewide closure of all public and private schools for pupil instruction and extracurricular activities as part of the state’s efforts to respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. The mandated closure of schools will begin on Wednesday, March 18, with an anticipated reopening on April 6. The date of reopening is subject to change and districts may choose to close earlier if they elect to do so.


The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is working in collaboration other state agencies to provide updated information to all child care providers and county/tribal agencies. In order to support child care providers, families and communities, DCF is reviewing regulatory requirements and WI Shares eligibility, authorization, and payment practices. Due to the closure of all Wisconsin schools, there may be an increase in the need for child care, especially for school-age children. Child care providers will need to evaluate their ability to provide care to all children. Please visit DCF's website for update-to-date information and direct all questions to DCFMBCOVID19@wisconsin.gov. For more information and available resources on COVID-19, please visit the DHS website.
 

March 5 - Coronavirus Guidance for Early Care and Education Programs

As you are likely aware, there has been a recent outbreak of a new strain of human coronavirus, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The main way COVID-19 is spread to others is when the infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza is spread. It can also be spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it, and that individual then touches their mouth, face, or eyes.

Although one case of COVID-19 has been detected in Wisconsin, the risk to the general public is low. Individuals should remain vigilant by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick. Influenza and other respiratory viruses are very common in Wisconsin at this time of year.


How this virus may affect your child care program
DHS has declared that COVID-19 is a reportable condition under Wis. Stat. ch. 252 and DHS 145. Therefore, any confirmed case of COVID-19 in your center must be reported to the department within 24 hours after the center is notified of the diagnosis. The center shall also notify the parents of all enrolled children and the local health department. See DCF 202.08(4)(k), 250.04(3)(m), 251.04(3)(m), 251.04(4)(a)1., 252.41(2)(m), and 252.41(5)(b).


In preparation for possible additional cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, programs are encouraged to review center policies regarding illnesses for staff and children in care. Now would also be a good time to remind parents of these policies.


For more information on COVID-19, please see the following: