Supports for Families
Remember the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Now we have to build our own networks of parenting support. The programs and resources below are available to help Wisconsin parents and families.
Visit our Choosing the Right Child Care guidance for information to help you get started choosing a type of child care and recognizing high-quality practices.
We strongly recommend you start your child care search with your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R). Your CCR&R will conduct a personalized search for local providers that have spaces available and meet your needs, including location, care type, hours, special needs care, and more.
The Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program supports families by funding a portion of the cost of child care while parents are working or participating in another approved activity. Interested parents must apply to Wisconsin Shares and meet all eligibility requirements, including income and activity conditions.
Meet CCR&R Referral Specialists who are only a phone call away from supporting you in your child care search.
Family Resource Centers are organizations that offer free or low-cost services that support families, as well as personalized referrals to other agencies or programs in the community that could help meet the family’s needs. What is an FRC?
FRCs offer a wide range of services, especially for parents/primary caregivers and children aged prenatal through early childhood. Each FRC offers different programming, so we recommend you contact the FRCs in your area to ask what each provides. In Wisconsin, FRCs can provide any combination of these core services, and more:
- Referrals to other community programs, public benefits, transportation assistance, and more
- Parent education courses, workshops, or support groups
- Child play groups, drop-in programs, or respite care
- Home Visits for families (What are Home Visits?)
- A warm line for parents who need to talk or vent
- Supervised visitations or safe-exchange programs
- Diaper banks or other essential parenting supplies
- Car seat safety checks
- Advocating in the local community on behalf of parents
Parent Cafés offer a small group setting where parents can come together to learn and share authentic conversations about the challenges they face in a safe environment. The Cafés guide parents through the Strengthening Families Protective Factors, which encourage real-world ways for every family to focus on their strengths and build resiliency. Parent Cafés are an excellent way to build a community while learning to proactively respond to challenging situations.
Contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency or Family Resource Center to see where cafés are happening near you!
Home Visiting programs provide regular in-home visits from early childhood professionals to support parents and children. The focus of the Home Visits can include a wide range of subjects, including prenatal care, child health and wellbeing, school preparedness, child behavior, familial trauma, and more. Wisconsin offers five models of Home Visiting programs to support different family situations and needs.
Home Visiting models have been proven to improve maternal and child health, child development, school readiness, and positive parenting, and decrease child maltreatment. They are an effective and convenient resource for parents looking for support.