$30 million in CARES ACT funding available for Wisconsin child care providers

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is accepting applications through Friday, September 18.
Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 5:41 PM CDT
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ALLOUEZ, Wis. (WBAY) - Child care providers across the state work to keep their doors open in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) is trying to support those providers through these difficult times.

“We offer daily care services for anyone from six weeks to eleven years old,” said Robert Pries, owner and administrator of You Are My Sunshine.

The pandemic quickly took a toll on the Allouez daycare center by slashing enrollment to less than 50-percent of capacity in the first week and creating a $20,000 revenue loss in the first month.

“We weren’t certain of the future of the daycare,” said Pries.

The doors stayed open to serve local families, especially those with essential workers.

You Are My Sunshine is one of more than 2,700 child care providers across the state to receive funding through the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program last spring. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Family delivered nearly $51 million dollars from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“This was really a recognition that we needed to do something, or there was a real fear that the child care industry was just going to shut their doors,” said Emilie Anderson, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Secretary.

“We were given funds that we were absolutely able to use and help out our employees here,” said Pries. “We were able to give them hazard pay, some people who were staying home and still receiving pay.”

The $36,860 in aid the daycare received between March and May was also used to help families.

“Those people who are essential workers that even during these difficult times still pay for their children, these funds allowed us to give right back to those families in credit on their accounts,” said Pries.

Pries tells Action 2 News he plans to apply for the new Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Supplementary Payment Program.

“What we saw is child care providers started to open back up again, but the folks who typically would come and bring their children for care, they weren’t necessarily coming back at the same speed child care providers were remaining open,” said Amundson.

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families started accepting applications for the second round of financial assistance on Wednesday, September 9. The program gives providers yet another opportunity to take advantage of CARES Act dollars totaling $30 million.

Amundson says hundreds of people have already applied. Applications will be accepted until Friday, September 18, and they require approximately 10 minutes worth of information from providers.

Amundson tells Action 2 News the goal is to have all $30 million distributed by September 30.

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