YoungStar For Parents and Caregivers

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Making healthy child care choices for your kids—at home and away from home—can set the stage for their lifelong success. But choosing child care isn’t easy. Even with help from family and friends, finding the right child care program for your family can be hard.

That’s why YoungStar does the legwork for you. We rate thousands of child care programs all over Wisconsin, so you can find a program that’s right for your family. Find in-depth information on each program we rate, including their hours, location, accreditation, special features, evaluation history, and any regulatory violations they’ve received.

YoungStar is packed with helpful resources for parents too. Learn more about early childhood education, nutrition, encouraging healthy brain development—everything you need to give your child a promising start in life.

Understanding Star Ratings

Every other year, YoungStar-rated child care programs undergo an evaluation process specific to each program’s size and structure. For example, a day camp caring for 50 children participates in a different evaluation process than a family child care program caring for only three children. After the evaluation, we award a star rating based on our quality standards. Here’s how to read the stars:

1 star rating

1 Star Program

Does not meet health and safety standards, and therefore cannot participate in YoungStar

2 star rating

2 Star Program

Meets health and safety standards

3 star rating

3 Star Program

Meets proficient levels of quality standards

4 star rating

4 Star Program

Meets elevated levels of quality standards

5 star rating

5 Star Program

Meets highest levels of quality standards

YoungStar’s rating system gives parents and providers a snapshot of a program’s overall quality. YoungStar measures that quality by evaluating four important areas of care:

  • The child care staff’s education and training
  • The learning environment and curriculum
  • The program's business and professional practices
  • The child's health and well-being

To learn more about YoungStar quality ratings, download our guide on "Reading the Stars" (Spanish).

Looking Beyond the Stars

YoungStar’s five-star rating system is a quick and easy way to compare the child care programs in your community. It’s a snapshot of each program’s quality, but to see the full picture of any child care program, parents should look beyond the stars. Here are a few ways to narrow down your child care options.

Check the Details

Check the YoungStar Ratings Details (available online and printed on most YoungStar certificates) to see what criteria a program meets in each category. It’s a simple way to make sure the child care program you choose has the qualities you value most.

Search the Child Care Finder

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Schedule a Visit

Placing your child in someone else's care can be a difficult and emotional decision. Searching for and reviewing a program’s YoungStar rating is one way to get peace of mind. Planning a visit to the program you’re considering is another.

Learn what to ask before you choose

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Ask About Accreditations

Like programs earning 3, 4, or 5 Star ratings through the YoungStar evaluation process, accredited programs have met quality standards exceeding Wisconsin’s minimum regulatory requirements. It’s a completely voluntary process—and a good sign for parents looking for high-quality child care.

YoungStar is Here to Help

Have questions about finding quality care in your region? Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R). You can also search for options through YoungStar’s Child Care Finder.

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Find Child Care

Find the right child care program for your family. Search thousands of YoungStar-rated programs by location, star rating, type of care, and more. It’s easy.

Find Care Options

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FAQs for Parents

Still have questions? YoungStar has answers to the questions parents just like you ask the most. It’s a fast and simple way to learn more.

Explore Parent FAQs

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Resources for Parents

Raise a happy, healthy child with help from YoungStar. Watch videos, download articles, and find family activities to help your little one learn and grow.

Visit Parent Resources