Secretary Amundson visits Mosinee to discuss daycare funding

Dept. of Children and Families Secretary Emilie Amundson discussed funding for child care in Mosinee Thursday
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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MOSINEE, Wis. (WSAW) - Even though childcare teachers don’t always get recognition, they’re still out there advocating for their industry which has been in crisis.

In less than seven months, pandemic funding for Wisconsin childcare providers will end, causing a $350 million void and putting the jobs of people who work in childcare on the line. Daycare teachers’ hours may be shortened, or they may have to increase tuition rates because of this. In the worst-case scenario, some centers may have to completely close down.

“Thinking about that being taken away from us it makes me emotional because it’s really sad. It’s not something that I want to see go away for me, my family, or any of the families we’ve served in the community,” said Angie Richter, Director of Little Scholars Childcare and Preschool.

Without additional funding, they can’t provide the proper care and staffing that kids need. The industry doesn’t pay well. Teachers starting salary is around 13 dollars and some places don’t offer benefits.

“We need this program to continue and we need the legislature to act on that program,” said Emilie Amundson, Secretary of the Department of Children and Families.

Amundson shared Thursday that even though the child care counts funding is set to end, the conversation is very much alive. She recognizes that the industry needs to be stabilized for the long term.

“Over the last year, your voices were heard. And when I saw the Governor the last time he was like, dang those childcare people... they were out. He was so impressed,” said Amundson.

With no replacement funding, one center said they will have to raise tuition rates by fifty percent. While it’s a tough time for many centers, having conversations like this helps childcare teachers feel less alone.

“It gives you that room to breathe. Like, okay I know I’m not the only one going through this. Having that support system in there, especially the secretary here today. It helps to ease that stress level, and for me my anxiety,” said Richter.

Secretary Amundson shared there’s a lot of support from different parties who say something has to be done. Whether that’s short-term funding or a continuation of the child care counts program in some way, it’s all still up in the air.