We've exceeded our 2020 goal for quality childcare!
Tim and I have exciting news: we exceeded our 2020 goal for the percentage of children enrolled in quality early childcare ahead of schedule! Our 2020 Milwaukee Succeeds community goal was 16% of Milwaukee children being enrolled in quality 4-5 Youngstar rated childcare programs and as of 2017, 17.5% are in quality programs! Big kudos to our early childcare network partners and Tim Coughlin, our goal manager, for our quality childcare network. And the news gets better; Congress passed, and the President signed the Omnibus appropriations bill that will result in an additional $35.4 million coming to Wisconsin to support early childhood education and programs!
We’ve asked Tim to elaborate on all this good news! Take it away, Tim!
See you soon,
I’m sure by now you’ve heard that the Congress passed and the president signed the FY18 Omnibus appropriations bill last Friday. The bill includes a $2.3 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. This will mean an additional $35.4 million in child care funds in Wisconsin. Thank you, legislators, who supported this bill. This is a great step forward for an industry that has been in financial distress for over a decade. However, more will still be needed in order for programs to continue to strive toward offering high-quality early childhood education, sustain those high-quality practices, and attract and retain a workforce at wages commensurate with their credentials.
Additionally, I’m thrilled to share that Milwaukee has surpassed our 2020 target for the number of children enrolled in child care programs that meet high-quality standards in YoungStar! YoungStar is the Quality Rating and Improvement System created in 2010 to improve the quality of child care for Wisconsin children with an emphasis on children from low-income working families that receive Wisconsin Shares child care subsidies. YoungStar evaluates the quality of programs and rates them from 1 to 5 Stars based on four categories: Education qualifications and training; Learning environment and curriculum; Professional and business practices; and Child health and well-being practices.
When Milwaukee Succeeds launched Goal 1 in 2012, 8% of children were enrolled in 4 and 5 Star programs. Milwaukee Succeeds committed to engaging individuals and organizations to collectively work to double that number by 2020. Currently, 17.5% of children receiving WI Shares are enrolled in 4 and 5 Star programs! For all programs that increased their Star-rating, the greatest area of improvement is in the Learning Environment and Curriculum category, meaning that directors and teachers in these programs are adequately trained to deliver quality, developmentally appropriate practices and demonstrate that they are being implemented within the classroom. This reinforces our strategies to further assist teachers in professional development along with coaching and mentoring.
Milwaukee has reached this milestone because of the dedication, hard work and collective commitment to collaboration by partners focused on ensuring that Milwaukee’s children reach their fullest potential in school and in life. This is evidenced, in part, by partnerships working together to improve child care quality like Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, MATC, Milwaukee Public Library, Marquette University, 4C-For Children, and partnerships focused on advocating to improve access to quality early care and education like the Milwaukee Child Care Alliance, the Wisconsin Early Learning Coalition, Children’s Empowerment Through Education, and the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.
Let’s take this moment to celebrate this win and thank early childhood education professionals, to whom all the credit goes, for all their hard work. Then let’s keep working collaboratively to make sure that many more children can benefit from high-quality early childhood education!