State grants available for employers to offer child care

Employers are now able to apply for the latest cohort of the Partner Up! grants from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). Over $9 million in funding is available to employers who are interested in offering paid child care as an employee benefit, according to a press release issued Wednesday.

“We saw an exponential amount of interest in the first two cohorts of this program and are pleased to be able to offer another round of grants, thanks to the Quality Jobs, Equity, Strategy and Training (QUEST) grant funding we received from the Department of Workforce Development,” DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson said in a statement. “This additional funding will allow more businesses to take the leap and offer attractive benefits that not only strengthen their business, but also their employees’ families and the child care providers within their communities.”

Grant applications and program information, including eligibility and changes in program details, are available on DCF’s Partner Up! webpage and open until May 12, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. CST. Applications are open to employers who want to receive a Partner Up! grant for the first time and those who would like to renew their current contracts.

As of March 2023, 220 businesses have enrolled in Partner Up!, securing slots for over 1,200 children across Wisconsin, according to the release.

Governor Tony Evers has included an additional $22 million in his 2023 – 25 Biennial Budget to continue the Partner Up! grant program and grow other partnerships between businesses and the early care and education community.