published : 2023-10-19

Wisconsin Governor Discovers $170M in Federal Funds to Sustain COVID-era Childcare Subsidies

FEMA Money Secures Program for Another Year and a Half

A photo of Governor Tony Evers advocating for the continuation of the Child Care Counts program, taken with a Nikon D850 camera.

In a surprising turn of events, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has uncovered a staggering $170 million in federal funds to prolong the much-needed childcare subsidy program, which was implemented during the pandemic.

Despite facing opposition from Republican legislators, Governor Evers has vowed to keep the Child Care Counts program running through June 2025, thanks to an allocation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pandemic response operations.

Expressing his disappointment in the Republican party's lack of support, Governor Evers labeled their refusal to extend the program as 'unconscionable'.

He called upon Republicans to prioritize the welfare of Wisconsin's children and families by joining forces to do what is right for the state's workforce and future.

The Child Care Counts program, initiated in 2020, has been pivotal in assisting childcare providers across the country by offering financial aid to retain staff and cover essential expenses such as curriculum, utilities, and rent.

An image of children engaged in educational activities at a childcare center in Wisconsin, captured with a Canon EOS R5 camera.

In Wisconsin alone, the program has disbursed nearly $600 million to approximately 5,000 childcare providers between March 2020 and March 2023, as reported by the state's nonprofit Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

As the program's expiration date looms in January, concerns have been raised regarding the possible consequences of losing the subsidies.

Childcare providers may be forced to close their doors, depriving families of crucial services, especially in rural areas, and potentially affecting early education services as a whole.

Governor Evers has made numerous attempts to convince Republicans to utilize Wisconsin's substantial $7 billion surplus to sustain the Child Care Counts program in the state.

His budget proposal included a provision to allocate $300 million of state funds to the program over the next two years.

A snapshot of a rural childcare facility providing essential services to families, photographed with a Sony A7 III camera.

However, the Republican lawmakers stripped the provision from the budget, resulting in a stalemate between the governor and his opposition.

In a determined effort to prompt action, Governor Evers even called a special legislative session last month, yet the Republicans have remained steadfast in their refusal to cooperate with the governor's proposals.

The impact of Wisconsin's political deadlock on the Child Care Counts program has sparked concern and uncertainty among its supporters.

The prospect of losing this crucial lifeline has created a sense of urgency, capturing the attention of citizens and policymakers alike.

As the situation develops, all eyes are now on Governor Evers and the Republican legislators to see if a resolution can be reached to safeguard Wisconsin's childcare system and secure a brighter future for its families.