March 10, 2021

Contact: Sen. Cowles: (608) 266-0484 / Rep. Kerkman: (888) 529-0061

Audits Review Child Care Counts Program and the Credentialing of Certain Health Care Providers

MADISON– Today, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released a review (report 21-4) of the Child Care Counts Program, which is administered by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and a review (report 21-5) of the Credentialing of Certain Health Care Providers by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). LAB conducted these reviews under provisions of 2019 Wisconsin Act 185. 

Through the Child Care Counts Program, DCF awarded $51.0 million in funding to 2,720 child care providers, which used the funds to cover certain costs related to the public health emergency that were incurred from March 12, 2020, through May 26, 2020. In report 21-4, LAB requested that 100 child care providers submit documentation of how they spent $7.0 million in program funds they were awarded. LAB provided DCF with the names of 20 providers that submitted no documentation and 4 providers that submitted incomplete documentation. LAB recommended that DCF require these 24 providers to submit complete documentation of how they spent program funds.

DCF subsequently awarded a total of $80.0 million to child care providers through two supplemental rounds of funding. LAB recommended that DCF take into account all information submitted by providers when it conducts a review of the amounts it awarded through a supplemental round of funding.

“With the massive amounts of CARES Act dollars came federal requirements for those expenditures,” said Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem Lakes). “It’s important to have the Legislative Audit Bureau review COVID-19 related expenditures and adherence to emergency rule changes to make sure dollars were spent within guidelines and that emergency rule changes that were made to help meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic worked as intended. Both pieces are important for any analysis of the state’s response and to inform future decision-making.”

From March 27, 2020, through June 10, 2020, DSPS issued credentials to 1,720 health care providers formerly credentialed in Wisconsin or credentialed in other states that allowed these providers to temporarily practice without Wisconsin credentials through June 10, 2020, under provisions of Act 185 and Emergency Order 16. In report 21-5, LAB found that facilities did not consistently notify DSPS in a timely manner that providers had begun practicing in Wisconsin. LAB recommended DSPS carefully review notification forms for timely and accurate information.

“I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the individuals who answered the call to work and aid our health care facilities during this time of need in the COVID-19 Pandemic. They are truly heroes. As this pandemic has progressed, going on a year now, I would like to follow-up with DSPS on rectifying any outstanding information or inaccuracies that have occurred since the period of this audit,” said Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay). 

Copies of report 21-4 and 21-5 may be obtained from LAB's website at or by calling (608) 266-2818. Report concerns related to state government activities, including at UW System and UW institutions, to LAB by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-FRAUD-17.