State of Wisconsin
Department of Children and Families
Child Care Subsidy Program
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families proposes to repeal ss. DCF 102.02 (11) (Note) and (12) (Note), 102.10 (4), 201.02 (10) and (Note), (15) (Note), (17) (Note), and (18), 201.036 (3), (4) (Note), 201.039 (7) (a) 6. (intro.) and b., and 201.04 (2g); to renumber and amend s. DCF 201.039 (4) and (7) (a) 6. a. and 201.08 (1); to amend ss. DCF 102.01, 102.02 (11) and (12), 102.10 (4), 201.03 (title), 201.034 (2) (c), 201.036 (2), (4) (title), (4), 201.038 (8) (title), 201.039 (2) (c), (5) (a), (7) (title), (10) (a), (11) (a) (title), 1. (intro.), 2. (intro.) and a., and (b), (13) (a) (intro.), 1. a., b., c., and 2. (intro.), 201.08 (3) (a) 2., 4., 5., and 6.; to repeal and recreate ss. DCF 102.10 (title), 201.02 (17), 201.039 (1), (4) (title), and (7) (a) 5., and 201.08 (2) and (Note); and to create ss. DCF 102.10 (5), 201.02 (1d), (1g), (1r), (7m) and (Note), (9g), (9r), (11), (15g), (16m), (17g) and (Note), (17s), (21), and (21m), 201.036 (2e), (2m), (2s), and (5), 201.037, 201.039 (2g), (2r), (4) (b), (10m), 201.04 (2) (ag) and (ar), 201.08 (1) (b), (3) (a) 7., and (4), relating to the child care subsidy program.
Analysis Prepared by the Department of Children and Families
Related statutes and rules: DCF 202, 250, 251, and 252
Explanation of Agency Authority
The department administers the child care subsidy program under s. 49.155, Stats. Section 49.155 (1) (bm), Stats., as created by 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, provides that “liquid assets” does not include any financial resources designated by the department by rule as excluded for the purpose of the limit on the total liquid assets of a family under s. 49.155 (1m) (cm), Stats. Section 49.155 (1m) (d), Stats., provides that an individual may receive a subsidy if the individual satisfies other eligibility criteria established by the department by rule. Section 49.155 (2m), Stats., as created by 2017 Wisconsin Act 269, provides that the department may promulgate a rule that establishes a hardship exemption to the limits on the value of a family’s home and vehicles under s. 49.155 (1m) (cr), Stats.. Section 49.155 (5), Stats., provides that an individual receiving a subsidy under this section is liable for the difference, if any, between the cost of the child care provided by the child care provider or providers selected by the individual and the subsidy amount. The department shall specify minimum or estimated copayment amounts based on family size, income level, and other factors, a schedule of which will be available in electronic form on the department’s Internet site and in paper form. Section 49.155 (6g) (a) 5., Stats., provides that the department shall take into consideration child learning and development and shall promote continuity of care when authorizing hours of child care. The department is not required to limit authorized hours based on the individual’s schedule of activities or the number of hours the individual spends in those activities. States are required to comply with 45 CFR Part 98 as a condition of receiving Child Care Development Funds. Section 227.11 (2) (a), Stats., expressly confers rule-making authority on each agency to promulgate rules interpreting the provisions of any statute enforced or administered by the agency if the agency considers it necessary to effectuate the purpose of the statute.
Summary of the Rule
The rules make changes related to new federal regulations for the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) under 45 CFR Part 98. CCDF is a major funding source for the child care subsidy program. The primary focus of the applicable CCDF regulations is supporting continuity of care for children and financial stability for families.
In general, 12-month eligibility and authorization
In general, a child care administrative agency determines the number of hours that a parent needs child care at or following the parent’s eligibility determination and 12 months later at or following the parent’s eligibility redetermination. Based on the assessment, the agency issues an authorization to the parent that approves payment under the subsidy program for a specific child, a specific child care provider, and a specific number of hours for the following 12 months.
Authorizations for less than 12 months for certain expected changes
A child care administrative agency may issue an authorization that ends on the date that a parent’s employability plan will expire if the parent is participating in the Wisconsin Works program, the date that a parent’s employment plan will expire if the parent is participating in the Food Stamp Employment and Training program, or the end of a parent’s school term.
When an authorization based on a new assessment is required during the 12-month eligibility period
During a parent’s 12-month eligibility period, a child care administrative agency is required to conduct a new assessment of the parent’s need for child care and issue a new authorization based on the assessment at all of the following times:
- The beginning of a school year for a school-age child.
- The end of a parent’s 24-month education time limit.
- When a second parent or a teen parent of the child moves into the household.
- When the parent requests an authorization for subsidized child care more than one calendar month after the parent’s previous authorization ended.
- When the parent changes child care providers.
Other changes and continuity of care
The rules require that a parent report various changes that may affect the parent’s eligibility or need for child care. A child care administrative agency may assess the number of hours that a parent needs child care following a parent’s report of a change that may affect the number of hours that the parent needs child care but is not on the list of times when a new assessment and authorization are required. A child care administrative agency may also assess the number of hours that a parent needs child care following the end of an authorization written for less than 12 months.
If the agency determines that the parent needs fewer hours of child care than the number of hours in the parent’s most recent authorization, the agency shall allow the parent to continue with the most recent authorization or issue a new authorization for up to the same number of hours.
If a parent is taking a temporary break of less than 3 months while remaining employed or enrolled in an approved activity or a parent is no longer participating in any approved activity and is beginning the 3-month eligibility period following the permanent loss of an approved activity under s. 49.155 (1m) (a) (intro.), Stats., the agency shall allow the parent to continue under the most recent authorization or offer the parent an authorization for up to the same number of hours as the parent’s previous authorization without an assessment of the parent’s need for child care.
During a parent’s12-month eligibility period, the copayment amount may only be increased for the following reasons:
- The increased copayment amount corresponds to an increase in the number of hours authorized for a child care subsidy to the parent.