Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) shares the vision held by Governor Doyle and the Department of Children and Families that all Wisconsin children and their families have access to high quality child care and early learning experiences.
A quality rating system, as proposed by Governor Doyle, is a welcomed opportunity to begin the challenging work of improving the system of child care currently available in our state. WECA believes we should first look at existing programs and initiatives in our state that successfully enhance child care program quality and then build upon them. Among these programs are two evidenced based, quality initiatives that are currently funded through the state budget and administered by WECA. T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® WISCONSIN and R.E.W.A.R.D. ™ WISCONSIN improve educational qualifications and help retain a skilled child care workforce. Because of the success of these programs, the demand for them- along with much needed training and technical assistance to advance a quality agenda- is greater than current funding allows.
WECA also appreciates the Governor’s efforts to sustain the Wisconsin Shares program. We believe that continued and adequate funding for these subsidies is critical to the lives of thousands of Wisconsin children and families, especially as our economy worsens and families struggle. We are, however, concerned that proposed cost containment measures will unduly fall on the shoulders of the child care workforce and early education programs. This could undermine concerted efforts to improve quality.
We look forward to working with the legislature and the Doyle administration through these budget deliberations to move us closer to our shared vision.