The Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program is on track to spend about $25 million less than budgeted in the second year of the biennium ending June 30, 2013. The Wisconsin Early Learning Coalition strongly supports investments to help child care programs improve quality under YoungStar. Thus, they recommend that the funding saved in Wisconsin Shares- and additional funding- should be invested to strengthen child care quality in the following areas:
1. Increase Support to Help Programs Move to a Higher Star Level in YoungStar
Wisconsin should invest an additional $8 million per year in training, scholarships and rewards for credit-based education (T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood and R.E.W.A.R.D. stipends), on-site technical consultation, and micro-grants to help child care programs improve and move up the YoungStar 5-star scale.
2. Improve the YoungStar Tiered Reimbursement System
The tiered reimbursement system should be adjusted to eliminate the five percent penalty for two-star child care programs and to provide the following fiscal incentives:
- 3-star programs would receive a 5% increase;
- 4-star programs would receive a 10% increase: and
- 5-star programs would continue to receive a 25% increase.
3. Wisconsin Shares Payment Policies Should be Fair
Wisconsin Shares policies should unfreeze the base payment rate that has been frozen since 2006 and rescind the policy for licensed family child care providers that does not reimburse them for absent days.