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. 

See the Resource Guide for Families

Administration and Management

Organizational and business management for quality programming and services

Bureau of Early Care Regulation (BECR) - Information on statewide licensure and certification 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 regulated child care.

Certification - Wisconsin Administrative Code DCF 202 establishes standards for the certification of persons who provide child care for 1 to 3 children under age 7 unrelated to the provider. DCF contracts certification functions to local counties and tribes. BECR administers certification in Milwaukee County.

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 Counts - A 2020-2023 series of Department of Children and Families payment programs to support Wisconsin's regulated child care providers.

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. CCR&Rs help families find child care and other supports, and they help communities find information, data and solutions.

Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System (ECTTAS) - 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 - DCF uses this email list to communicate updates on general child care topics, YoungStar and child care quality improvement, Wisconsin Shares and the MyWIChildCare program, professional development opportunities, child care certification and licensing memos and updates, and other child care topics.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS) - These four scales - for early childhood, infant/toddler, family child care, and school-age care environments - are the tools most widely used to observe and measure the overall quality of early care and education programs.

Licensing - The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Bureau of Early Care Regulation, is responsible for the licensing and ongoing monitoring of child care centers.

National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) - A non-profit professional association that represents all human care licensing. NARA provides guidance for the protection of children and vulnerable adults in out-of-home care.

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.

REWARD Wisconsin Stipend Program (Rewarding Education with Wages and Respect for Dedication) - This compensation and retention initiative for members of the early care and education workforce provides them with salary supplements based on their educational attainments and longevity in the field.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood WISCONSIN (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) - This statewide scholarship program helps 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.

Tom Copeland's Taking Care of Business - Tom Copeland, the nation's leading expert on the business of family child care, offers guidance to providers, trainers, and tax preparers.

U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division - Fact Sheet #46: Daycare Centers and Preschools Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) - Fact sheet providing general information on how the FLSA applies to child care centers and preschools.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs. It provides counseling, capital, contracting expertise, and online training as the nation's go-to resource and voice for small businesses.

Wisconsin Child Care Administrator's Association (WCCAA) - 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 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 - DSPS-DIS sets standards, reviews plans, and performs inspections for commercial buildings and makes safety and Commercial Building Code information available in multiple formats.

Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network (WEESSN) - Brings together family and group child care programs to pool resources and leverage economies of scale for technological advancements, centralized processing, business supports, joint purchasing, shared staff, and pedagogical leadership. NEW -  The Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network (WEESSN) is expanding. Anyone can now join Tier 1 for FREE! Learn more on WECA's website.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) - WHEDA’s Small Business Guarantee can assist in the expansion or acquisition of a small business or assist in the start-up of a child care business which may be owned by an individual, a partnership, a corporation, a non-profit organization, or a cooperative.

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

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program - Wisconsin Shares is Wisconsin's child care subsidy program that helps working 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, an objective measure of program quality, and other resources.

Brochures on Various Child Care Topics

Below is a list of the child care brochures produced by DCF.

Child Development and Parenting

Plain Talk for Parents

Early Childhood Inclusion 

Health and Safety 

Selecting and Evaluating Early Care and Education 

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy 

YoungStar Provider Brochure 

Building Construction and Renovations

DCF has compiled this list of key, state-level resources that may be available to assist child care programs locate resources for “bricks and mortar” construction and major renovations. DCF does not guarantee fit or eligibility; the program must do the research to determine availability, eligibility and appropriateness.

Note: DCF child care quality programming is funded with federal CCDF funds, which may not be used for construction or major renovation projects. As defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDF), construction means the erection of a facility that does not currently exist; and major renovation means: (1) structural changes to the foundation, roof, floor, exterior or load-bearing walls of a facility, or the extension of a facility to increase its floor area; or (2) extensive alteration of a facility such as to significantly change its function and purpose, even if such renovation does not include any structural change. See 45 CFR §98.2 and 45 CFR §98.56.

Tribal Child Care: CCDF funds may be used for tribal child care construction or major renovation projects, with prior federal approval. To obtain such approvals, Tribal Lead Agencies must work with their federal CCDF agent and follow the federal application process as outlined in CCDF-ACF-PI-2013-01, “Construction and Renovation Procedures for Indian Tribes.”

Wisconsin Small Business Development Center

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center is a statewide network supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and business education. Regional SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful new enterprises. SBDC business consultants have the knowledge, tools and connections to help you start, manage and grow a small business. Areas of assistance offered include business planning, loans and financing, and management and strategic planning. Connect with a consultant at a location near you: or call their Business AnswerLine at (800) 940-7232.

Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Community Development Programs

The primary purpose of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is to support the development of viable communities by providing decent affordable housing, a suitable living environment, and the expansion of economic opportunities, principally for the benefit of persons of low and moderate income.

CDBG Economic Development grant funds are awarded to local governments to assist businesses to create or retain jobs for individuals with low and moderate incomes. Examples of eligible projects include: business loans to expand facilities or purchase equipment, specialized employee training, or business infrastructure projects. Interested businesses should work with their local economic development agency (contacts listed on website) to determine eligibility.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)

WHEDA’s mission is to stimulate the state’s economy and improve the quality of life for Wisconsin residents. WHEDA offers a diverse range of business financing programs designed to stimulate Wisconsin's economy, promote economic development in urban and rural areas, and maximize community impact through the creation and retention of living wage jobs. Available primarily to small businesses and farms, these programs are intended to provide essential financing through public and private partnerships with Wisconsin lenders and investors. Resources available include a suite of business financing products, New Markets Tax Credits, and the WHEDA/LRC Wisconsin Business Opportunity Fund and a partnership with Rural LISC. Interested businesses should contact their regional Business & Community Engagement Officer.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

Economic development programs offer funding, resources and training to WI businesses. The WEDC offers business development loan, grants and tax credits. Businesses should contact their regional economic development director for personalized support and information on these programs.

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)

Certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, 22 CDFI organizations in Wisconsin provide a variety of financial services and affordable lending in under-served markets. Loan products include business financing, home ownership and home rehabilitation as well as community economic development financing for the development of affordable housing and community facilities. CDFIs often partner with conventional lenders. Contact the CDFI closest to your business to learn more about available loan products in your area.

Child Development

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

Your Child's Development - DCF Tip Sheet (PDF) - Observing your child's development and the importance of developmental screenings.

CDC's Developmental Milestones - Checklists that show parents the things most children from 2 months through 5 years old can do by a certain age, a free Milestone Tracker mobile app to download, a Milestones in Action photo and video library, and advice to act early if you are concerned about a child’s development. 

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University - The Center conducts scientific research about early childhood. The video and text resources it creates are used to develop more effective policies and services for children facing adversity, allowing them to reach their full developmental potential.

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 works to ensure that babies and toddlers benefit from the early connections that are critical to their well-being and development.


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).

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

NAEYC Advancing Equity Initiative - The Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education Position Statement plus articles, reports, websites and videos focused primarily on supporting educators in teaching for equity.

WIDA - WIDA provides language development resources to those who support the academic success of multilingual learners.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners: Diverse Populations - Resources focused on diversity and equity, homelessness and poverty, multilingual 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) - Get It Back Campaign - Printable outreach materials help working parents claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and file their taxes for free.

Child Care Aware® of America - Works with Child Care Resource and Referral agencies nationwide. Leads projects, does research, advocates, and offers web resources to improve the quality and availability of child care.

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. CCR&R Contacts Map

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.

Kids Forward (formerly Wisconsin Council on Children and Families) - A nonprofit, multi-issue child and family advocacy agency.

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.

Preschool Development Grant - Birth to Five (PDG B-5) - This federal grant invests $30 million in Wisconsin from 2021-23. The Birth to 5 Statewide Strategic Plan sets a framework within which educators, families, and state, regional, local and tribal communities build networks of support and use the areas of workforce, access, affordability, and quality to evaluate and transform early care and education in Wisconsin, while pursuing equity and inclusion.

ParentPowered - With DCF funding, this family engagement curriculum delivers short text messages each week to Wisconsin families that sign themselves up or are signed up by their preschools. The text messages give families fun facts and easy tips on how to promote their children's development by building on existing family routines.

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 and find employment. W-2 services include Job Access Loans, Transitional Jobs, and Transform Milwaukee Jobs.

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

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 - The Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program assists families with a portion of child care costs while parents are working or participating in activities that will lead to work and economic self-sufficiency.

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.

Five for Families - This website uses videos and other resources to tell families about 5 Strengths to build on to help prepare for life’s challenges. - 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™ Protective Factors Framework - A strengths-based, evidence-informed approach child care providers and others can take in their everyday interactions with families to enhance the well-being of children while reducing the risk of child maltreatment.

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 for Healthy Minds, UW-Madison - The Center's free Kindness Curriculum and other practices for children – along with insights and tools to improve the well-being of people of all backgrounds and ages – grow out of the Center's rigorous scientific research rooted in neuroscience.

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.

Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning & Development (CHILD) - The CHILD is a comprehensive toolkit for improving the quality of early childhood care and education. It includes an observational measure of classroom climate; resources for teachers; and materials for early childhood mental health consultants, coaches, and others who provide support and professional development to teachers.

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) - Funded by the Office of Special Education Programs to assist states and child care programs in creating sustainable systems for implementing the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children within early intervention and early education programs.

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

Wisconsin Pyramid Model - A multi-leveled system of support to enhance social and emotional competence in infants, toddlers, and young children and prevent challenging behaviors.

Health, Safety, and Nutrition

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

Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Prevention – AHT, including Shaken Baby Syndrome, is a serious type of head injury caused by shaking, throwing, hitting, slamming, or jerking. AHT injuries can result in death or permanent neurologic disability. Wisconsin child care providers and preschool teachers must attend an approved training on AHT/SBS Prevention. The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome offers additional resources.

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.

Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs (CFOC) - Standards published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and maintained and updated online by the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC). 

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’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) - CEHN's Eco-Healthy Child Care® Program offers fact sheets, FAQs, reports, and a resource toolkit to help child care professionals eliminate environmental hazards found in or around child care facilities. CEHN's e-learning course Eco-Healthy Child Care - Protecting Children's Environmental Health is accessible through The Registry. 

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.

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. - 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 - Childhood lead poisoning prevention information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services includes Guidance for Child Care Providers Regarding Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Child Care Settings.

National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (NCHBHS) - Shares 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.

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.

Rooted - Offers farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) resources to increase access to healthy, local foods, gardening opportunities, and food-based activities in early childhood settings.

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 were required to attend an approved training on SBS Prevention until it was replaced by an Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Training on September 1, 2020. The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome offers additional resources.

SIDS Risk Reduction - The Safe to Sleep® Campaign provides materials to help reduce the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by promoting infant back sleeping and other safe sleep practices to all who care for infants. clearly explains how to Reduce the Risk of SIDS & Suffocation.  

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.

Well Badger Resource Center - The Well Badger Resource Center provides health-related information and referral services to individuals, families, and health professionals throughout Wisconsin by phone, email, text message, live chat, or Facebook messenger and through its up-to-date online directory of thousands of available health and social service resources throughout the state.

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 - The 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. 

EEK! Environmental Education for Kids - Upper-elementary and middle school children explore and learn about Wisconsin's ecology and natural resources through the outdoor activities, games and videos on this lively website.

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

Mizzen by Mott - This app inspires and sparks learning in young people by combining challenging activities from premier organizations with powerful program management tools. Supported by the Mott Foundation, Mizzen is available free to afterschool professionals. 

Project Learning Tree, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, UW-Stevens Point - Early Childhood Activity Guide and Music/Movement CD - Teacher workshops and educational materials use trees and forests to teach kids how to think, not what to think, about environmental issues.

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

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.

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! - Toolkit includes materials from many federal agencies including A Compendium of Screening Measures for Young Children describing 11 screening tools that meet the quality criteria of tool accuracy, inclusion of family input, and inclusion of social and emotional development.

Observing Your Child's Development - YoungStar webpage with links to resources on developmental observation, screening, assessment, and referral.

Screening & Assessment - Information and resources compiled by the Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners.

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 the field of early care and education and afterschool care in Wisconsin.

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 Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) - A wealth of informative, engaging, well-organized, written and video resources developed specifically for Head Start programs, early care and education programs, and families.

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.

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

Wisconsin Registry Credentials - The 11 Credentials awarded by The Registry are: Afterschool & Youth Development, Family Child Care, Infant Toddler, Preschool, Administrator, Leadership, Program Development, Diversity, Inclusion, Nature-Based Early Childhood Education, and Supporting Dual Language Learners. 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.

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.


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 - This Council sets the competency standards for the national Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential and awards it to qualified professionals who care for children from birth through five years of age in child care centers, 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. The Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association is the Wisconsin state affiliate.

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 developed to assure that trainers and technical consultants are qualified and competent in their areas of instruction and that the training has quality content.

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

Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association (WCCAA) - Membership organization through which child care administrators network, share news, advocate, find training, and work with government officials. WCCAA is the state affiliate of the National AfterSchool Association.

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 15,000 children, upwards of 4,000 staff, and 39 Head Start grantees operating 286 center locations in Wisconsin in 2019.

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.

Arts for All - Arts for All expands the capabilities, confidence, and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities by providing programs in dance, drama, creative writing, music and visual art. It places professional teaching artists in 5-10 week residencies in preschool and afterschool programs.

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

Child Care Resource & Referral Contacts Map (Contact for assistance in finding child care providers in your community.)

Disability Rights Wisconsin - Helps people with disabilities gain access to services and opportunity through its advocacy and legal expertise. The publication A Thinking Guide to Inclusive Childcare for Those Who Care about Young Children with and without Disabilities is available copyright-free on its website.

Early Childhood Inclusion - These YoungStar web pages provide tips, resources, and training modules 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.

Waisman Center - Advances knowledge about human development, developmental disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases through research, training, services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and outreach to the community. The Waisman Early Childhood Program (WECP) is an accredited, model inclusive program licensed for 100 children from age 1 to 6.

Well Badger Resource Center - Provides health-related information and referral services to individuals, families, and health professionals throughout the state by phone, email, text message, live chat, or Facebook messenger and through its up-to-date online directory of thousands of available health and social service resources throughout Wisconsin. Well Badger specialists include parents of children with special needs. 

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

Wisconsin Division for Early Childhood (WDEC) - State subdivision of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC), an international membership organization for those who work with or on behalf of young children (0-8) with disabilities and other special needs and their families.