Wisconsin to exceed federal child care subsidy recommendation for first time in state history
Many Wisconsin Shares families will see an increase in their subsidy amount this month thanks to a historic rate increase from 35% to 80% of the estimated cost of child care. The increase, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, will impact roughly 98% of Wisconsin Shares families, with the average increase around $190 per month.
“Having access to affordable, high-quality child care is critical to helping parents remain employed, and our state’s economy strong,” said Emilie Amundson, Department of Children and Families (DCF) secretary. “This rate increase will help both the families who rely on this program and the early care and education providers who serve them.”
The Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program, which receives most of its funding from federal sources, supports eligible families by funding a portion of the cost of child care while the parents are working or participating in an approved activity.
This rate increase is one of many efforts Gov. Tony Evers and DCF Secretary Amundson, with the support of the Joint Committee on Finance and other stakeholders, have recently undertaken to increase access to affordable, high-quality child care and stabilize the child care industry. Since the start of the pandemic, the state has:
• Paid $255 million to child care providers through the Child Care Counts payment program, with an additional $330 million being invested through the program over the next 18 months.
• Provided $850,000 in Community Innovation Grants to eight organizations across the state.
• Invested $20 million in the Technology Access and Workforce Retention and Recognition Stipend programs.
• Funded numerous assessments, studies, and data projects focused on child care access, affordability, quality, and the workforce through the federal Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five (PDG B-5)
Additionally, DCF is set to launch Project Growth, a $20 million initiative aimed at growing innovative partnerships between the early care and education and business communities and expanding innovative, high-quality early care and education programs, later this month.
These transformational investments have helped significantly reduce the number of permanent and temporary closures of licensed child care providers, and have provided a strong foundation in long-term access to affordable, high-quality child care in Wisconsin.
To learn more about Wisconsin Shares and other child care initiatives, visit DCF’s website or follow @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.