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

Participating in YoungStar



Wondering why you should participate in YoungStar?


The best reason for participating in YoungStar is the opportunity to improve your program's quality, while also improving the outcomes of the children enrolled in your care. But, participation brings with it other benefits as well:

Benefits of Participating in YoungStar

Technical Consultation

Programs that participate in YoungStar can request free support from a Technical Consultant who will not only help you navigate the YoungStar program, but will help you reach your quality improvement goals. Your program can receive technical consultation each year to help you improve the quality of your business and teaching practices.

Micro-Grant Award

Every program that completes a certain amount of technical consultation and creates a Quality Improvement Plan based on a self-assessment can apply to receive a YoungStar micro-grant. Each micro-grant can be used to fund/purchase materials, resources, and/or professional development to support the quality improvement goals of participating child care providers. The amount of a micro-grant is determined by the type of program:

  • Licensed Group or School-Age Program - $1000
  • Licensed Family Program - $500
  • Certified Family Program - $250
  • Short-Term Operational Program - $200

For more information about micro-grants, please visit Supporting Families Together Association.

Training and Professional Development Opportunities

The Department of Children and Families funds a variety of professional development opportunities that can help you grow in your profession. Providers can earn credits or credentials with a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship, connect with communities of practice for networking and support, and access low-cost training opportunities through local YoungStar offices and other training partners.

YoungStar Quality Adjustment

Programs rated 4 or 5 Stars receive YoungStar Quality funds directly from DCF to support them in maintaining high-quality practices. These quality adjustments are awarded monthly, based on the total amount of subsidy funds authorized to the program. 

To learn more about YoungStar Quality Adjustments, click HERE.

A Quality Rating

Participating in YoungStar gives your child care program a state-recognized star rating that shows the hard work you've made toward improving the quality of your program. Your participation also means that your program and star rating will be searchable by families looking for child care through the YoungStar Child Care Finder.



Contracts and Contract Renewal

Looking to participate in Youngstar for the first time? Maybe you're already participating and it's time to renew. No matter where you are in the process, we are here to help!


Choose one of the following options to get started:

Participating in YoungStar for the First Time?

YoungStar contracts are valid for two (2) years and are renewable. By signing a YoungStar contract, a program is agreeing to provide care for children participating in the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program.

To get started, choose the YoungStar contract that best fits your language needs:  English  --  Spanish

Submit your completed YoungStar contract to your local YoungStar office.

Renewing your YoungStar Contract?

Providers that are already participating in YoungStar are required to re-apply every two (2) years. A renewal contract is automatically mailed to your program approximately 4 months (or 120 days) before your anniversary month. In order to continue receiving YoungStar services and be eligible for Wisconsin Shares authorizations, make sure your completed renewal contract is received by your local YoungStar office by the first day of your anniversary month (your anniversary month is the month your first rating was active in YoungStar). 

Please understand that your ability to accept Wisconsin Shares Subsidy payments is tied to your participation and rating in YoungStar. If you fail to renew your YoungStar contract in the specified time frame, you will no longer be eligible for Wisconsin Shares authorizations and families participating in the Wisconsin Shares program will need to find alternative care for their children. In order to reduce the possibility of this occurring, parents of children in the Wisconsin Shares program will be notified 30 days prior to your anniversary month that you have not yet returned your YoungStar Contract Renewal. This notification also alerts parents in case you have decided not to continue participating in the YoungStar program. If the YoungStar Contract Renewal is still not received one week prior to your anniversary month, parents will be notified that their Wisconsin Shares authorizations to your program will be ending.

If you lost your contract renewal, never received one, or if you have a question or need assistance, please contact your local YoungStar office.

Looking to Receive Off-Year Services?

Similar to the renewal process above, a YoungStar Request for Off-Year Services application will automatically be mailed to your program approximately 4 months (or 120 days) before your anniversary month (this application is sent on the years that a contract renewal is not required). Programs are not required to be rated or receive support services during their off-year, but we are always ready and willing to support you and your program along your path to continued quality improvement. Programs who choose off-year services can receive technical consultation and a micro-grant, a rating without consultation, or all three services.

Are You an Out-of-State Provider?

Providers in other states (e.g., Iowa, Illinois, Michigan or Minnesota) who care for children with a Wisconsin Shares authorization DO NOT need to fill out a YoungStar contract. Instead, you only need to fill out a Wisconsin Shares Participation Contract (also available in Spanish). Please include with your completed participation contract a copy of your unexpired license or certification document from the state where your business is located. Contracts are valid for two (2) years and are renewable. 

Send completed contracts to:

The Department of Children and Families
Attention: YoungStar
201 East Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53701

Or email them to: youngstar@wisconsin.gov

Opening a New Location?

If a program has an existing location(s) and opens a new location, the program is responsible for submitting a new YoungStar Contract for that location (see "Participating in YoungStar for the First Time" above to download a new YoungStar contract).  

Every location needs its own YoungStar contract and will receive its own YoungStar rating.

Submit all YoungStar Contracts to your local YoungStar office.

If at any point you have a question or need assistance, please contact your local YoungStar office or check out the Child Care Information Center (CCIC).