ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



Beginning in 1996 Wisconsin initiated a strict work test program in Milwaukee County for public assistance, which was designed to engage the AFDC population, including mothers with very young children, in employment or work-related activities. The initiative required substantial day care capacity building in the City of Milwaukee and made use of record levels of federal and state appropriations for child care subsidies. Wisconsin has now had over five years of experience requiring work activities for mothers of preschoolers and utilizing federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) monies for child care support for TANF participants and other “working poor” families. This study examines the growth of the child care subsidy program in Milwaukee and explores policy challenges for cities with high concentrations of welfare recipients and uneven labor market opportunities.