Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities


Wisconsin's Opportunity to Transform Early Care and Education

The Preschool Development Grant - Birth to Five (PDG B-5) is a one-year federal grant which allows Wisconsin to complete a needs assessment and a strategic plan to improve our early care system. The grant focuses on the following activities:

young girl reading a book
Attracting and retaining early childhood education professionals,
Empowering families to make the best choices for their children,
Building regional networks of support,
And, increasing overall quality of early childhood programs.

Through this work, our vision is that by 2023, all Wisconsin families will have access to high-quality, affordable, local early care and education opportunities. By working together – intentionally aligning and improving how we support and serve our youngest children and families – we will help every child succeed and help Wisconsin thrive.

Overview video

Communication resources

Why invest in early care and education?

Governor Evers believes “what’s best for Wisconsin’s kids is what’s best for our state.” To succeed, we need to increase access and quality of early care and education across the state. Access to quality early care and education is not just a Wisconsin problem – states across the nation are struggling with recruiting and retaining early childhood professionals, maintaining affordability for all families, and improving quality standards. Trusted, quality and affordable programs allow parents to fully participate in the workforce and are an investment in families, communities, and the economy.

How can you get involved?

We know we cannot accomplish this alone and eagerly seek input from all partners throughout this process. We are specifically seeking support for the following:

To join our PDG email list, use the subscribe feature below. For ongoing updates on grant activities, please continue to check this page.

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What activities will be completed during the grant period?

Systemic and sustainable structure

Several new structures will allow Wisconsin to incorporate ideas from across the state and across various interest groups. Those include:

  • The Leadership Council on Early Years (LCEY), comprised of state agency heads,
  • The Interagency PDG Workgroup (IPW), comprised of subject area experts who can connect dots across state agencies, and
  • Regional Workgroups, comprised of local stakeholders who represent various community perspectives.

Needs assessment

The focus of this needs assessment is to uncover WI’s birth to five early care and education quality, affordability, accessibility, and workforce measures, needs, and challenges in a comprehensive, equity-focused manner for our most vulnerable, underserved, and rural populations. Specific activities include:

  • Holding regional listening sessions and focus groups to solicit stakeholder input across the state
  • Interviewing and surveying critical stakeholders, families, providers, businesses, and community members, to better understand barriers and solutions

Strategic plan

The final plan will address how to increase the number of children participating in high-quality early childhood programs and prepared to successfully transition to kindergarten, and metrics to measure progress. Specific activities include:

  • Drafting a strategic plan and soliciting feedback through regional feedback sessions
  • Launching a Stakeholder Engagement Campaign to generate strategic plan feedback
  • Hosting a Workforce Summit to connect the dots across early care and education and workforce development

Technical assistance and local investment

To achieve the additional grant areas (expanding parental knowledge and choice, sharing best practices, and improving overall quality), Wisconsin will complete the following activities:

  • Piloting family navigators in culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • Expanding parent engagement programs in each region
  • Providing increased resources to families
  • Investing in social emotional training and support
  • Increasing TEACH scholarships to support the workforce
  • Establishing a young learners Tribal language revitalization initiative
  • Creating a lead remediation fund for providers
  • Piloting a shared services network
  • Funding regional innovation grants to be responsive to unique local needs