Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program

child care counts web banner

Información en español

This program is now closed. Applications are no longer being accepted.

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

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

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

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

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) recently supported the demand for child care access for essential workforce families by launching payment programs to support child care providers.

Application Period 1 - May 18 - May 29, 2020 - Application Period Closed

Application Period 2 - June 8 - June 19, 2020 - Application Period Closed

Application Period 3 - June 29 - July 10, 2020 - Application Period Closed
Payment letters for all application periods are available in the Child Care Provider Portal.


Payment Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families

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

Payment Program 2: Incentive Pay

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

Payment Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

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

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

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

IMPORTANT NOTICE 

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


Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Information - Programs are now closed

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

Who can apply

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

Eligibility

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

Requirements

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

Payment Program 2 - Incentive Pay - Program Closed

Who can apply

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

Eligibility

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

Requirements

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

Payment Program 3 - Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs - Program Closed

Who can apply

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

Eligibility

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

Requirements 

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

How to Apply for Payments - Program Closed

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

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

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

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

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

Need Help?

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

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

Subscribe to the Child Care Listserv to stay up-to-date with news and information impacting providers.

Email address:
(required) Your name:
 

Information for Providers

Information for Families

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Program Closed

General Questions

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

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

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 3). You cannot withdraw your application after the period has closed, and may have to return funds after they are disbursed. Email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov to discuss the details of your situation.

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

Data on provider payments can be accessed online.

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

You will enter the total number of children enrolled and add each child on the Add Child page. On the Add Child page, you will see a checkbox to indicate if they enrolled during the funding period. Check this button if they attended at all during the funding period. If they did not attend during that time, leave the box unchecked.

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 funding period.
  • Payment Program 2 is for incentive pay for those who provided care during the funding period.
  • Payment Program 3 is for providers that were temporarily closed during the funding 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 funding should apply for Payment Programs 1 and 2; child care programs that were closed during the funding period should apply for Payment Program 3.

Example scenarios:

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

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

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

Funding Period When Can I Apply?
03/12/2020  04/11/2020  05/18/2020  05/29/2020
04/12/2020  05/11/2020  06/08/2020  06/19/2020
05/12/2020  05/26/2020  06/29/2020  07/10/2020


   
What are allowable expenses to reimburse families for?

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

What are the ‘other allowable expenses?’

The funds can be spent on anything that can be shown to support the child care program operations. Some examples include: personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, arts and crafts supplies, educational software, books, and facility repairs and updates for health and safety measures.

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.

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

How do local orders impact the 30-day re-opening time line?

Program 3 is intended to support the reopening of programs within 30 days. Providers must agree to the terms and conditions that they plan to reopen within 30 days of receiving funding or within 30 days of the ending of a local/county order, whichever is later. If a program is unable to reopen within 30 days, they must send an email to dcfmbcovid19@wisconsin.gov.

Application Questions - Program Closed

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

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

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.

What should I enter for the Capacity during COVID-19 emergency question?
You should enter your licensed capacity during the COVID-19 emergency, not your enrollment number during that time. In most cases, your capacity will not exceed 50 as outlined by Emergency Order #6 (unless for example your facility accommodated physical separation of space).

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

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

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

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

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

See the Emergency Order #12 - Safer at Home Order for more information about Tier 1 and Tier 2 Essential Workers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the section for Program 1, they ask what percentage do they plan to use for staff compensation? What if they don’t need to use any for staff salary because they got PPP to cover it? There isn’t an option that says 0%. The lowest is 1%-24%. Or, must they use at least 1% for payroll?

Providers should determine what percentage, minimally 1%, of funding can be earmarked to compensate staff for providing care to children of essential workforce. Compensation may include, but is not limited to bonus/incentive pay, additional paid time or professional development days, or other supports for staff.

I’m not sure how to answer the question “did your facility serve children from tribal communities.”

Select “yes” if either the child and/or one or more of the biological parents is affiliated with a tribe or tribal community. This can be regardless of whether they reside on tribal land or not.

Financial Questions

Why did I not receive a payment up to the maximum amount during Payment Period 1? -or- My payment amount does not match up according to the calculations. Why not?

There are some factors that could cause your payment amount to differ such as proration for open or closed periods during the funding period, staff/child part-time or full time schedules, and ineligibility of staff for incomplete background check.

How was my payment amount determined?

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

Are the payments taxable?
All payment programs are taxable income. For further questions on how these funds impact your tax situation, please consult with a CPA or tax attorney.

When will I receive my payment?

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

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

No, the funds can be used for expenses, staff compensation, family tuition reimbursement, and other costs to support your program outside of the funding period.

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

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

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

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

I am already registered with FIS, but I am locked out of my account. Can I still receive my payment through FIS?

Yes – as long as your bank account information has not changed, you will still receive your payment via automatic deposit to your bank account through FIS. You can check the status of your payment in the DCF provider portal.

I am having trouble with my FIS registration or my account, and I cannot get through to FIS customer service over the phone.

Please refer to ebtEDGE Provider Portal Instructions for additional help with your FIS account. FIS is currently experiencing long wait times. If you need to contact FIS, you may want to try calling during an off-peak time. If you have tried all the steps and still cannot get access to ebtEDGE, email DCFDECECOVID19CCPayments@wisconsin.gov for additional assistance.

How Payments are Determined

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

The revised calculations differ for each payment period. Due to available funding, the base amounts have been reduced for Payment Periods 2 and 3. Payment Periods 2 and 3 also include prioritization criteria, resulting in increased amounts to programs serving children in high-need populations.

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.

Payment Period 1 (covering 3/12/2020 to 4/11/2020)

Payment Period 1: Applied Calculations
Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families

Family Base
$5,000
Base amount for family child care providers
Group Base
$8,000
Base amount for group centers
Full Time
$300
Per child amount for full-time children
Part-Time
$175
Per child amount for part-time children
Disability
$50
Per child amount for each child with a disability
Off-hours
$50
Per child amount when providers serve during non-standard hours
Cap
$50,000
Program maximum amount allowed

 

Payment Period 1: Applied Calculations
Program 2: Incentive Pay

Staff Hours
$5
Per staff hour worked (capped at 40 max hours per staff per week

 

Payment Period 1: Applied Calculations
Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

Full Time Staff
$1,000
Per full time staff returning to work
Part-Time Staff $700 Per part-time staff returning to work
Cap $10,000 Program maximum amount allowed

 

The total amount awarded was prorated to exclude the number of weekdays the provider was closed during the funding period. For example, if the funding period is 22 business days and the provider was open for 18 business days, their amount awarded considered the 18 business days they were open.

 

Payment Period 2 (covering 4/12/2020 to 5/11/2020)
New metrics for Payment Period 2

Payment Period 2: Applied Calculations
Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families

Family Base
$2,500
Base amount for family child care providers
Group Base
$4,000
Base amount for group centers
Full Time
$150
Per child amount for full-time children that attended
Part-Time
$87.50
Per child amount for part-time children that attended
Disability
$25
Per child amount for each child with a disability
Off-hours
$25
Per child amount when providers serve during non-standard hours
Non-English Language
$250

If any attending child speaks a non-English language

Homeless $250 If any attending child is experiencing homelessness
Tribe $250 If any attending child has a Tribal affiliation
Rural $250 If any attending child is living in a rural area
Cap $25,000 Program amount allowed

 

Payment Period 2: Applied Calculations
Program 2: Incentive Pay

Staff Hours
$2.50
Per staff hour worked (capped at 40 max hours per staff per week)

 

Payment Period 2: Applied Calculations
Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

Full Time Staff
$500
Per full time staff returning to work
Part-Time Staff $350 Per part-time staff returning to work
Cap $5,000 Program maximum amount allowed

 

 

Payment Period 3 (covering 5/12/2020 to 5/26/2020)
New metrics for Payment Period 3

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.

Payment Period 3: Applied Calculations
Program 1: Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families

Family Base
$900
Base amount for family child care providers
Group Base
$1,650
Base amount for group centers
Full Time
$50
Per child amount for full-time children that attended
Part-Time
$30
Per child amount for part-time children that attended
Disability
$25
Per child amount for each child with a disability
Off-hours
$10
Per child amount when providers serve during non-standard hours
Non-English Language
$70

If any attending child speaks a non-English language

Homeless $70 If any attending child is experiencing homelessness
Tribe $70 If any attending child has a Tribal affiliation
Rural $70 If any attending child is living in a rural area
Cap $20,000 Program amount allowed

 

Payment Period 3: Applied Calculations
Program 2: Incentive Pay

Staff Hours
$2.50
Per staff hour worked (capped at 40 max hours per staff per week)

 

Payment Period 3: Applied Calculations
Program 3: Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

Full Time Staff
$500
Per full time staff returning to work
Part-Time Staff $350 Per part-time staff returning to work
Cap $2,500 Program maximum amount allowed

 

The total amount awarded was prorated to exclude the number of weekdays the provider was closed during the funding period. For example, if the funding period is 21 business days and the provider was open for 18 business days, their amount awarded considered the 18 business days they were open.

Terms and Conditions