Preschool Development Grant activities begin Next week, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will begin two efforts to support the Preschool Development Grant (PDG). Regional listening sessions open to the public will be hosted in Beloit and Wausau to gather public feedback. Also, the Leadership Council on Early Years (LCEY) will host its first meeting at the United Community Center (UCC) in Milwaukee. The PDG is a one-year federal grant which allows Wisconsin to complete a needs assessment and a strategic plan to improve early care and education. Grant activities are directed by Governor Tony Evers, First Lady Kathy Evers, State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, and DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson. Work done to support the grant is organized by regions to support the varied needs of Wisconsin’s communities. To best identify the needs of each region, public listening sessions will take place across Wisconsin. The events are designed to give stakeholders and community members an opportunity to provide feedback and to learn more about the PDG. Age appropriate activities will be available for children in attendance and upon request, interpretation services may be available. Participants are encouraged to register through DCF’s website to ensure proper accommodations are available. A key part of Wisconsin’s successful PDG application was its commitment to creating the LCEY, a body made up of leaders of various state agencies. The group is charged with making connections across government and identifying ways to better serve Wisconsin’s children and their families, particularly those who are most vulnerable and underserved. The LCEY will host its first meeting on February 26th at the UCC in Milwaukee from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Members of the council and guests will hear from Governor Evers and DCF leaders about the PDG, tour the site, and discuss how state agencies can better coordinate efforts to support organizations like UCC. “This is an exciting time for Wisconsin,” said DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson. “Our early care and education system impacts nearly every person in our state – whether they have children or not. This grant presents us with a tremendous opportunity to hear from people in communities across Wisconsin, and to build an interconnected system that is both comprehensive and equity-focused.” To learn more about DCF, visit www.dcf.wisconsin.gov and follow @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook. This release is also available via as an Adobe PDF document. About United Community Center Since 1970, UCC has served the Hispanic community on the south side of Milwaukee. UCC serves more than 18,000 individuals of all ages each year with a focus on celebrating cultural heritage to promote personal and academic development. UCC’s programs include early care and education, college transition programs, adult day center, substance abuse counseling, a community fitness center, and more. UCC also operates two public charter schools.