Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities


Report Child Care Fraud

If you suspect Child Care Fraud, be a part of the solution. You may remain anonymous. Please fill out the Child Care Fraud Form, or email dcfmbchildcarefraud @wisconsin.gov.

Report a Child Care Concern or Complaint

If you have a concern about something going on in a child care facility or you suspect child abuse, neglect or exploitation at a child care facility, please use the drop-down menu on the Tell Us How We Are Doing page to fill out the appropriate complaint form.

Sign up for YoungStar Updates

Child care providers will receive emails on topics related to YoungStar and child care quality improvement.

Find Your Local YoungStar Office

Call 888-713-KIDS (5437).

find your local youngstar office

For Providers

Kindergarten teacher and children

The education and nurturing you provide makes a big difference in the lives of so many kids and their families. Maintaining a safe, healthy place for children to learn and grow isn’t easy. It takes hard work and dedication.

YoungStar is designed to help Wisconsin’s child care providers succeed. Our simple 5 Star rating system gives providers like you an objective measure of program quality. It rewards excellence and offers programs a clear path to improvement.

YoungStar also offers training programs, technical assistance, micro-grants, and other resources for providers to help you achieve real progress.

To learn more, see our answers to Wisconsin child care providers' most Frequently Asked Questions.

Read the YoungStar Provider Brochure - "Make Your Program Shine"    Spanish

Order YoungStar brochures to share with parents and others interested in YoungStar.

Participating in YoungStar is Easy

All regulated providers can participate in YoungStar. Providers who accept Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy payments from families must participate in YoungStar. Any Wisconsin child care provider who serves children from birth to school age can apply to participate, as long as they’re in good standing with state regulations. (Programs that have had their licenses or certifications revoked, denied, or suspended are ineligible.)


YoungStar Quality Adjustment

The goal of YoungStar is to improve the quality of child care and reward high quality providers by:

  • Establishing a 5 Star quality rating system for all child care providers.
  • Including a YoungStar quality adjustment to be paid directly to 4 Star and 5 Star child care providers who provide care to families participating in the Wisconsin Shares program.

Read more about YoungStar Quality Adjustment.

School-Age YoungStar

Research tells us that high-quality school-age care programs can have positive and lasting impressions on school-age children. In 2012, we added school-age programs into YoungStar. As with early childhood providers, we evaluate school-age providers in the four YoungStar categories: educational qualifications, environment and curriculum, business and professional practices, and health and well-being of the children in care. 

A school-age provider is defined as a program that cares for school-age children before or after school, or during the summer or school breaks. School-age providers that receive Wisconsin Shares payments from families are required to participate in YoungStar.

See the Point Detail/Evaluation Criteria webpage for more information on Licensed Day Camps.

YoungStar Contracts for School-Age Programs

Providers who want to participate in YoungStar must agree to accept children from families participating in the Wisconsin Shares subsidy program by completing the YoungStar Contract and submitting the form to their Local YoungStar Office. Providers must complete a YoungStar Contract for each individual school-age site, even if they are owned or operated by the same person or organization.

School-age programs can choose to have a YoungStar Technical Consultant come to their program and help them work toward their goals for higher quality and higher star ratings. Ratings are renewed regularly, so stars can rise as the quality of care provided rises.

Public School Board Operated Child Care

Public school board operated child care is now subject to annual monitoring. The changes to CCDBG that were made under the reauthorization require child care programs operated by public schools that accept payments from families participating in Wisconsin Shares to receive an annual monitoring visit to determine compliance with health and safety requirements. In Wisconsin, this means that all child care programs operated by a public school board and participating in YoungStar will need to be monitored by licensing staff from the Bureau of Early Care Regulation. If a program wants to be able to accept Wisconsin Shares payments from families, they must participate in YoungStar.

Child care programs operated by public schools are required to comply with the child care licensing rules under s.120:12(14) Wis.Stats. The Bureau of Early care Regulation has identified a subset of the licensing rules for group child care centers including rules related to staff qualifications, staff-to-child ratios, group size, disease prevention including immunizations, presence of hazards, and transportation. All staff will be required to have CPR training in Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention and SIDS risk reduction (if serving children under age one).

County Coordinators will no longer be issuing provider numbers as in the past. Anytime a child care program operated by a public school participates in YoungStar and Wisconsin Shares, the programs should contact the regional licensing office to apply. Find information on how to apply and what the process will be on the Child Care Regulation - Public Schools page.

Get the Highest Possible Rating

YoungStar participants can benefit from a variety of training and development services to help them achieve their goals. Here are some tips to help you get the highest possible YoungStar rating—and give Wisconsin’s children the best possible start:

Earn Ratings Regularly

Every other year, YoungStar-rated child care providers go through a 40-point evaluation process that is specific to each program's size and structure. The total number of points a program earns determines how many stars it receives. And that rating is renewed every other year, so programs can earn more stars as the quality of care they provide improves.

YoungStar awards up to five stars for the highest quality of care, based on four key categories:

  • The Providers' Education & Training
  • The Learning Environment & Curriculum
  • The Program's Business & Professional Practices
  • The Child's Health & Well-Being

Most ratings are awarded after an on-site review with a YoungStar staff member. But you may opt for an automatically generated rating based on standards you’ve already met. These include minimum state-mandated requirements, nationally awarded accreditations, and program-specific standards like those required of Head Start program participants.

Update Your Registry Program Profile

Remember to maintain your YoungStar-required Registry Program Profile. Enter your staff’s latest education and training information, assign a Lead Teacher/Group Leader to each classroom/group, and keep this information updated. The information you enter is automatically used to determine your YoungStar rating and corresponding YoungStar Adjustment.

By signing a YoungStar Contract, programs agree to keep their Program Profiles accurate and up-to-date. Check out this document for tips on keeping Program Profiles updated.

Earn Accreditation

Accreditation is a great way to a higher YoungStar rating. YoungStar recognizes accreditations from a variety of well-respected organizations, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the City of Madison, Satellite Family Child Care Accreditation, Head Start Performance Standards, Early Learning Leaders, the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), the Council on Accreditation, and others.

To learn more, read the YoungStar Accreditation Policy.

Build Your Skills

YoungStar offers a number of free and low-cost opportunities for professional development. A YoungStar Technical Consultant can help you set goals and measure your progress. Check out our resources for providers for even more planning tools, education and support.

Take a Training

Learn a new skill or brush up on an area of quality that you haven’t visited in a while. YoungStar provides many low-cost or free trainings through the local YoungStar offices. Find a training that works for your schedule and budget.

If you have additional questions, please contact your local YoungStar office.

Child Care Provider Portal

The Child Care Provider Portal (CCPP) enables child care providers and centers to access information on the MyWIChildCare authorizations and payments. View the DCF Child Care Provider Portal Training Video for further information on the new portal. View or download the Child Care Provider Portal User Guide.

Request access to the CCPP.



How to Apply

How to Apply

Almost any Wisconsin child care provider can participate in YoungStar. It only takes a few simple steps to apply. Get started today.

How to Apply

FAQs for Providers

FAQs for Providers

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