PDG Needs Assessment and Sandbox

children in sandbox

Needs Assessments

The PDG Needs Assessment was developed through a systematic process for determining “needs.” Needs are defined as the "gaps" between baseline conditions impacting the lives of Wisconsin’s children and families and the desired conditions or "wants." WI took a multi-pronged approach with our PDG Needs Assessment by reviewing existing baseline data, collaborating with cross-agency partners, conducting targeted interviews with individuals from diverse backgrounds, and much more. View all of our needs assessments and other resources in the table below.

Research and Reports

The resources listed below are the results of research and grant activities that contributed to the development of the needs assessments.

Title Author Date
Project Growth Overview DCF, KW2 October 2022
Partner Up! Program Evaluation: April 2023 DCF, KW2 April 2023
Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Eligibility in Wisconsin Urban Institute December 2019
2020 Needs Assessment Summary DCF October 2020
Listening Session Summary Report DCF October 2020

Early Childhood Health Consultation Program

UW-Madison Department of Pediatrics December 2020

Qualitative Interviews of Underserved Populations in Wisconsin Early care and Education

Summary handouts to accompany the report:

UW-Madison Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies December 2020
Changes in Wisconsin Shares Receipt from 2008-2018 Memo Institute For Research on Poverty January 2021
Changes in Regulated Child Care Capacity in Wisconsin 2005-2019 Memo Institute For Research on Poverty January 2021
Findings and Recommendations Report for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. A review of YoungStar Evaluation Criteria: Group Child Care 2020/2021 WIDA Early Years April 2021
2021 Needs Assessment  DCF July 2021
PDG Application (2019) DCF February 2020
PDG Renewal Application (2020) DCF January 2021

Wisconsin Early Care and Education Workforce Study

DCF, Center on Wisconsin Strategy, Institute for Research on Poverty, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, and UW-Madison Survey Center December 2021

Wisconsin Employer Perceptions of Early Care and Education Research

DCF, WEDC, and KW2 February 2022
Risk and Reach Website DCF, IRP, APL, DPI, and DHS March 2022
2022 Needs Assessment  UW Whitewater June 2022
Doing What's Best for Our Kids: PDG January 2021-June 2022 DCF November 2022
Caregiver Survey Findings Summary IRP, DCF June 2023

Promising Practices Supporting  Early Childhood Transitions

UW-Madison Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies March 2024


Just as children learn best through play, adults also need to dig, explore and try out different tools. Our team is on a mission to build a “research sandbox” big enough for all of us to find answers to our questions, notice trends, encounter new information we had never considered and dream up opportunities to grow.

Below, you will find a series of data dashboards allowing early care and education professionals, community leaders, and policy makers the opportunity to play with data in a virtual sandbox. This research:

  • Describes the range of programs and services that make up Wisconsin’s ECE landscape.
  • Can be used to support strategic planning, draft realistic and measurable goals, and drive objectives for local and statewide innovation projects.

Get Started!

Health, Employment, Education, and Poverty Data 

health, employment, education, poverty dashboard image

Explore the interactive county and regional data on health, employment, education and poverty.

Accessibility, Affordability, Quality, and Workforce Data Dashboard

accessibility, affordability, quality, workforce dashboard image

Learn how Wisconsin counties are affected by accessibility, affordability, quality and workforce within a context of equity and inclusion.

Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program Data Dashboard

child care counts covid19 emergency payment program dashboard image

Check out the data on how many providers were helped by the Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program.

Comments? Questions? Email wipdg@wisconsin.gov