What is Partner Up!

The Partner Up! grant program is a state investment from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) in easing the burden of child care on families and economies. Addressing child care needs has an impact on labor shortages and therefore is a net gain for both employers and employees. In order to make child care support possible, Partner Up! creates partnerships between child care providers and businesses and awards grant funding to partially cover the true costs of Child Care, so that employers can offer this as a benefit to their employees.

Benefits of Partner Up!
  • Builds community-based, localized partnerships to address child care needs

  • Provides affordable child care for Wisconsin families

  • Secures child care for fixed contracts, helping Wisconsin workers remain at work

  • Empowers child care programs to succeed by funding the true cost of quality care

Statewide Effects of Partner Up!
  • Increases wages & support for child care workers and facilities

  • Adds an incentive in the recruitment and retention of workers for Wisconsin employers in a tight labor market

  • Strengthens community partnerships and addresses child care barriers for Wisconsin families

How Partner Up! benefits Business Owners and Child Care Providers: 

How Partner Up! benefits Parents and Families:

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The Partner Up! program was implemented by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) under Project Growth in 2022. The initial launch invested $21 million to award across 200 businesses in Wisconsin, allowing those businesses to access quality, regulated child cares as a benefit for their employees. Partner Up! is administered by Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) in alignment with the state’s Birth to Five Strategic Plan.

Based on a survey of nearly 1,000 employers across every Wisconsin county and a range of industries, 73% of respondents agreed that providing employees with resources to support their child care needs should be considered as a strategy for addressing labor shortages. The extensive barriers to providing child care as a benefit were heavily cited, although providing government incentives increased respondents likelihood that their company could launch or expand child care offerings to their staffs.