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:

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.

Send a ‘Thank You’ to your Legislator

Throughout the past few months, hundreds of phone calls and emails were sent to Wisconsin legislators in support of YoungStar. It is because of the these efforts- from providers and advocates in the field- that the Joint Finance Committee unanimously passed the program last week. We would like to thank all of you for the many contacts you made to legislators to make this happen- your hard work paid off!

If you would like to thank your legislators for supporting YoungStar, you can click on Wisconsin Council on Children and Families’ Take Action link or call 1-800-362-9472 and leave them a message. To thank the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, contact Senator Mark Miller and Representative Mark Pocan.

Thanks again for all of your hard work. This was a great team effort on behalf of young children across the state!

YoungStar Officially Passes in Wisconsin!

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.

Joint Finance Committee to Discuss YoungStar: URGENT Action Needed

Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee has set the date to discuss and decide the fate of the proposed Quality Rating and Improvement System for child care providers, YoungStar. This meeting is NOT a public hearing– the public can attend to listen only. The meeting is set for: Wednesday, June 23 at 10 am.

The Department of Children and Families continues to respond to child care provider concerns with updates and improvements to the system. YoungStar is now stronger because of YOUR feedback- and it will continue to evolve in response to ideas from the field. Visit our website for more information, resources, and webinars on the program.

We need your help! Please contact your state Representative, Senator, and the two Joint Finance Co-Chairs- Senator Mark Miller and Representative Mark PocanTODAY.

Quality child care matters. Help us send a message by telling legislators:
• to support YoungStar, the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for child care, and
• to urge Joint Finance Committee members to vote for Alternative 1 (full funding and a phase-in approach) from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s May 24, 2010 paper on the section 13.10 request by the Department of Children and Families to fund their YoungStar plan.

Find out who your representatives are, and how to contact them, by clicking here and entering your mailing address. You can also call the Legislative hotline toll free at 1-800-362-9472.

Please join us for a final push in support of YoungStar and quality care for kids! The quality of care children receive has a huge and proven impact on their development and school-readiness. YOU can take a stand for quality by contacting your legislators and members of the Joint Finance Committee.