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Free child care and daycare assistance in Wisconsin.

Child care assistance is offered for low income families or single parents that are working, searching for employment or attending training in Wisconsin. Lower income parents can benefit from this free day care subsidy program. The main government benefit in known as Wisconsin Shares, and find more details on it below.

A voucher, or subsidized government day care, can help low income families. It will allow the parent to free up money to pay other bills and will help ensure their child is properly cared for as they undertake employment, job training or educational activities.

Government assistance to pay for child care

The subsidies are provided as part of the Wisconsin Shares Program. Government assistance is provided in an effort to help families or their guardians pay for their child care costs and offer families free daycare. The state provides financial assistance to low-income parents who are working or those that are unemployed and that are preparing to enter (or renter) the workforce. Single moms are dads in Wisconsin can also get free or low cost day care.

There are a number of restrictions and limits to the program and it is limited in scope and funding, but it can be a resource to turn to. Assistance is only offered if your child is under the age of 13, or possibly up to 19 if they are disabled/special needs. In addition, the guardian (who can be a parent, relative, a foster parent, or another person acting in place of a parent) must be actively participating in one of several activities. They need to be participating in a W-2 employment program, attending high school (if they are a teen parent), holding an unsubsidized work job, enrolled in the Wisconsin Food Stamp Employment and Training work search or they need to be actively involved in employment skills training. There can be some other acceptable roles as well and that listing can change over time to.

Income limits are in place too. Wisconsin will factor in your family size, so if you have more children your income can be slightly higher and you may still qualify for the child care subsidy from the government. Foster parents or relatives who are applying need to receive a Kinship Care Benefit for the child. They will also need to have a court order for their placement.




If after applying, if the parent is found to be approved for the free Wisconsin child care financial assistance program, they will need to be enrolled in a regulated care setting environment. So this is a certified family child care home, an approved center, a program run by a public school, or maybe a licensed day care home. So if you want help paying these expenses be sure that the person or company providing the care is approved and certified.

Wisconsin will only subsidize your costs. In rare cases a low-income family may be given free child care from the state. But in general, co-payments are still due from participants. The family's participation will be determined based on a sliding scale. This will factor in your family's size, total household income, type of care enrolled in, and also the number of children in a government subsidized care program.

There will be both minimum and maximum thresholds in place, provided you select an approved day care provider. If you select a center that is more expensive then the recipient will be responsible for paying the difference between the subsidy amount as well as the the provider price.

Additional child care benefit programs in Wisconsin

There are several other related assistance programs available in Wisconsin. Whether cheap child care, or help in locating a provider, the state tries to assist. They include the following.

Public Search is offered by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. This can help people across the state find approved, high quality and regulated child care providers. It therefore allows parents to search for safe, quality child care. Many providers that operate in the state will be rated by a program known as YoungStar. This allows parents to see how they rate on several research-based quality indicators. This tool is very effective in improving the quality of child care for Wisconsin children.





Additional tools and resources are available for your use. Some of those other programs to improve child care quality include a statewide referral network, proactive licensing and monitoring as well as scholarship and bonus program.

How to apply for free daycare or financial aid for child care in Wisconsin

To apply or learn more about free or low cost daycare, call or stop by your county, W-2 agency, or tribal agency. Appointments are required, so you will need to call to establish one. Or the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families can be reached at 608-267-3905.


By Jon McNamara

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