Yesterday, June 23, the bi-partisan Joint Committee on Finance unanimously passed YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care quality rating and improvement system. The committee approved full funding- $10 million- for the launching of the program. $5.6 million has been immediately provided to DCF and the additional $4.4 million has been set aside for DCF to request later. Full funding for YoungStar means more training and technical assistance for providers, more funding for scholarship and wage stipends for providers, an online system of ratings for parents to access, and quality improvements in child care especially for low-income children and families.
The committee approved the following measures (link to the complete document here):
*$3,000,000 for assessment and data collection. Programs would be assessed and information collected through regional organizations- who would be chosen beginning in October 2010. These organizations are required to collect data on the four sections of YoungStar- staff qualifications, learning environment and curriculum, professional practices, and health and wellness program aspects- as well as data on provider life experience and continuing education, participation of children with disabilities, and what providers believe they need in order to improve their programs.
*$500,000 in additional funding immediately for the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin scholarship program and the R.E.W.A.R.D.™ Wisconsin stipend program for the 2010-2011 year.
*$1,500,000 in additional funding for training and technical assistance activities in 12 counties throughout the state.
*$616,900 for 3 full time positions and administrative costs to DCF to oversee and implement the program.
*$4,429,900 for micro-grants, additional training and technical assistance, and other costs. This pot of money would be allocated after DCF completes a 5-year plan- due November 2010- for YoungStar that must be approved by the Joint Committee on Finance.
*DCF must list all accredited providers on their website beginning July 1, 2010.
WECA is committed to providing accurate information and assistance on YoungStar to all early childhood professionals across the state. Please visit our resource page here or check out our webinars that describe each of the YoungStar sections here. These resources were created to help programs decide what they can do now to prepare for YoungStar ratings.
As the process unfolds, continue to follow WECA as we update you on trainings, assessment information, and any legislative changes. Training for programs going through YoungStar will be announced in our Professional Development eNews, so make sure you’re subscribed here.