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


(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).


Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) & Child Care

One of the 2016 YoungStar Evaluation Criteria changes now being implemented in child care programs statewide is the recently added optional point for Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) (Learning Environment and Curriculum, B.1.3), which replaced the Additional Work on a Quality Improvement Plan. YoungStar Technical Consultants (TCs) are working with providers to incorporate this point into their daily practice, or identify what they already have in their program that meets the requirements. The point requirements read as follows, and all 5 must be met to earn the point:

  1. Written program philosophy includes a statement regarding how the program believes children learn AND how teachers teach, reflecting developmentally appropriate practice. The program philosophy is available to families and staff in the parent handbook and employee handbook.
  2. Staff provides care that is engaging, comforting, culturally sensitive and compassionate. Interactions must be positive or neutral at best. Teachers use language that the children understand and help children communicate appropriately. Teachers foster relationship building between, teachers and children, and peer to peer.
  3. Exploration and play for children is supported by the environment. Learning occurs best when opportunities are created in natural and authentic contexts.
  4. Children have routines and consistent schedules. Teachers adapt schedules and experiences to individual children’s needs within the group setting.
  5. Reciprocal relationships with families exist between program and families. Programs must make an effort to get to know children’s families.

(*Taken from DCF site, PowerPoint Overview of 2016 Evaluation Criteria)

Mary Sue Voights, a trainer & YoungStar TC with Child Care Resource & Referral, Inc., has already worked with both group and family child care programs on earning the DAP point.

“It’s interesting because I find that family programs have less difficulty with this one,” said Mary Sue, referencing her own experience with DAP thus far. “Family providers work with mixed age groups so they are already used to making the materials and activities available to varying ages and abilities.”

Mary Sue has found ways to make this point more accessible to both group and family programs. She tailored a DAP training to be a one-on-one consultation tool to support individual programs in meeting the specifics of the point, has compiled handouts on DAP and what she calls “DIP” (Developmentally Inappropriate Practices), and uses a video clip about DAP from NAEYC to show providers how they can effectively implement DAP.

An example of this is supporting group centers in incorporating enough free play. Mary Sue reviews the schedule with them and shows them where they might eliminate some of the whole group play activities, instead, “setting up experiences and materials in the centers and then just going through them with the children, playing with them to support their development.”

“Everybody really wants to do the right thing [by incorporating DAP],” noted Mary Sue, “but we have lost sight of what DAP are for children, which is putting play back in and being there, guiding that play with them.”

In working with infants and toddlers, said Mary Sue, this means bringing content back to what is DAP for an age range where children, especially toddlers, appear to be more capable than they actually are emotionally. Understanding DAP means providers know what to expect for typical behavior from the children in their care, and use that to better support each child’s needs.

Carrie J. Steinke, Quality Improvement Specialist at Childcaring, Inc., said that TCs at her agency are also in full swing to support programs in earning the DAP point.

“We are talking about both the DAP and the Family Engagement (FE) points early and often in our work with programs,” said Carrie. “We are encouraging providers and programs to engage with those points by the second TC visit, if at all possible, if they are planning to earn them, because we really need to have a good amount of time to cover all of the details of those points—both in consultation and at rating time.”

Carrie said they are asking programs to look carefully at their current practices to see where changes to policies or procedures could be made to meet the requirements of the point, while still meeting the philosophy of the program and the needs of the children.

“These points; [DAP and FE], are both a nice opportunity to talk with programs about best practice in a new way,” added Carrie.

For more resources on DAP

Developmentally Appropriate Practice Pinterest Board
Recommended Professional Development Library for DAP
Q&A with the editors of Developmentally Appropriate Practice
DAP Frequently Asked Questions
10 Effective DAP Teaching Strategies
The Activity Idea Place:
Developmentally Appropriate Practices with Young Children

(*This article was originally published in SFTA’s Q1 2016 newsletter. View the full publication here. Sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter here).


The Early Scoop for Early Childhood Supporters


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Home Visiting: It’s All About Being Responsive

Being responsive to the needs of the families and the community is the core value in home visiting. Referencing the relationship between home visitor and family, Katy Murphy of the Department of Health Services (DHS) describes that “the whole job is being responsive.” Katy is the home visiting nurse consultant on the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) and DHS’ three-person home visiting team, which also includes Leslie McAllister and Tom Hinds. Because home visitors go to a family’s home, they are uniquely positioned to be able to draw upon the environment and the context in which the family lives and works, making it easier to meet each family where they are at. Leslie describes how this process works: “Families and home visitors get to know each other, and, over time, build a trusting relationship based on mutual respect. Doing the work in a “one size fits all” fashion simply won’t be effective. We must be responsive to families in order to get positive results.”

The home visiting team at DCF plays a significant role in professional development by ensuring that trainings are relevant to the needs of home visitors, their supervisors, the organizations they work for, and the families they serve. The home visiting team believes it is the responsibility of those supporting professional development to continue to improve and modify training content based on well-assessed needs. To do this, the team advocates for the use of a debriefing form that calls for trainers to reflect upon their own practice and the practice of co-trainers, as applicable. The team- along with the help of their professional development partners – are also developing a methodology to determine effectiveness of training for home visitors based on their and their supervisors’ reports of practice change or improvement related to training and coaching received.

A major benefit of the home visiting work being done at the state level is the coordination of and accessibility to data in real-time. This is made possible by the database housed at DHS, which collects standardized data from programs across the state. The home visiting programs have varying levels of experience using the database; therefore, the home visiting team and the database administrator are providing training and technical assistance to the programs as they learn the system. Through collection of data, the home visiting team will be able to cater to the needs of each program and make data-driven decisions. Similarly, local home visiting programs can pull accurate, timely data to make informed decision for their own services. Much of Tom’s data work to-date has been in conjunction with the database work group to prepare to report to the project’s funders. Tom explained that “the State’s home visiting project must use many of the data for required federal reporting” and he is “excited to get beyond the report and look at the data together with programs to think about how we can make the programs even stronger”. With a coordinated system of data collection, home visiting programs can draw meaningful conclusions from data pulls and implement new strategies that are responsive to the needs of the families and communities they serve.

Home visiting aims to support families in experiencing better outcomes. Effective home visiting empowers families and supports them as decision makers. The team that Leslie, Katy and Tom make up aims to strengthen a statewide system of home visiting. An effective and seamless system elevates home visiting and as Katy describes, “Elevating home visiting means elevating parents”. And when parents and families are held closely in mind, they are empowered to create the best possible outcomes for their children.

Learn more about this and other important early childhood practices on the SFTA website.