Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

Child Care Resources and Organizations

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All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department of Children and Families does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.  An Early Care and Education Resource Listing (PDF) and a list of Early Childhood Acronyms & Abbreviations (PDF) are also available for printing. 

Administration and Management

Organizational and business management for quality programming and services

Bureau of Early Care Regulation (BECR) - Information on statewide licensure of Wisconsin’s child care facilities (including family child care, group child care and day camps).  The purpose is to promote the health, safety and welfare of children in licensed child care.

Certification - Child Care - Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Division of Early Care and Education.

Child Care & Early Education Research Connections - Promotes high quality research in child care and early education. Offers research and data resources – including a continually updated, free, and searchable collection of research reports – for researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and others.

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agencies - With support and funding from the Department of Children and Families, CCR&Rs around the state provide high quality, low cost training and technical assistance on virtually all aspects of child care, in a variety of formats and in multiple languages.

Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System - This system of Early Childhood National Centers for Training and Technical Assistance promotes excellence in early childhood and afterschool care through high-quality, practical information, tools, training, and other supports.

Email Subscription List - Includes email subscription lists for child care subsidy, certification, manual and provider updates.

Family Child Care Business Center - Tom Copeland, the nation's leading expert on the business of family child care, offers guidance to providers, agencies that support providers, and tax professionals.

Licensing - Child Care - Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Bureau of Early Care Regulation.

National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) - A non-profit professional association that represents all human care licensing. The number of children and vulnerable adults in out-of-home care is at an all-time high and still growing. NARA provides guidance for their protection.

National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance - The ECQA Center supports state and community leaders and their partners in the planning and implementation of rigorous approaches to quality in all early care and education settings for children from birth to school age.

National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) - Supports early childhood education initiatives by providing objective, nonpartisan information based on research.

The Registry - A career level system which awards a certificate verifying that an individual has met all State of Wisconsin, Department of Children and Family Services entry level training and is qualified for the position that s/he holds.

REWARD - Rewarding Education with Wages and Respect for Dedication - Stipend Program is a compensation and retention initiative for members of the early care and education workforce.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood WISCONSIN - Teacher Education and Compensation Helps - A statewide scholarship program designed to help child care center teaching staff, Head Start teachers, family child care providers, center directors and administrators meet their professional development goals while continuing their current employment in regulated early childhood and school-age care settings.

Wisconsin Child Care Administrator's Association - Founded in 1976 to help child care administrators in Wisconsin network with each other, spread the news about issues affecting them, take joint action on advocacy issues, and help administrators find out about classes and training specifically designed to meet their needs.

Wisconsin Circuit Court Access - Gives access to certain public records of the circuit courts of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection - Agency is responsible for food safety, animal and plant health, protecting water and soil and monitoring fair and safe business practices.

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, Division of Industry Services - Safety and Building Code information available in multiple formats, sorted by:  Safety and Building Programs, Safety and Building Topics, and Safety and Building Code Chapter.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) - Operation of two programs that benefit child care providers who are looking for additional funding.

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program - Wisconsin Shares is Wisconsin's child care subsidy program that helps families pay for child care.

Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) - An economic development corporation providing quality business education and access to capital for entrepreneurs.

YoungStar for Providers - YoungStar helps Wisconsin’s child care providers succeed by offering a clear path to improvement, including training programs, technical assistance, micro-grants, an objective measure of program quality, and other resources.

Child Development

Child growth and development, valuing each child as an individual with unique biology, interests, needs, potential, and relationships

Extension Initiative - Practical information about children and child care, sponsored by the Cooperative Extension System.

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute - FPG generates knowledge, informs policies, and supports practices to promote positive developmental and educational outcomes for children of all backgrounds and abilities from the earliest years.

University of Oregon Brain Development Lab - Changing Brains video explains how and when experience shapes the development of a child’s brain. 

Zero to Three - A nonprofit, multidisciplinary organization that advances the mission to inform, educate and support adults who influence the lives of infants and toddlers.

Diversity

The unique nature of every individual and family including, but not limited to, culture, national origin, language, family structure, disability, religious beliefs, economic status, and child-rearing practices

¡Colorín Colorado! - This national multimedia project offers a wealth of bilingual, research-based information, activities, and advice for educators and families of English language learners (ELLs).

Teaching Tolerance - Classroom resources that respect and appreciate diversity, searchable by topic and grade level (pre-k through 12th).

Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners: About Diversity - Resources focused on homelessness and poverty, dual language learners, and Wisconsin tribal nations, selected to help us understand and honor diversity and provide services in a culturally and linguistically responsive manner.

Family and Community Relationships

Partnerships and collaboration between families and agencies/organizations to meet child and family needs

ACCESS - Wisconsin’s easy-to-use online application tool for FoodShare, Health Care, Family Planning, and Child Care assistance.  It takes about an hour to apply for child care assistance online.

Administration for Children & Families - Promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities with partnerships, funding, guidance, training and technical assistance.

Black Child Development Institute (BCDI) – Milwaukee Affiliate.  BCDI’s mission is to improve and protect the quality of life of African American children and families.

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) - A national nonprofit organization that conducts research, policy analysis, technical assistance and advocacy on issues related to economic security for low income families with children.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) - Printable outreach materials help working parents claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and file their taxes for free.

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agencies - Help for parents to sort through child care options and assist them in selecting quality child care.

Division of Early Care and Education (DECE) - This Division of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) aims to provide access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education experiences, to enhance our children's development and to support their families in work and parenting roles.

Foster Parent Guide - The Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy helps eligible families with the cost of quality child care while parents – or persons taking the place of parents – work, go to school and work, or engage in a job training activity. The Foster Parent Guide tells how to apply and maintain eligibility for the subsidy. (This guide is not currently available.)

Office of Child Care - Part of the Administration for Children & Families, the OCC supports low-income working families through child care financial assistance and promotes children's learning by improving the quality of early care and education and afterschool programs.

Quality Child Care Initiatives - Help parents find and select child care, develop new child care services where needed, support and help sustain existing child care services, identify local child care needs and resources, and provide public information about child care.

UMOS Migrant Child Care Program - A DCF-funded program that collaborates with Migrant and Seasonal Head Start to serve migrant children throughout Wisconsin.

W-2 (Wisconsin Works) Employment Services for Parents - W-2 helps parents prepare for work. Find information about Job Access Loans, Transitional Jobs, and Transform Milwaukee Jobs.

W-2 (Wisconsin Works) Supportive Services for Parents - Read about the many supportive services available to low-income parents, and low-income individuals without children, across Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Council on Children and Families - A nonprofit, multi-issue child and family advocacy agency.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners - Represents many public and private agencies, associations, and individuals that care about our state's young children and their families.

Wisconsin Shares Parent Information - Wisconsin Shares is Wisconsin's child care subsidy program that helps families pay for child care.

YoungStar for Parents - In-depth information on each program YoungStar rates – including their hours, location, accreditation, evaluation history, and any regulatory violations they’ve received – plus helpful resources about early childhood education, nutrition, healthy brain development, and much more.

Family Systems and Dynamics

Complex and diverse family relationships, dynamics, and systems

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning - Resources for Families - CSEFEL’s many resources help families of children birth to age 5 promote their children's social emotional competence, and prevent and address challenging behavior.

Family Resource Centers (FRCs) - FRCs located all over the state provide services and support systems that emphasize and build on family strengths. 

HealthyChildren.org - Family Dynamics - Articles on family relationships from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

NAEYC for Families - Many helpful resources for families of young children, including a collection of children’s songs, from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Strengthening Families - An innovative, research-based strategy to prevent child maltreatment by building on the strong relationships that parents of young children typically have with their child care providers.

Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) - Provides parent support and support for groups that promote quality care, resources and education to enrich the lives of children.

Guidance and Nurturing

Supportive strategies for encouraging social/emotional development and addressing challenging behaviors; the influence of temperament and emotional regulation capacity on children’s behavior

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning - A national center focused on strengthening the capacity of child care and Head Start programs to improve the social and emotional outcomes of young children.

Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) - TACSEI’s many helpful resources translate research findings into actual, everyday practices caregivers can understand and use to improve social-emotional outcomes for young children with, or at risk for, delays or disabilities.

Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH) - Focused on promoting healthy social and emotional development of all Wisconsin children birth through age five.

Health, Safety, and Nutrition

Supports that promote children’s health, safety, nutrition, physical activity, and adaptations for special needs in partnership with families

Allergy and Asthma Network - Organization working to provide outreach, education, advocacy and research on asthma, allergies and related conditions.

American Lung Association - The mission of the American Lung Association is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health.

BadgerCare Plus - A health care coverage program for low-income Wisconsin residents. 

Carbon Monoxide - The Wisconsin Poison Center tells how to Take Control of Carbon Monoxide in Your Home.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDC collaborates to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health - through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board - An organization committed to mobilizing research and practices to prevent child maltreatment in Wisconsin.

Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Program (CYSHCN) - Provides grants to promote care for Wisconsin children and youth with special health care needs and their families.

Communicable Diseases - Information from the Department of Health Services.

Drinking Water - Information from the Department of Natural Resources.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also gives details on Home Water Testing and reducing lead in drinking water in schools and child care facilities.

Early Childhood Health and Wellness - The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW) uses this portal to share resources and best practices with early childhood educators, health care professionals, and families.  Through the Center, many organizations work together to develop comprehensive and coordinated health and wellness services in early childhood education settings.

Food Program - Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) - Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Community Nutrition Programs.  Children in child care settings have access to healthy meals and snacks through the CACFP.

FoodShare Wisconsin - Helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health.  Serves people of all ages who have a job but have low incomes, are living on a small or fixed income, have lost their job, retired or are disabled and not able to work. 

HealthyChildren.org - American Academy of Pediatrics - The AAP promotes pediatrics and advances child health priorities in a variety of ways.  This website brings together a great deal of helpful information for parents and providers.   

Lead-Safe Wisconsin - Department of Health Services, Lead-Poisoning Prevention.

National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health - Serves as a central source of information on sudden infant death and on promoting healthy outcomes for infants from the prenatal period through the first year of life and beyond.

National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education - To promote health and safety in out-of-home child care settings throughout the nation.

Poison Proof Your Home - Advice from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  If you suspect that you or someone you know has been poisoned, immediately call the toll-free Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin - Builds community resources and provides training and advocacy to strengthen child abuse prevention efforts in Wisconsin, to stop child abuse and neglect before it occurs. 

Public Health Departments - Contact information for local public health departments.

Recalls - Children’s product recalls and advice to help keep kids safe, from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect - Contact information for county social/human services departments.

Safe to Sleep - This campaign has been successful in promoting infant back sleeping to parents, family members, child care providers, health professionals, and all other caregivers of infants.

Sex Offender Registry - Free national US search for registered sex offenders.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) Prevention - SBS is a form of child abuse that happens when an infant or small child is violently shaken. SBS injuries can result in death or permanent neurologic disability. Wisconsin child care providers and preschool teachers must attend an approved training on SBS Prevention. The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome offers additional resources.

Text4Baby - A free mobile text messaging service that provides pregnant women and new moms with information to help them care for their health and give their babies the best possible start in life.

Transportation - Information on Child Safety Seats from the Department of Transportation and Child Safety Alarms in Child Care Vehicles from the Department of Children and Families.

United Cerebral Palsy - UCP and its local affiliates educate, advocate, and provide support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) - Charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction.

U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Healthy Child Care - The EPA provides information on how to identify potentially harmful environmental contaminants in child care settings and steps to take to reduce or eliminate those hazards.

Weather Watch - Document about the wind-chill factor and the heat index.

WIC Program - The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, supplemental nutritious foods, and referrals to other health and nutrition services to nutritionally at-risk pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children.

Wisconsin Immunization Program - Wisconsin Division of Public Health Immunization Program, in partnership and collaboration with local partners, strives to eliminate the transmission of vaccine preventable disease through effective immunization programs and outbreak control measures.

Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) - A computerized Internet database application that was developed to record and track immunization dates of Wisconsin's children and adults, providing assistance for keeping everyone on track for their recommended immunizations.

Learning Experiences, Strategies, and Curriculum

Learning environments, experiences, and adaptive strategies that support families and meet each child’s needs, capabilities, and interests

Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) - The CCBC helps providers and others choose the best possible books for children and young adults.

Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) - Agencies provide leadership and coordination of services for school districts. 

Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) - Effective, evidence-based resources and teaching practices for early childhood care and education.

Public School Kindergarten - All public elementary schools include 5-year-old kindergarten and may include 4-year-old kindergarten programs.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Project Learning Tree - Early Childhood Activity Guide and Music/Movement CD - Educational designed materials to teach kids how to think, not what to think, about environmental issues.

Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) - Derived from research in all the domains of the child's early learning and development, these Standards apply to all settings in which children receive care and education from birth through entrance to first grade.  They include developmental continuums, sample behaviors of children, and sample strategies for adults. 

Observation, Screening, and Assessment

Appropriate tools and methods for understanding child interactions, knowledge, and skills, as a means to support the child’s development and make appropriate referrals for further evaluation

Act Early Wisconsin - Information on screening children for disabilities.

Child Assessment - Resources selected by Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners.

Developmental Screening - Information and resources compiled by the Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners Healthy Children Committee.

Planning, Reflection, and Evaluation

Examining one’s own thoughts, attitudes, feelings, actions, strengths, and challenges, and applying increased knowledge, skills, and dispositions when providing high-quality programs and services

Child Care Information Center (CCIC) - A mail-order lending library and information clearinghouse serving anyone in Wisconsin working in the field of child care and early childhood education.

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agencies - With support and funding from the Department of Children and Families, CCR&Rs around the state provide high quality, low cost training and technical assistance on virtually all aspects of child care, in a variety of formats and in multiple languages.

Early Childhood Career Guide - This Guide provides an overview of early childhood career opportunities in Wisconsin, a summary of key programs and resources, definitions of common terms, and a framework for individualized professional development planning.

Early Educator Central - Responsive teachers help strengthen the brains of babies and toddlers. Early Educator Central provides online courses for a nominal fee or free for child care teachers, administrators, trainers, and professional development system leaders.

Professional Development Counseling Service - All Wisconsin providers are welcome to participate in free Professional Development Counseling, regardless of experience or educational background.

The Registry Career Levels - Chart details the education needed to reach each of the 17 Career Levels.

The Registry Credentials - The seven Credentials awarded by The Registry are: Administrator, Afterschool & Youth Development, Family Child Care, Inclusion, Infant/Toddler, Leadership, Preschool, and Program Development.  Each Credential is earned by taking a sequence of 4 to 6 specific, credit-based, college courses developed by The Registry and teams of experts to meet the unique professional needs of childhood care and education practitioners.

Statewide Training Calendar - The statewide, profession-wide, free, web-based interactive training calendar for anyone in the field of child care and education in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Core Competencies for Professionals Working with Young Children & Their Families - Expectations for what the workforce should know (content) and be able to do (skills) in a respectful and competent manner (attitudes) in their roles working with and/or on behalf of children and their families. The Core Competencies are organized under 12 Content Areas.

Wisconsin Technical College System, Early Childhood Education - This two-year Associate Degree program teaches students to implement developmentally-appropriate activities for children aged infant through eight years old, maintain a safe and healthy environment, build relationships with parents and staff, and guide children's behavior.

Wisconsin Training and Technical Assistance Professional (T-TAP) Competencies for Early Childhood and Related Professionals Working with Adults - Specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions for those who provide training, mentoring, coaching, consultation, professional development counseling, and peer-to-peer technical assistance to the general early childhood workforce.

Professionalism

Working with children and families in a professional, reflective manner; participating as a collaborative partner with other professionals; utilizing strategies to evaluate program outcomes

Council for Professional Recognition - The Council's mission is to emphasize the importance and increase the recognition of professionals who care for children from birth through five years of age in child care center, family child care homes, and as home visitors.

National AfterSchool Association - The mission of this association is to be the leading voice of the after-school profession dedicated to the development, education, and care of children and youth during their out-of-school hours.

National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) - Promotes high-quality family child care through accreditation, leadership training, technical assistance, public education, and policy initiatives.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - Nation's largest professional association for early childhood educators, NAEYC works to raise the quality of programs for all children from birth through age eight.

National Head Start Association (NHSA) - A private not-for-profit membership organization dedicated exclusively to meeting the needs of Head Start children and their families.

Professional Development Approval System (PDAS) - An approval process that has been developed to assure that instructors are qualified and competent in their areas of instruction and that the training has quality content.

Wisconsin AfterSchool Association - Provides a professional network for all providers of out-of-school time programs serving the diverse needs of Wisconsin's children and families.

Wisconsin Afterschool Network (WAN) - A public/private partnership of local and state organizations committed to high quality afterschool programs.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) - A statewide, nonprofit organization serving as a professional association whose members care for and educate Wisconsin's children, ages birth to eight.

Wisconsin Family Child Care Association (WFCCA) - A statewide organization of family child care providers and their supporters formed to provide support, involvement, and communication with others in the profession.

Wisconsin Head Start Association (WHSA) - A private not for profit membership organization representing more than 16,000 children, upwards of 3,000 staff and 54 Head Start programs in Wisconsin.

Special Needs, Disabilities, and Inclusive Practices

Values, policies, and practices that support the right of every child and family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society

ADA and Child Care - The U.S. Department of Justice answers Commonly Asked Questions about Child Care Centers and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Birth to 3 Program - Wisconsin's early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities and their families.

Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Program  - This program works to assure that children and youth with special health care needs are identified early, receive high quality coordinated care, and receive, with their families, the supports they need.

Early Childhood Inclusion - These YoungStar web pages provide tips and resources to help child care providers and families create inclusive environments for children with special needs and disabilities and their typically developing peers.

Early Childhood Special Education - Special education services to Wisconsin children with identified disabilities, ages three to 21.

ECTA Center (Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center) - The ECTA Center organizes papers and presentations on many topics related to inclusion, early intervention, and early childhood special education in order to improve systems, practices, and child outcomes.

VSA Wisconsin Early Childhood Program - The mission of VSA is to expand the capabilities, confidence and quality of life for individuals with disabilities by providing programs in the fine arts. Professional teaching artists work for 10 weeks in classrooms that have children with disabilities, or serve a high at-risk population, to actively engage children aged 3 to 6 in multi-sensory activities in music, drama, visual art, or creative movement. 

Waisman Center - One of 14 national centers dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about human development and developmental disabilities through research and practice.

WI FACETS - Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training & Support, Inc. (WI FACETS) is a nonprofit organization serving Wisconsin children and adults with disabilities, their families and those who support them.

Wisconsin Division for Early Childhood (WDEC) - One of seventeen divisions of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) - the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted.

Wisconsin First Step - A statewide information and referral service to assist Wisconsin families and providers working with children and youth with special needs.  You may chat online from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday‒Friday.