Viewing Governor Walker’s state budget can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. It can be difficult to figure out where (and how much) money is being spent and what regulations are being changed. This is where the Department of Administration steps in. The DOA has posted a readable, understandable version of the budget that summarizes key information for each state department. This summary is now available online to view here.
So what exactly is in the budget for the Department of Children and Families? Here are some key findings:
• YoungStar: $7,602,100 in fiscal year 2012 and $7,284,800 in fiscal year 2013 is proposed for continued funding of YoungStar, Wisconsin’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. Additional funding is proposed for the administration of YoungStar ($725,100 in year one, and $719,400 in year two).
• YoungStar tiered reimbursements: The initial design for YoungStar, approved by the Joint Finance Committee in 2010, included proposed fiscal incentives to programs that met higher quality standards. The Governor’s budget includes a tiered reimbursement system, but it is proposed in a different way. Note the differences below:
• The Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program is proposed to be funded at $290 million in fiscal year 2012 and $288 million in fiscal year 2013. The 2012 proposed funding is a $112 million reduction from the current fiscal year (which was budgeted at $402 million), although the Legislative Fiscal Bureau now estimates that the actual cost of the program for this year will be closer to $296 million.
• Several cost containment measures are authorized to occur (if needed) to contain costs in the Wisconsin Shares program. These includes increasing copayments for parents, tightening eligibility, implementing a waiting list for recipients, and adjusting payment rates to child care providers.
• $3,975,000 is proposed annually for the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin scholarship program and the R.E.W.A.R.D.™ Wisconsin stipend program (a $500,000 annual increase in funding from the 2009-2011 budget)
• Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies: $1,298,600 per year is budgeted for these agencies. This is neither an increase nor decrease from the previous budget.
To view the complete summary of the Department of Children and Families 2011-2013 budget click here. Keep checking our blog to find out what happens as the budget process moves forward, and how to voice your opinion on what has been proposed by the Governor.