JFC Approves Plan to Support Childcare Providers around the State
State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance released the following statement:
“Like so many industries across Wisconsin, childcare centers are feeling the brunt of COVID-19”, said Rep. Nygren. “As more families work from home, the demand for child care has dramatically dropped. As a result, child care providers around the state are closing their doors, with the hope that someday they will reopen. Other providers face increased costs as they safely care for essential workers’ children.”
According to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), there were more than 4,500 child care providers in February of 2020. In April, approximately 38% of providers (1,756) are closed across the state. 54% or 1,206 licensed group child care providers are closed. 17% or 266 licensed family providers are closed across the state. 18% or 84 of certified family providers are closed. Most of the 235 licensed camp providers and centers located at public schools have closed.
To help child care providers, DCF submitted a plan for allocating over $51 million to child care providers to increase pay for workers and re-open closed child care centers. This funding was approved by Congress and President Trump as a part of the CARES Act.
DCF plans to create three grant programs with the funding. One program will provide hazard pay to child care providers to compensate for the increased risk of contracting COVID-19. DCF intends to provide grants to increase provider pay by up to $5 per hour. The second grant program will provide funds to offset the cost of child care for workers that are deemed essential. This funding may also help address increased costs for providers as a result of staying open during the pandemic. Finally, DCF plans to create a grant program to help closed child care centers re-open. DCF estimates that up to 40% of child care centers may have closed as a result of COVID-19.
“Like the Department of Public Instruction plan that was recently submitted and approved by the Joint Committee on Finance, the DCF plan included a large allocation for administrative costs that would not flow directly to child care providers. As a result of discussions with the committee, DCF agreed to reduce this amount by $2 million to allow more funding to be directly provided to providers.”
“It is our goal that this funding will help ensure that child care providers are still there when this is all over and people begin to go back to work on a regular basis,” said Rep. Nygren. “I would like to extend my appreciation to DCF for working with us on this issue. Finally, I would like to thank the countless childcare providers around the state for the essential and necessary work they do.”