PDG Partners

The Preschool Development Grant is a statewide initiative to make lasting changes to the Birth to 5 early childhood state system. Wisconsin will conduct a needs assessment and gather stakeholder feedback to develop a Birth to 5 Strategic Plan – a common agenda to address how all state, regional, and local systems that serve children Birth to 5 will align to produce better outcomes. Direction and leadership comes from the following areas:

  • Wisconsin Governor and First Lady
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Secretary at DCF
  • Leadership Council on Early Years (LCEY) comprised of state agency leaders
  • WI’s Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC)

The following state agencies take leading roles.

Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF)

The Preschool Development Grant is administered by DCF, which serves as PDG’s organizational home. Our department’s vision is that all Wisconsin children and youth are safe and loved members of thriving families and communities. To reach our goal, we are focused on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in our programs and services, focusing on five key priorities:

  • Systematically increasing access to quality early care and education programs that support the needs of children and families statewide
  • Putting families in the center of successful child support and good-paying jobs programs
  • Safely transforming the child welfare and youth justice system to dramatically increase the proportion of children supported in their homes and communities
  • Dedicating additional resources to support vulnerable and historically underserved youth, specifically teenage girls, kids with complex care needs, and youth transitioning out of the foster care system
  • Fostering a workplace where agency staff feel engaged, valued, and connected to our vision

DCF serves children and families through programs including Wisconsin Shares, Family Foundations Home Visiting (in conjunction with DHS), Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, Trauma and Recovery Project, Connections Count and more.

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) advances public education for children (4K-12) and libraries in Wisconsin. Their goal is to ensure that every child graduates ready for further education and the workplace. Led by State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly, DPI administers state and federal laws affecting Wisconsin’s local education agencies. The department manages several state and federal education programs that serve children under 6, including the Wisconsin Head Start State Supplement Grant, Title I- and IDEA-funded programs, and child and community nutrition program.

The DPI is committed to early learners. The DPI serves as a primary partner in administering the PDG. State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly serves as co-chair of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) along with Secretary Amundson of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and is also a member of the Governor’s Leadership Council on Early Years (LCEY). Additionally, the DPI provides over 70 percent of the federal cost sharing/match requirement for Wisconsin’s PDG award.

2020 PDG highlights include the following:

  • Establishment of DPI’s Young Learners Tribal Language Revitalization Initiative through PDG-funded grants to Wisconsin tribes
  • Planning and facilitation of regional listening sessions to gather needs assessment data
  • Development and dissemination of the following resources:
Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)

DHS serves children and families through programs including Part C Early Intervention (Birth to 3 Program), Family Foundations Home Visiting (in conjunction with DCF), Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, Lead-Safe Wisconsin, Seal-A-Smile and more! Along with forming part of the interconnected network of services for young children, DHS also contributes to the grant in other ways. Part of the PDG is identifying an unduplicated count of children 0-5 and the services they received during these critical years. DHS is a vital contributor to this effort.

WI DHS and Lead Remediation Work

Lead exposure and the clean water needs of Wisconsin’s youngest children are a public health issue. Young children are at particular risk from lead exposure, even at low levels. Their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults. Many young children spend a lot of time in child care settings. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), child care facilities may have a higher potential for elevated lead levels in their drinking water. This is usually due to being closed over weekends, holidays, and extended breaks. During these breaks, lead in pipes and other fixtures can leach into the water.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) are working together to help fix this issue for our early care and education (ECE) centers. Funding from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN) Grant from the EPA is used to test water in licensed group ECE facilities for lead contamination. Then, based on test results, PDG funding is used to carry out lead remediation services. These services may include filter installation and maintenance, replacing lead fixtures, and providing bottled water and/or clean water filling stations.

This program piloted in Rock County in 2021 and expanded statewide last year. This program has helped many child care centers reduce harmful lead contamination, making them safer for children. This is the program’s impact as of the end of February 2023:

  • 135 centers are enrolled in the program
    • 86 have completed at least one round of testing
    • 64 have completed the program
    • 13 require/required full replacement of at least one water fixture
      • Replacement is complete in seven of these centers
    • 1,714 separate water samples have been processed by the state lab
    • A maximum of 6,012 children (determined by each center’s reported maximum capacity) have been served.

24 local public health departments (LPHDs) have signed contracts to coordinate the program within their jurisdictions. And even more are awaiting approval! Approved LPHDs are:

  1. Appleton Health Department
  2. Ashland County Health Department
  3. Barron County Health Department
  4. Bayfield County Health Department
  5. City of Madison, Dane County Public Health Department
  6. City of Milwaukee Health Department
  7. Cudahy Health Department
  8. Dodge County Health Department
  9. Douglas County Health Department
  10. Dunn County Health Department
  11. Eau Claire City-County Health Department
  12. Jefferson County Health Department
  13. Lafayette County Health Department
  14. North Shore Health Department
  15. Oconto County Health Department
  16. Racine County Health Department
  17. Rock County Health Department (program completed)
  18. Sauk County Health Department
  19. Croix County Health Department
  20. Walworth County Health Department (program completed)
  21. Washburn County Health Department
  22. Waupaca County Health Department
  23. Winnebago County Health Department
  24. Wood County Health Department

It is important to note that in Wisconsin, lead paint is also a significant source of lead poisoning. DHS provides many lead poisoning prevention programs and resources for ECE providers. Click here for more information about the Lead-Safe Homes Program and the Choose Safe Places Program. Click here for a flyer providing guidance for child care providers regarding lead-based paint hazards in child care settings.

PDG Partners

The following organizations and programs have partnered to support the PDG. Click on each partner to learn more.

Comments? Questions? Email wipdg@wisconsin.gov