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.

WECA is Hiring for YoungStar Related Positions!

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) is now hiring for many positions to help launch YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care quality rating and improvement system. These positions will reflect a full spectrum of new opportunities to run the program. Key positions we are hiring for include a Program Coordinator, Technical Consultants, Trainers and Assessors. These positions require a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood (or related field) and a minimum of 4 years experience in Early Childhood. Experience with ECERS/FCCERS and/or early education training and technical assistance preferred. Positions will be open in our Madison and Milwaukee offices as well as statewide for trainers or assessors.

We are also seeking administrative and support staff for the YoungStar program to work out of our Madison office. Openings include administrative assistants, program support and financial specialists. Depending on the position, these require a minimum of a high school diploma plus experience or an associate’s degree.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply indicating what area interested and minimum salary requirements. Competitive salary and benefits. WECA is an AA/EO Employer. Applicants from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please submit cover letter and professional resume to:
HR Manager
Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
744 Williamson St., Suite 200
Madison, WI 53703.
Or email HR@wisconsinearlychildhood.org

YoungStar has Begun- Apply now!

Applications are now available for YoungStar!
Celebrate Children Foundation, Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA), and Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) have been chosen to manage YoungStar across the state. We are ready to begin the work of supporting early education programs as they demonstrate the quality of care they offer to Wisconsin’s youngest children.

YoungStar applications are now available. Staff from WECA and Resource and Referral Agencies are ready to work with programs and statewide trainings are being planned. Apply now and don’t miss out on the following opportunities:

• Programs can choose to receive FREE, individualized technical assistance as a participant in YoungStar. Don’t wait in line for this assistance!
• Programs that receive 3 stars or higher could receive increases in Shares payments as early as July, 2011. Don’t miss out on this chance to increase your revenue!
• Programs that participate in YoungStar can request and receive FREE technical consultation and may be eligible for micro-grants for quality improvements!
• Programs that participate in YoungStar, are in regulatory compliance, and are currently accredited through approved accrediting bodies will automatically receive 4 or 5 stars!
• Parents will be able to view program ratings online on December 13th- make sure your program is visible for parents searching for care!

Application for Group Program (Part 1/ Part 2)

Application for Family Child Care Program (Part 1/ Part 2)

After you have completed your application, please submit both forms to your YoungStar regional office (find it here).

To receive the most accurate assessment, make sure:

• The Registry has all the information it needs: All family child care providers, group child care program directors, and group child care lead teachers should have current individual Registry profiles. Click here to visit The Registry for more information.
• Group child care directors have a CURRENT program profile on The Registry: Center directors can update their program profile here.

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:

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

EAU CLAIRE
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 speete@nextdoormil.org. To attend, you must register by August 20th.

YoungStar Trainings to Begin – Attend a Q&A Near You!

When YoungStar was approved on June 23, the bi-partisan Joint Committee on Finance approved $5.6 million to be immediately provided to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for a variety of services. Within this $5.6 million, $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 the full YoungStar program in late 2010 or early 2011. Immediate training/technical assistance will be on a variety of topics including: WMELS (WI Model Early Learning Standards), SEFEL (Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning) pyramid model, accreditation support, health & safety, and business practices.

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 will be traveling across the state and meeting with child care providers to announce this array of NEW YoungStar Trainings.

Plan to attend a meeting that fits your schedule and locale:
KENOSHA
Monday, August 9 10am
Almost Home Academy – 1760 22nd Ave.

MILWAUKEE
Monday, August 9 2pm
Child Development Center of St. Joseph – 1600 West Oklahoma Ave.

RACINE
Wednesday, August 11 5pm
Next Generation Now – 1220 Mound Ave.

JANESVILLE
Thursday August 12 1pm
Community Day Care Center Inc. – 3103 Ruger Ave.

LACROSSE
Friday August 13 1pm
Bluffside Day Care Center – 2910 Gillette Street

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

Keep up-to-date on YoungStar trainings in your area by following our blog, signing up for our Professional Development eNews, and visiting the YoungStar section of DCF’s website here. 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.

More Questions About YoungStar Answered

Child care professionals across the state have continued to raise interesting and valuable questions related to Wisconsin’s newly approved QRIS, YoungStar. In response, earlier this month, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) published a newly revised “frequently asked questions” section on their website. All questions that were received during the YoungStar webinar series have been incorporated into this newly revised section. Examples of questions and answers on the website include:

Q: Does being licensed vs. certified increase your score?
A: No. You have 2 Stars if you are in full compliance with licensing and/or certification rules. That is the floor. Being licensed does not increase your points. However, current Wisconsin Shares reimbursement levels are different for certified and licensed programs. This would remain the same.

Q:When a program receives the 5% or 10% or 25% reimbursement, will there be specifications on how that money should be used?
A: YoungStar policies will encourage programs to reinvest additional resources in ongoing quality improvement.

Q: Will I have access to technical assistance – prior to being rated –to come into my family child care, look over my center, review my education, and my center as a whole to inform me about what I could improve?
A: Yes. Programs will have access to immediate training and technical assistance opportunities being planned to begin this summer and will be able to work with regional entities to access opportunities once services begin in December. The observation rating will be an opportunity to show you and your technical consultant what additional kinds of technical assistance will be most useful. You might choose to do a self-assessment before your first observation rating.

These are only 3 of many NEW 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.