DCF Responds to Questions on YoungStar

Since the January introduction of YoungStar-Wisconsin’s proposed quality rating and improvement system for child care- questions have been raised from child care providers across the state. Providers want to know more of the details within the program and want to know how it will affect their own programs. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has been collecting these YoungStar related questions and has recently published a “frequently asked questions” section on their website. Examples of questions and answers on the website include:

Q: Will programs charge parents more if they are rated at a one or two star level?
A: No. Star ratings will not affect co-payments. Child care programs are owner operated, and programs set their own prices. The star rating will be an important marketing factor for child care programs, and parents are encouraged to choose programs that demonstrate quality practices and have earned points within the quality indicator areas identified.

Q: What can a program do to prepare for an observation rating?
A: Programs should examine their own quality through the use of a program self-assessment tool to identify the strengths of the child care program and areas that may need improvement. YoungStar quality indicator areas are: teacher/director/provider qualifications, the learning environment, professional practices, and the health and wellness of children. Star ratings, quality improvement plans, technical assistance consultation, and/or resource development will focus on these four key areas. Examples of program self-assessment tools can be found here, here or here.

Q: How is Regulatory Compliance defined?
A: A program will be considered to be in “regulatory compliance” unless there are at least two serious violations in the past 12 months. The Department will work with stakeholders to develop a “severity index” which clearly defines “serious violations.” Examples of serious violations could include: violations that endanger the safety of children, failure to conduct background checks, failure to report abuse or neglect of a child, and grossly exceeding the staff to child ratio.

These are only 3 of many questions addressed. To view the entire page, and see if your burning question(s) was answered, visit the site here. Still have a question? Let us know! We’ll answer it if we can and connect you to the correct contact person if we can’t.

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