YoungStar Training is Here!

Training designed to help you prepare to be rated for YoungStar, or for anyone wishing to learn ways to improve the quality of your child care program.
WECA MIlwaukee is sponsoring trainings on…
• YoungStar Overviews to get you started
• Wisconsin Model Early Learning (WMELS)
• SEFEL Pyramid Model for Developmental Social Emotional Competence
• Family Involvement
• Child Outcomes, Portfolios and Curriculum
• Environment Rating Scales
• Business Practices
• Click here to learn more and to register for a WECA Milwaukee YoungStar training!

Not in the Milwaukee area? Click here for a listing of available YoungStar trainings statewide- all organized by members of the YoungStar consortium.


YoungStar Applications due in Three Weeks!

If you are a child care program that currently receives reimbursements through the Wisconsin Shares program, you must apply to participate in YoungStar BY JUNE 1ST, 2011 in order to continue to receive these reimbursements without interruption. Your regional office must receive the application by this date, so don’t forget to leave time for mail processing if you choose to mail your application in.

How do I apply?
DCF has just revised their YoungStar website with simple, easy to follow instructions on applying for YoungStar. Find the four step application process here!

What can I do after I apply?
If you chose to have someone come out to rate your program, you will be assigned a YoungStar adviser who will contact you in the future to set up an appointment. While you wait for this initial contact, there are several things you can do to prepare:

Step 1: Consider attending a YoungStar orientation training
If you are just learning about YoungStar, and want to know more, attend a YoungStar orientation session to find out details on ratings, support for programs, and micro-grants. Find training in your area!

Step 2: Get your information on The Registry
In order to earn 3 or more stars in YoungStar, your program must meet certain education levels (what education levels do I need for each level?). This education is ONLY verified through The Registry- so if your program isn’t on The Registry, we won’t be able to check this information.
* Actions for Group Child Care: Ensure that all Lead Teachers and the Center Director qualifications are current and accurately reflected by The Registry Career Level assigned. See instructions for individuals to do this below.
* Actions for Family Child Care: Ensure that the primary caregiver qualifications are current and accurately reflected by The Registry Career Level assigned. If the owner is not the primary caregiver/teacher, then the qualifications of the primary caregiver/teacher are evaluated for purposes of YoungStar. See instructions for individuals to do this below.
* Actions for Administrators/Owners of Group and Family Child Care Programs: Create or update a Registry Program Profile within The Registry. Learn how to do this with instructions below.
* Instructions for individuals to get started in The Registry and receive a Registry Career Level.
* Instructions for creating a Registry program profile.

Step 3: Consider completing your own assessment of your program’s quality
In order to earn 3 or more stars in YoungStar, your program must complete a self-assessment.
* Your program can complete this assessment before a YoungStar staff member comes out to your program. This will give you the opportunity to point out what’s going well in your program already and what could be going better.
* Your program can also choose to complete a self-assessment with assistance from a YoungStar technical assistant.
* If you would like to complete or begin a self-assessment, we recommend you choose this tool for group programs and this tool for family programs.

Step 4: Consider creating a quality improvement plan for your program, highlighting where you think your program is doing well and where it needs improvement
In order to earn 3 or more stars in YoungStar, your program must complete a quality improvement plan, based on your self-assessment.
* Your program can complete this quality improvement plan before a YoungStar staff member comes out to your program. This will give you the opportunity to create your own plan for improving quality in your program.
* Your program can also choose to complete a quality improvement plan with a YoungStar technical assistant.
* If you would like to complete or begin a quality improvement plan without assistance from YoungStar staff, download an example to use.

Step 5: Familiarize yourself with the tools YoungStar staff will be using
Learn about what YoungStar staff will be using when they rate your program.
* Information for Group child care programs.
* Information for Family child care programs.

What’s in the Governor’s 2011-13 Proposed State Budget?

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.

Get Professional Development Support as You Prepare for YoungStar

Are you trying to decide what professional development choices you should make to help you reach your goals? Or to help you reach the benchmarks in YoungStar? Do you wonder if higher education is right for you? WECA is here to help with a NEW, free professional development planning service!

One of the main goals of YoungStar is to improve the care and education of young children by having better educated and trained staff working with those children. To help providers prepare for this part of YoungStar, WECA has received funding to provide assistance in professional development planning. This service will be provided over the phone to people employed in early childhood education or child care who want to hear about the options for training and education available in the state of Wisconsin. This could include:

* Exploring your short and long term goals for your own professional development
* Choosing what kind of professional development is right for you
* Scholarships for credit based education (through the T.E.A.C.H. program)
* Learning about credit for prior learning options
* Discussing upcoming trainings and resources to support participation in the YoungStar program.
* And much more!

Visit our website to learn how you can take advantage of the professional development planning service through WECA!

Registration now open for WECA’s YoungStar trainings!

YoungStar, Wisconsin’s new quality rating and improvement system, will begin early next year. To help prepare the early childhood workforce for this new program, several organizations have put together extra training sessions that will take place starting NOW! WECA is one of the organizations that will be holding these training sessions (visit the DCF website for a complete listing of training options) and we’ve just opened up our registration! Join us as we kick off our training series!

Visit our website and check out our training schedule (sorted by topic or sorted by county!). Registration is open and sessions are starting NOW- don’t miss out!

YoungStar Trainings to Begin – More Q&A Sessions Added

When YoungStar was approved on June 23, $1.5 million was allocated for immediate training and technical assistance activities in 12 select counties throughout the state. These extra trainings are designed to prepare the early childhood workforce for the start of YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care quality rating and improvement system.

To learn more about what training and technical assistance will be available- and where– attend a Q&A Session hosted by DCF. Secretary Reggie Bicha has been traveling across the state and meeting with child care providers to announce this array of NEW YoungStar Trainings. New locations were just added and include:

Wednesday August 25- 9am
Northwest Connection Family Resource Center
16076 W. Hwy 63

Wednesday August 25- 12:30pm
Brighter Beginnings Early Learning Center
1612 Truax Blvd.

More sessions to come!
To RSVP send an email to Julie Schultz at DCF.

Keep up-to-date on YoungStar trainings in your area as they are scheduled by following our blog, signing up for our Professional Development eNews, and visiting the YoungStar Training section of our website. 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.

The Next Door Foundation’s Annual Brengel Forum

On Wednesday August 25th, the Next Door Foundation’s Annual Brengel Forum will take place from 8am-4pm in Brookfield. This year’s forum, entitled “Ready Or Not: Using YoungStar to Create a Better Tomorrow for the Children of 2020,” will highlight quality rating and improvement systems, and presenters will discuss how YoungStar will affect Wisconsin’s early care and education community. Speakers include Dr. Valora Washington from the CAYL institute, Henry Wilde and Laura Saterfield from the Department of Children and Families, State Representative Tamara Grigsby, and Dave Edie from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.

To learn more about the forum click here. Registration is $30.00 per person and includes continental breakfast and lunch. To register, contact Sunny Peete at (414) 562-2929 Ext. 145 or via email at To attend, you must register by August 20th.