Hear from child care providers about their YoungStar experiences!

YoungStar is Wisconsin’s Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System, that Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) works to implement across the state. Hear from a few Wisconsin providers about the difference that YoungStar made in their child care programs.

 

Parents and family support professionals can visit the parent portion of the YoungStar site for more information on how families can use YoungStar to choose quality child care for their children. See more videos on the SFTA YouTube channel.

Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services

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Do you work with children and families? Having a better understanding of how trauma affects people of all ages can make your services more effective and engaging. Check out this Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services from the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, the Administration for Community Living, the Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS. Additional resources can be found on the CDC website and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

CCR&R Innovations in Provider Training

Child Care Resource & Referral agencies (and SFTA members), 4C for Children and The Parenting Place were awarded a combined $10,000 by the SFTA Professional Development (PD) Department to create and implement innovative trainings for child care providers. The funding, made possible through the Department of Children and Families, was offered to increase the amount of PD opportunities for child care providers and to support training development at the CCR&R level.

“We wanted to draw on the expertise of trainers and TCs at CCR&Rs who are working closely with providers and are hearing what their needs are,” said Abbe Braun, SFTA Professional Development Manager.

The selected agencies were two of four CCR&R agencies that applied for funding back in June of 2016. After undergoing a review process their proposals were chosen and they were awarded the funding in August. Both are now in the process of getting their trainings up and running.

4C for Children is using their funding to develop a single 3 to 4-hour training, (which will teaching-cycle-picbe available to providers in both English and Spanish by December 2016), that delves deeper into The Teaching Cycle, breaking down its components for providers to implement in their child care programs. This training, Individual Learning: Planning Experiences and Documenting Development, is a continuation of The Teaching Cycle process as identified in the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards training. The Teaching Cycle (pictured) can be used as a framework for applying the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards in early care and education settings, to better support early development.

“The training will cover practice-related content that will help providers looking to implement individually-orientated learning,” said Terryl Wheelock, Early Head Start Coordinator at 4C for Children. “A variety of hands-on activities will help the participants in making connections between provider practices and the Teaching Cycle.”

The Parenting Place will use their funding for a series of three 1-hour workshops that focus on how school-age environments can effectively support children’s social emotional development. The idea behind these shorter trainings is that they can be incorporated during a staff meeting so that programs do not need to schedule additional time for PD.

“The goal of this training is to help after-school care providers set up their programs with the developmental needs of school-age children in mind,” explained Betsy Halama, Training Coordinator at The Parenting Place. “School-age care programs are unique in many ways; this training aims to support some of school age providers’ unique needs.”

Although these trainings are geared towards after-school programs, anyone serving school-age children could benefit from attending. This series will roll out in February of 2017.

Both the 4C for Children and The Parenting Place trainings will be made available to all WI CCR&Rs through a train the trainer, so that CCR&R staff have the tools to administer these trainings to providers statewide. Success of these trainings will be measured by the number of participants and participant feedback. Stay tuned to the SFTA website for future RFP opportunities from the SFTA PD Department for our core member agencies, to support innovation in provider training.

Learn more about our core members here.

This article was originally published in the SFTA Q4 2016 newsletter. Subscribe to our newsletters and other e-publications here.

Introducing the YoungStar Micro-Grant Program & the Latest News in Micro-Grants

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There are some new names and faces behind the YoungStar Micro-Grant team as Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) takes on the management of YoungStar micro-grants. Micro-Grant funding is available to programs that are participating in the YoungStar program and who have requested and are receiving technical assistance. These funds can be spent on materials, resources, and professional development opportunities that directly relate to a child care program’s Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). All purchase requests for micro-grants are processed and coordinated by the Micro-Grant Department: (*Reference the YoungStar regional map).

For general information questions about orders, timelines, or changes to a purchase plan:

For questions about returns or reimbursements:

Sarah Ross Berry, Micro-Grant Financial Specialist (sarah@supportingfamiliestogether.org).

For questions about policies and administration of the YoungStar Micro-Grant Program:

Sherri Underwood, Micro-Grant Manager (sherri@supportingfamiliestogether.org).

Assigning a specific Micro-Grant staff member to each YoungStar region for providers to contact has already noticeably decreased e-mails sent to the general micro-grant e-mail, showing providers are engaging more directly with the individuals serving their regions to obtain the information they need. This is not the only update the Micro-Grant Program has seen. Changes are being made to the YoungStar micro-grant process that you may have noticed if you are a provider receiving a micro-grant:

  • Reimbursements have gone out weekly to providers since SFTA took over the Micro-Grant Program in July of 2016. This allows providers to receive their money more quickly.
  • Programs will soon also be receiving their micro-grant materials faster, thanks to extra staff support that is being added to the micro-grant purchasing process (Chanel Ly).
  • The Micro-Grant Program is continuing to work to ensure that there is equal access to micro-grant materials and resources by working to translate materials into Spanish, and ensuring that Gloria is available to provide Spanish language support and Chanel is available to provide Hmong language support, as needed.
  • A focused effort is being made by the entire Micro-Grant Program to increase communications with Technical Consultants (TCs) regarding micro-grants. This means sharing micro-grant information on regular TC calls, including TCs on micro-grant e-mails to the providers they serve, weekly e-blasts to TCs and Micro-Grant staff taking more detailed notes regarding micro-grant interactions with providers that TCs can review. This gives providers the option to talk to their TC, who they know and trust, about their micro-grant.
  • Providers can access current micro-grant handbooks through their local YoungStar office by request (See the YoungStar Regional Map).
  • The Micro-Grant Program recently added a new vendor that providers can order discounted materials from, “S&S Worldwide,” to better meet the needs of school-age programs.

It is the Micro-Grant Program’s goal to make navigating the Micro-Grant Program simpler and more straight-forward for providers, and recent changes are a step in that direction. What all of this translates to out in the field is that child care programs are getting high quality materials and supports more quickly and efficiently to further their QIPs, which builds more developmentally supportive child care environments for children and their families. The Micro-Grant Program Staff are a crucial link in ensuring providers can use their micro-grants in a timely manner to support the quality of their programs and the children they serve.

Check out SFTA’s newest website addition, the Micro-Grant Program page for more information and resources on micro-grants.

This article was originally published in the SFTA Q4 2016 newsletter. Subscribe to our newsletters and other e-publications here.

One Child Care Program’s YoungStar Success: Doll’s Day Care

Click below to read about the success of Doll’s Day Care and visit SFTA’s Join YoungStar page to learn more about YoungStar, Wisconsin’s Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement Program. Check out our success story page for more stories of programs succeeding through YoungStar.

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Top 5 Reasons to Become a Regulated Child Care Provider in WI

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(Review the two types of child care regulation in WI: Licensing and Certification)

  1. Child Care Subsidies: Only regulated child care providers participating in YoungStar are eligible to care for families participating in Wisconsin Shares, which helps families pay for child care. This opens your program to a broader population of potential families in need of care. Participating in YoungStar also provides you with added benefits, such as technical consultation and access to micro-grants to purchase materials for your program.
  2. Participation in the WI Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): Regulated child care programs can join a CACFP food program and are reimbursed for the cost of serving nutritious meals and snacks to the children in their care.
  3. Child Care Referrals: WI Child Care Resource & Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) generate lists of child care options for parents looking for child care and can only include regulated child care programs in these referrals. Deciding to be regulated puts your program on these lists, which makes good marketing sense for promoting your child care business.
  4. Business Benefits & Supports: Regulated child care providers may be qualified to apply for grants or loans, seek small business assistance, and claim income tax deductions. There is more technical assistance and consultation available to regulated providers from their local CCR&R, meaning that being regulated increases your opportunity for professional growth.
  5. Build Trust with the Families You Serve: Being regulated demonstrates your commitment to being a quality child care professional and shows that your program meets statewide standards meant to ensure children’s safety and well-being. This offers parents and caregivers looking for care an added level of comfort and trust in your program.

For more information about becoming a regulated child care provider, visit the SFTA website or contact your local CCR&R agency at (888) 713. KIDS (5437). (Click on the image at the top right of this post for an interactive version of this list).

(This post was originally published in the Supporting Family Together Association’s quarterly e-newsletter. Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter here, or visit our publication archives to see past newsletters).

4-C Literacy Backpack Series: “Literature as a Way to Support Social Emotional Growth”

When Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) funded 20 staff from their member agencies to attend the “Training of Facilitators for Positive Solutions for Families” in April, 4-C Referral Specialist Ruth DeNure from Madison was one of them. The training, a 6 to 8-week parenting curriculum, guided attendees in how to support children’s social emotional growth, and provided free social emotional themed children’s books to participants. Ruth left with the books, but also with an idea to use them in guiding parents at 4-C Play & Learns to better support their children’s social emotional growth.

“I wanted to use literature as a way to support social emotional growth, and to not just think of a book all by itself but as an avenue to start discussions,” said Ruth. “A book can actually be a conduit for that.”

With the ideas and materials from the training, and support from the SFTA Family Literacy Backpacks1Engagement Specialist, Ruth created a series of Literacy Backpacks that parents participating in 4-C Play & Learns can check out and take home to use with their children. Each backpack contains activities and ideas focused around a children’s book that addresses social emotional issues. The handout included in each backpack reads,

“Parents/caregivers who read to their children every day and talk about what they are reading together promote a joy of reading and literacy achievement. Literacy Backpacks encourage reading at home and support the role of parents as educators.”

Ruth has currently completed eight literacy backpacks, so that the program can officially kick off in September with four backpacks for each of the two teams of teachers at the 11 different 4-C Play & Learn sites. Creating the backpacks and their content has proven fairly cost-effective, since Ruth primarily used the books from the training and materials from the 4-C Resource Room and Play & Learns. As the program moves forward Ruth plans on evaluating and expanding the program based on its reach and feedback from participants.

What’s Inside a Literacy Backpack?

Each backpack contains a book, 4-5 story extender ideas for parents/caregivers to do with their child, and a folder with additional story extender ideas and materials explaining the importance of early literacy and the purpose of the Literacy Backpacks.

David Gets in Trouble Backpack

Sample story extender activities from the “David Gets in Trouble” Backpack:

  • “How does David feel?” activity: Pictures of David from the book are provided with different facial expressions. Children can match his expressions to the correct emotion, then parents can ask children questions about that emotion in their life (a.k.a. When was a time you felt happy? How do you feel today?)
  • Feelings Bingo: Bingo cards offer children different situations where children have to guess what emotions that situation would cause. For example, how might a girl getting a surprise party feel? Children can place a Bingo piece on the emotion listed on their game card that they think fits the situation.
  • “The things I can do” activity: Children work with their parents to identify ways they can help around the house. For instance, feeding the fish or putting away their things.
  • “Faces show feelings” activity: The object of this game is to have fun while learning about feelings and facial expressions. The child and parent each choose a marker.  Each player rolls the die and the person with the largest number goes first.  For younger children:  When the child lands on a face, they must make a face like the one they land on and tell about what makes them feel that way.  For older children:  When the child lands on a face, they must tell about a specific time when they felt that way.  The first person to the finish line is the winner.
  • Auditory Discrimination: Parents can read the book in a happy, sad or other emotionally charged tone. Children can share the differences in how they felt about the story when it was read through different emotions. Parents and children can talk about how our tone can reflect our feelings, and how that can affect others.

Stay tuned to the 4-C website for more information on this program and other services that 4-C provides.