R.E.W.A.R.D. Wisconsin
(Rewarding Education with Wages And Respect for Dedication)


R.E.W.A.R.D. funding limited: Waiting list started in September 2008. Starting immediately, the number of R.E.W.A.R.D. stipend agreements awarded monthly will be limited. A maximum of 75 R.E.W.A.R.D. stipend agreements will be issued per month. Remaining applicants will be put on a waiting list. For more information, please visit the WECA website on the waiting list procedures.

The Problem

Wisconsin, as well as most states, is experiencing a child care staffing crisis. Programs are not able to find qualified staff to fill positions, requiring programs to close down classrooms, compromise staff/child ratios and sometimes close entire programs due to the staffing shortage. In addition, programs piece together workers to fill positions, which may leave children having multiple teachers and not knowing who their teacher will be on a particular day. The single most important determinant of child care quality is the presence of consistent, sensitive, well-trained and well compensated caregivers. Currently, low compensation, poor benefits and high turnover have led to a nationwide child care staffing crisis. Lack of resources, in conjunction with the need to maintain affordability for parents, make it difficult for individual child care programs to reward or encourage teacher education and provide more competitive salaries.
  • In 15 states (including Wisconsin), parents spend twice as much on child care as they do on public college tuition. (Opening A New Window On Child Care, National Council of Jewish Women, 1999.)
  • The most important predictor of quality child care is staff wages. Child care staff are among the lowest paid workers in the country. (National Women’s Law Center, Washington D.C., 2000.)
  • Wisconsin child care teachers earn an average of $7.50/hour. Most full-time child care providers earn annual incomes of 13,000-15,000. (Opening A New Window On Child Care, National Council of Jewish Women, 1999.)
  • The national child care turnover rate is 31%. (Worthy Work, Unlivable Wages, The National Child Care Staffing Study, 1988-1997, Center for the Child Care Workforce, 1998.)
  • One third of child care staff leave the field each year due primarily to low wages. (National Women’s Law Center, Washington D.C., 2000.)
  • The most highly qualified child care teachers are the least satisfied with their jobs. (Pay, Benefits & Jobs Satisfaction of Wisconsin Child Care Providers & Early Childhood Teachers, 1988.)
  • When (child care) staff are more highly trained and better compensated; children’s activities are of higher quality and caregivers are more responsive and less restrictive. (Child Care Quality: Does it Matter & Does it Need to be Improved, 2000).

The Purpose

Improve child care quality by reducing turnover, retaining staff who have attained identified educational levels and encouraging the continued education of teachers, directors and family child care providers.

The Solution, R.E.W.A.R.D. Wisconsin:

  • Rewards attained education – with supplement award amounts that are based on the level of education an individual has already attained. (See The Registry Career Ladder)
  • Rewards longevity – supplements are distributed after the recipient has completed a continuous commitment period in the same child care setting.
  • Maintains marketplace competition for better salaries – supplements vary based only on education attained, not on wages earned.
  • Integrates with other Education and Compensation Initiatives – R.E.W.A.R.D. Wisconsin builds on and coordinates with T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin. Whereas T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin rewards child care professionals seeking more education and helps them attain it, R.E.W.A.R.D. Wisconsin rewards those who have already attained education and helps keep them in their child care programs.
  • Provides a direct supplement – supplements recognize individual professional development efforts regardless of the work environment and addresses low wages without impacting center budgets, regular wages, or parent fees.
  • Does not increase costs to parents because funding for R.E.W.A.R.D. Wisconsin comes from external sources and goes directly to individual child care providers, families can have the benefit of better educated, more consistent staff without having to pay more.

2011 REWARD Reports

2010 REWARD Reports

2009 REWARD Reports

2008 R.E.W.A.R.D Reports

2007 R.E.W.A.R.D Reports

2006 R.E.W.A.R.D Reports

  • There was not a REWARD program in 2006

2005 R.E.W.A.R.D Reports

2003 R.E.W.A.R.D Reports

2002 R.E.W.A.R.D Reports

2001 R.E.W.A.R.D Reports

Contact Information

Updated November 12, 2014

The Department of Children and Families, protecting children, strengthening families, building communities.