Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

 

 

Supportive Services

young family

There are many supportive services available to low-income parents, and low-income individuals without children, across Wisconsin. Please click the categories below for a brief overview of the services available and links to find more information.

Cash Assistance

Adoption Assistance

If you are interesting in adopting a child with special needs, you may be eligible for adoption assistance to cover some of the costs of the adoption, the costs of caring for a child's special care needs, and medical costs not covered by your family's insurance.

Burial Services

If someone close to you has recently died, you could receive burial assistance to help cover final costs.

Caretaker Supplement

If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you may also be eligible for Caretaker Supplement payments.

Child Support

If you do not live with the other parent of your child, the Bureau of Child Support will work with you to help you get child support payments. If you do not live with your child and need help making your Child Support payments, please visit the Making Child Support Payments page.

Emergency Assistance

Emergency Assistance is a one-time payment you can apply for every 12 months if you are faced with an emergency due to fire, flood, natural disaster, energy crisis, homelessness or impending homelessness. You can apply for Emergency Assistance at your local Wisconsin Works (W-2) Agency.

Kinship Care and Subsidized Guardianship

If you are caring for your relative's child, you may be eligible for Kinship Care or Subsidized Guardianship.

Refugee Services

Refugee Cash Assistance and Refugee Medical Assistance are available if you or someone in your family is a new refugee who is not eligible for W-2, Supplemental Security Income, or a Match Grant.

Tax Credits

You may be eligible for Tax Credits if you have worked in the past few years. Please visit the Tax Credits page to find out more about available Tax Credits.

Wisconsin Works (W-2)

The Wisconsin Works (W-2) program can help you gain the skills you need to get a job and provide for your family. If you have a disability, a worker at a W-2 agency can help you apply for disability-related benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Lastly, if you are a pregnant woman, W-2 can provide cash assistance and case management services. A worker at the W-2 Agency determines if you are eligible for W-2. To apply for W-2, please visit the Find a W-2 Agency page.

Childhood Care and Education

Boys and Girls Clubs

If you have a child between the ages of 6 - 18, Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Wisconsin teach youth about citizenship and leadership development, the arts, health and life skills, educational and career development, sports, fitness, and recreation. They also provide social and cultural activities.

Child Development (Birth to 3 Program)

If you or your child's physician feel that your child may have a developmental delay, your child may be eligible for the Birth to 3 Program. Birth to 3 can help connect you to services and resources that will help you understand your child's development and help your child grow and learn to their fullest potential.

Foster Youth Higher Education and Training

If you are living in foster care, or if you recently left the foster care system, you could be eligible for scholarships to help you pay for higher education. To learn more about these scholarships, please visit the Youth Services Paying for College page.

Head Start

If you are low-income and your child is younger than 5 years old, your child may be eligible to attend Head Start or Early Head Start. Children who attend Head Start participate in educational activities, receive free medical and dental care, and are served healthy meals and snacks.

Home Visiting

If you are pregnant or have recently had a baby, you could receive help caring for your baby through the Family Foundations Home Visiting program. A worker will come to your home to help you learn how to care for your baby safely and teach you activities to help your baby develop.

School Programs

The Department of Public Instruction offers many resources to parents to ensure that children are healthy and safe while attending school. Your child may be eligible to receive free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch while attending school. To find out more, please visit the Department of Public Instructions’ website, or contact your local school district to find out more.

Wisconsin Shares

If you are low-income and working or participating in W-2 activities, you may be eligible for Wisconsin Shares Child Care. If you are working, you may be required to pay a co-payment based on your income.

Employment, Education, and Training

Education Grants

If you are a low-income individual interested in attending college, you may be eligible for a grants from the Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board or the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Program to help cover the costs of attending college.

FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET)

If you are receiving FoodShare, you may be eligible for FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET). FSET helps FoodShare members build their job skills and find jobs through education and training services.

Job Access Loans

Job Access Loans are short-term, interest free loans that can help you cover immediate financial expenses that are related to obtaining or maintaining employment.

Job Centers

Job Centers are open to any and all job seekers. Job Centers offer many services, including access to training programs, testing, and assessment of individual job seeker skills and interests, job referrals, job search assistance, and job opportunities. Job Centers also have information about jobs, careers, and the area labor market. You can also apply to participate in education and training to help you get a job or a better job at the Job Center through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Skills Enhancement Program

The Skills Enhancement Program assists working, low-income individuals to obtain the skills they need to compete for living wage jobs. The program assists with tuition, books, and training-related transportation and child care costs that participants could not otherwise afford. Check if your local Community Action Agency offers the Skills Enhancement Program.

Transportation Assistance

Transportation Assistance ensures that parents can get their children to day care and themselves to work. W-2 agencies can assist you by arranging van pools, setting up volunteer driver programs, accessing loan resources or providing Job Access Loans for personal vehicle purchase and repair, encouraging employer-based transportation programs, expanding transit hours and service areas, and hiring transportation coordinators. If you are a W-2 participant, your W-2 Agency may also offer workshops on how to purchase used cars, maintain your car, apply for loans, or shop for automobile insurance. The W-2 Agency can also offer assistance in locating driver’s education classes and learning about driver’s licensing processes.You can apply for Transportation Assistance at your local W-2 Agency.

Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

If you have a disability, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is available to assist you with obtaining, maintaining, or improving employment.

Vocational Education and Training

The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) offers many short-term certificates (6 months or less), 1 to 2 year Technical Degrees or Diplomas, and 2 year Associate Degrees. WTCS can help you earn a certificate or diploma, as well as help you begin a career pathway. A career pathway can help you get better jobs within your chosen field. You can learn more about career pathways and grants to help you pay for school at the WTCS website.

Wisconsin Works (W-2)

The Wisconsin Works (W-2) program can help you gain the skills you need to get a job and provide for your family. If you have a disability, a worker at a W-2 agency can help you apply for disability-related benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Lastly, if you are a pregnant woman, W-2 can provide cash assistance and case management services. A worker at the W-2 Agency determines if you are eligible for W-2.To apply for W-2, please visit the Find a W-2 Agency page.

Medical, Food, and Housing

Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Services

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse or drug abuse, there may be programs available to help.

Community Action Agencies

Community Action Agencies provide resources for low-income families at the community level. Community Action Agencies can assist you with finding affordable housing, obtaining skills to help you get a job, and ensuring you have access to food.

Emergency Housing

Emergency Housing may be available if you are homeless, or in danger of becoming homeless, and need somewhere immediate to stay. To find housing near you, please click the link or dial 2-1-1. Dialing 2-1-1 from any phone will connect you with a live person who can find housing and resources near you.

Energy Assistance

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) may be available if you are unable to pay your heating or electric bill, if your furnace or boiler stops working, or if you have no heat. For more information on LIHEAP/WHEAP, please click the links or call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947).

Family Planning

Family Planning Only Services can provide you with family planning-related services and supplies to prevent unplanned pregnancies and support reproductive health.

FoodShare (SNAP)

If you are low-income and do not have money for food, FoodShare (SNAP), can help ensure you and your family have access to food.

Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus

If you are low-income and need health insurance, you may be eligible for Health Care Coverage through Medicaid and BadgerCare Plus.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

You may be eligible for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program if you are a low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, or new mother; or are an infant up to age one; or are a child up to age five. WIC helps provide women, infants, and children with nutritious foods and nutrition education.

Victim Services

Victim Services Information

If you or someone you know is a victim of child abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, or elder abuse, please visit the Report Abuse page to find out how to report abuse and to find resources to help victims of abuse.