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Child Care Subsidy for Parents

If you would like to apply for Wisconsin Shares, or are a parent receiving Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy, click on the headings below to learn more about the program.

Temporary Wisconsin Shares Subsidy Increase for Children Ages 0-3

Información en español.

If you have a child(ren) aged 0-3 receiving Wisconsin Shares subsidy, you will receive a temporary 21 percent increase in funding starting March 1, 2021. This temporary increase is effective until June 30, 2021.

The extra funds will automatically appear on your MyWIChildCare EBT card. You do not need to do anything in order to receive the extra funds. If you receive the temporary increase, you should pay the full monthly amount to your provider that is loaded to your MyWIChildCare EBT card. If this full amount does not cover your entire parent share, you must pay any remaining parent share. 

If you have questions about the amount of funding on your EBT card, please contact your local agency. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Parent FAQs - Wisconsin Shares Temporary Subsidy Increase for Children Ages 0-3

If you have child(ren) aged 0-3 receiving Wisconsin Shares subsidy, you will receive a temporary 21 percent increase in funding starting March 1, 2021. This temporary increase is effective until June 30, 2021. Read through the Parent FAQs to learn more.

Why is this only for ages 0-3?

This temporary subsidy increase is designed to provide additional support to families and programs serving young children. Infant and toddler care is much more expensive for families to afford, and for programs to provide. The high costs associated with caring for infants and toddlers is due to staff-to-child ratios.

When does the temporary subsidy increase start?

The temporary subsidy increases will start with your March 2021 subsidy, and applies to March, April, May, and June subsidies. The funds will automatically be added to your MyWIChildCare EBT Card. You will see the temporary increase separate from your monthly subsidy amount on your Parent Notice.

What happens after June 2021?

Wisconsin Shares subsidy payments will be calculated the same way they were before the temporary increase.

Do I need to do anything to get the increased subsidy amount?

No, you do not need to do anything. The increased payment amount will automatically be added to your MyWIChildCare EBT card.

What happens if my child turns 4 years old between March 2021 and June 2021?

You will stop receiving the temporary increase the month following your child’s fourth birthday.

How do I check the balance on my EBT card?

You can view the balance on your EBT card by logging into the MyWIChildCare Parent Portal and clicking on My Account. You can also check your balance by calling 1-877-201-7601 to use the FIS automated phone system or by visiting the FIS website at ebtEDGE.com. The additional funds will show separately from your monthly subsidy amount.

Can I use these funds to pay my out-of-pocket cost for the month?

Yes, you can use these additional funds to reduce the amount you need to pay out-of-pocket.

Can I use the extra funds to pay a past due balance?

Yes, you can use the extra funds to pay past due balances.

What am I supposed to do with any extra funds above my provider’s usual price?

For March 2021 through June 2021, you should pay the full monthly amount that is issued to your MyWIChildCare EBT card to your provider unless your child did not attend the provider at all during the month the funds were issued.

Can I use my remaining balance to pay ahead so that I have a credit on my account with my provider?

No, you should not use subsidy funds to pay ahead.

Does my child(ren) have to be attending or just enrolled to pay the additional funds to my provider?

Your child needs to be attending at least once during the month to use the additional funds.

Reminder: You must report within 10 calendar days if your child has not attended their authorized child care provider for 20 consecutive calendar days.

My child(ren) will only be attending a few days this month. Should I still pay the provider the full monthly amount?

For March 2021 through June 2021, you should pay the full monthly amount if your child attends at least once during the month.

If your child did not attend the child care provider at all during the month, you should not pay the provider for that month. If your child care needs have changed, you should contact your local agency to have the authorization corrected and the funds removed from the card.

Reminder: You must report within 10 calendar days if your child has not attended their authorized child care provider for 20 consecutive calendar days.

What if I have more than one child care provider? Should I split the extra money between them?

The additional amount will be added for each authorization that your child has. If you have multiple child care providers, additional funds will be loaded for each provider.

What happens if I don’t pay my provider the full amount and there are funds left on my card at the end of the month?

If you have funds left on your card at the end of the month and your child attended at least part of the month, the department will remove any funds remaining for that month from your card and pay them directly to your provider. This will only occur for the current month’s subsidy and will not include funds remaining from past months.

You should continue to use your EBT card to pay your provider as you usually do because extra funds will only be automatically paid to the provider if another payment was made during the month. If no payment was made, the funds will stay on the card.

For March 2021 through June 2021, you should pay the full monthly amount that is issued to your EBT card to your provider unless your child did not attend the provider at all during the month the funds were issued.

 

Applying for the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program

There are multiple ways to apply for the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program. You may find the different ways by going to the How to Apply page. The How to Apply page gives you information on how to apply for the program and provides a step-by-step guide to the application process, becoming eligible, and how to be successful in the program.

Parents Residing in Milwaukee County

You can find Milwaukee-specific information on the Milwaukee Early Care Administration Parent Resources page.

Finding a child care provider

YoungStar is Wisconsin’s child care Quality Rating and Improvement System. YoungStar offers services that help child care providers create safe and nurturing places for children to grow. Making healthy child care choices can set the stage for your child’s lifelong success. However, choosing child care isn’t easy. YoungStar evaluates thousands of child care programs all over Wisconsin, to help you find a program that is right for your family. Visit the Child Care Finder page to search for the one that is right for you. Consider asking your child care provider the following questions:

  • What is my total cost for child care?
  • How often am I billed - weekly, biweekly, or monthly?
  • What date do I need to pay my bill?
  • Are receipts available when I make a payment?
  • May I review your payment agreement?
  • Would you like to be paid by phone, online, or in person?
  • What's your policy for absences?
  • What is your policy for children who are sick?
  • What are your policies on child behavior?

How to be Successful in the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program

Participating in your Child Care Needs Assessment
After you have applied and have become eligible, you will participate in an assessment of your child care needs. This assessment determines the number of hours, the amount of subsidy funds, and the number of hours the program will help to fund. Be sure to complete your needs assessment with your worker within 30 calendar days of applying.

If you are already in the program and are near your annual renewal date, you will have to complete another assessment of your child care need following a completed renewal.

To learn more about your child care needs assessment, speak with a local income maintenance agency or tribal agency worker.

Reporting Changes

After becoming eligible for Wisconsin Shares, it is important to notify your local income maintenance agency within 10 calendar days after changes occur, or you might receive too much – or not enough – subsidy funds. You must pay subsidy funds back if you receive too much. The changes that need to be reported include, but are not limited to:

  • Change in income (yours or someone in your assistance group)
  • A change of residence address or mailing address
  • A change in household members
  • A change in marital status
  • A change in a relationship with a child in the household (i.e., adoption or paternity establishment)
  • A change in your child’s shared placement schedule
  • A change in approved activity (schedule, paycheck, or loss of employment)
  • A change in your school schedule (if you are using the Wisconsin Shares program for child care while you are in school)
  • An increase in child support to more than $1,250/month
  • A change in your child care needs (increase in hours, change in commute time)

Avoid Overpayments

Overpayments occur when you have been given more subsidy funds than you were eligible for. If you have been given too much you will receive a notice of overpayment. The notice of overpayment will tell you:

  • The total overpayment amount
  • The period of time the overpayment occurred
  • The situation that caused the overpayment

You will also receive an overpayment calculation worksheet further detailing how the overpayment amount was calculated.

If you report any changes within 10 calendar days that the change occurs, your chances of an overpayment will be reduced. Always pay attention to the amount of subsidy you receive and the hours of child care that you need. It is important to always look at your Authorization Notice to see if anything is incorrect and contact your local income maintenance or tribal agency as soon as possible.

Child Support Cooperation

Parents participating in Wisconsin Shares will be referred for child support services for their biological or adopted children.

Parents must cooperate with the child support agency in establishing legal paternity for their child(ren) and in collecting child support from any absent parent.

See additional information regarding child support.

The Wisconsin Shares and YoungStar programs are monitored to make sure subsidy funds are properly issued to families and child care providers. By accepting Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy, you understand that the program is continuously monitored for accuracy in eligibility and authorization determinations.

Read the Wisconsin Shares Rights and Responsibilities brochure.

Written Payment Agreement

The provider(s) that you choose is responsible for keeping a written payment agreement.

The payment agreement includes the following information:

  • The provider’s monthly or weekly child care price
  • Days and hours of operation
  • Deposit policy
  • Any discounts or scholarships that are available
  • Payment schedule
  • Payment dispute policy
  • Provider’s anticipated closure dates and policy for payments during closures
  • Payment expectations for the child’s anticipated/unanticipated absences
  • Procedures for ending a child’s enrollment

MyWIChildCare EBT Card

After applying and receiving an authorization to your selected child care provider, your MyWIChildCare card will be mailed to you. The money available on the card is specific to your child care hours and care given at your authorized child care provider.

Instructions for activating your card and setting up your personal identification number (PIN) will also be found in the same envelope as your card. To activate the card, call the Fidelity National Information Service (FIS) customer service line (1-877-201-7601), or visit the ebtEdge website to create an account. The EBT card will be used for future authorizations. You will not need to get a new card for a new authorization.

Keep your personal information safe by remembering these important MyWIChildCare EBT Card tips:

  • Treat your card like a debit card. Never share your MyWIChildCare card, account number, or PIN with your child care provider or anyone else.
  • Keep your card in a safe place.
  • Do not write your PIN on your card.
  • Select a PIN that is difficult to guess.
  • Never share a photo, or copy of your card, account number, or PIN.
  • Email the Department of Children and Families at DCFMBCHILDCAREFRAUD@wisconsin.gov if someone asks for or takes your card or account information

Watch the Using Your MyWIChildCare EBT Card training video (also in Spanish) for more information. 

You can also find information about the MyWiChildCare EBT card on the What Parents Need to Know About MyWIChildCare fact sheet.

Remember: You are the only authorized person who can use this card.

Paying your Child Care Provider

Your MyWIChildCare EBT card can only be used to make payments to your approved and authorized provider. The funds are only to be used for the hours of care provided for your child or children. Providers must clearly state the total cost of care in your payment agreement or other documents your child care provider gives to you. You are responsible for paying your child care provider for any child care costs that are not paid by Wisconsin Shares subsidy.

To learn about how subsidy funds and out-of-pocket costs are determined, please go to the Calculating your Out-of-Pocket Cost by Using the Maximum Rates Chart.

Foster Parents, Kinship Care Relatives and Interim Caretakers

Wisconsin Shares helps eligible families with the cost of quality child care while parents, including foster parents and kinship caregivers work, go to school and work, or engage in a job training activity.

Please visit the Wisconsin Shares Foster Parent page to learn more.

Parent Portal

The MyWIChildCare Parent Portal is an online system available to parents receiving Wisconsin Shares to help them manage their child care subsidy needs. The Parent Portal is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is mobile-friendly.

You can use the Parent Portal to:

  • View your child care authorizations
  • Request a new authorization, or make changes to a current one
  • Check the balance on your MyWIChildCare EBT card and track your payments
  • Sign up to receive a text message on your cell phone when you have a new message in the Parent Portal from your worker
  • Track all requests entered in the Parent Portal using the Track My Requests button

Read more about the Parent Portal on the Parent Portal Fact Sheet or watch the MyWiChildCare Parent Portal training video.

Parent Appeal Rights

If you disagree with any decision about eligibility, your authorization, or overpayments, you can request a fair hearing. A fair hearing gives you the chance to explain why you think there has been a wrong decision about your benefits. At the hearing, a hearing officer will hear from you and your agency to decide if the decision about your benefits was right or wrong. You can bring a friend, family member, or attorney with you to the hearing if you would like.

You can request a hearing using a letter or a Request for Fair Hearing form. To learn more about what information should be in the letter or to print the Request for Fair Hearing form, visit the Department of Administration’s Requesting a Hearing page. You can also ask your agency for a copy of the form. Your request for a fair hearing review must be submitted within the time frame written on your Notice of Eligibility or your Child Care “CC” Client Overpayment Notice.

If you will need a language translator, sign language interpreter, or other accommodation for a disability during the hearing, please include that information in your written request.

Fax your signed letter or the form to 608-264-9885, or mail your signed letter or the form to:

Division of Hearings and Appeals
P.O. Box 7875
Madison, WI 53707-7875

Intentional Program Violation (IPV)

An intentional program violation may result if you intentionally:

  • Do not report all of your income or changes to your income
  • Do not report income of the other caretaker/parent in the home
  • Do not report all household members
  • Do not accurately report placement of the authorized child(ren)
  • Do not participate in an approved activity or stop participating in an approved activity and do not report this change
  • Do not report changes to the hours of child care needed
  • Ask your child care provider for cash or other goods/services (besides child care) in exchange for payment

If you commit an IPV, you will be suspended from the program.

  • First violation – suspended from Wisconsin Shares Program for 6 months
  • Second violation – suspended from the Wisconsin Shares Program for 12 months
  • Third violation – suspended from the Wisconsin Shares Program permanently

Additional Child Care Resources

Frequently Asked Questions