(MADISON) – Today, Governor Tony Evers issued Emergency Order #26, suspending administrative rules for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to keep child care opportunities available to critical staff while ensuring the safety of agency staff working with those facilities.
“Wisconsin’s early care educators continue to work hard to provide families of critical workers options for high-quality, safe child care during our public health emergency,” Gov. Evers said. “Child care is very important to our immediate response, and it will remain a key priority as we continue to move forward. So, I want to thank these educators for all they have done and will do in the future for the families of Wisconsin.”
Emergency Order #26 provides DCF with flexibility on several requirements for child care providers operating group, family, and in-home settings, as well as a number of requirements for the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program. The changes for providers allow early care programs to remain in operation, care for additional school-aged children, and extend hours of operation to offer overnight care for families of critical workers. The Wisconsin Shares changes allow for those who qualify for the subsidy to remain in the program during the public health emergency. Additionally, due to the heightened risk of exposure presented by licensing visits, the order allows the department to suspend licensing visits and extend timelines for others.
“We appreciate the support and leadership the governor continues to provide the early care and education community,” said DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson. “This is an incredibly challenging time for many educators as they balance the needs of the families they serve and their own families, while also worrying about the future of their small business. These changes are a small way we can recognize those challenges while we work on a more comprehensive solution through additional funding and policy changes,” concluded Amundson.
Governor Evers previously waived rules for DCF programs under Emergency Orders #3 and #18. Those orders waived various requirements governing out of home care, child care, and child support programs.