Governor Doyle Announces “YoungStar,” a Quality Rating and Improvement System for Wisconsin

Last Friday, January 22, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) representatives joined Governor Jim Doyle at Malaika Early Learning Center in Milwaukee as he announced details of YoungStar, a new five-star quality rating and improvement system for Wisconsin child care programs. WECA believes this program will: improve the overall quality for children in child care, provide a tool for parents to identify and select quality child care, create incentives to improve services to low-income children, link quality to Wisconsin Shares payments, and provide a mechanism to further prevent fraud in the Wisconsin Shares program. We urge organizations and individuals to join us- the largest professional association of early childhood educators in our state-in taking a stand for high quality child care for Wisconsin’s youngest citizens by supporting this program.

YoungStar sets a five-star rating system for child care providers based on education, learning environment, business practices and the health and well being of children. Training and technical assistance funding within the program will provide opportunities for child care providers to improve their program and better serve the children in their care. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) will submit the final plan for YoungStar to the Joint Finance Committee in the coming weeks.

One thought on “Governor Doyle Announces “YoungStar,” a Quality Rating and Improvement System for Wisconsin

  1. Supporting Families Together Association Supports Child Care Quality Rating System- YoungStar Announced January 22, 2010

    Governor Jim Doyle announced details on a new five-star quality rating and improvement system for child care in Wisconsin on January 22, 2010. The program, YoungStar, will dramatically improve the information parents have to make important decisions about their child’s care. With YoungStar, we will change how parents make decisions about who is best to care for their child.

    The National Association for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies have conducted several national studies about the reasons that shape how parents make decisions about childcare. The two biggest drivers impacting parent choice are price and location. As a parent I understand the realities of budget and convenience. If we can do a better job of making information about the quality of early care and education convenient to parents, then parents will have the tools to make wiser choices about who they select to care for their children.

    If funded, this is a policy approach where everybody wins. Tax payers win because there will be incentives to childcare providers for higher quality and accountability if standards are not met. Childcare providers win because there are concrete supports that will be provided to assist them strengthening their programming. Children and families in Wisconsin win because there will be clear, understandable, standards that are in place to create better childcare experiences for children and families.

    YoungStar sets a five-star rating system for child care providers based on education, learning environment, business practices and the health and well being of children. Through this rating system the state will address several key issues in Wisconsin’s child care system.

    Although this proposal in this format is new to Wisconsin, at least 17 states in the US have a coordinated system for quality improvement that is working. The research and evaluation is clear. Ongoing, coordinated, decently funded efforts to improve business practices, professional development, childcare environments, and teacher student interactions result in higher school readiness and healthy social emotional development for children. These factors are critical to a child’s success and Wisconsin’s future.

    SFTA and CCR&Rs are looking forward to the implementation of YoungStar. For several years Supporting Families Together Association and Child Care Resource and Referral agencies have been piloting quality improvement efforts in group and family childcare programs throughout Wisconsin. The outcomes are compelling where we have had resources to invest in quality improvement efforts. We’re excited to see progress toward making this available to children and families in every community in Wisconsin.

    DCF will submit the final plan for YoungStar to the Joint Finance Committee in the coming weeks and we’re looking forward to legislative support for this much needed system. Wisconsin families deserve better and this is a mechanism for doing better.

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