Youngstar FAQs for Providers YoungStar is supporting child care providers in improving the quality of care for Wisconsin children. We want to help you get the most from YoungStar, and help you shine as brightly as the little stars in your care. If at any point in the process, you are confused, need help or have a question, feel free to contact your local YoungStar office or the Child Care Information Center. Question Topics Overview of the YoungStar Quality Rating and Improvement System Application and Participation Incentives, Technical Assistance & Consultation, and Micro-Grants Family Engagement and Wisconsin Shares School-Age Programs Day Camps YoungStar Evaluation Criteria: Educational Qualifications YoungStar Evaluation Criteria: Learning Environment & Curriculum, Business & Professional Practices, Health & Well Being On-Site Services: Technical Consultation and Technical & Formal Ratings Regulatory Compliance Four-Year-Old Kindergarten (4K) Head Start and Early Head Start Accreditation Overview of the YoungStar Quality Rating and Improvement System What is quality in an early childhood setting, and why does quality matter? There is much research that defines quality in early childhood settings and tells us that quality matters a great deal. Here is just one excerpt from this research, but you can find many others: Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education (2013) by Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Christina Weiland, et al. (Executive Summary) Excerpted from pp. 14-15: [E]vidence across decades of evaluation research now permit us to say with confidence that preschool programs can have a substantial impact on early learning and development. Positive effects on children’s development are found for language, literacy and early math skills; for social and emotional outcomes; and in children’s health.... [P]reschool education benefits children from middle-income as well as low-income families (although children from low-income children benefit more). The most recent research also makes clear that there are positive effects for dual language learner children as well as for those whose home language is English, and for children with special needs as well as for typically developing children.... [C]hildren who have attended preschool go on to show positive effects on important adolescent and young adult outcomes, such as high school graduation, reduced teen pregnancy, years of education completed, earnings, and reduced crime.... The evidence continues to grow that the foundation for positive effects on children are interactions with teachers that combine stimulation and support. Such interactions build children’s higher-order thinking skills as well as knowledge of specific content (such as early math and language skills), and at the same time are warm, responsive and elicit reciprocal interactions.... Finally, while it has been clear for some time that high-quality preschool education yields more in benefits to society than its initial costs, the most recent work indicates that there is a positive return on investment for a range of differing preschool programs, from those that are more intensive and costly to those that require less initial investment. In sum, quality preschool education is an investment in our future. What is a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), and what does it accomplish? A QRIS is a method to observe, assess, rate, and improve the quality of child care programming and to communicate the level of child care quality to parents and families as they choose early care and education settings. A QRIS defines quality indicators and provides a framework of accountability for child care programming. Networks and collaborations are made available to child care providers to provide support and technical assistance, including mentoring and coaching, to help programs increase and sustain quality efforts. YoungStar is a QRIS that includes four key components: Training and Technical Assistance Child care observation and rating YoungStar Adjustment rates based on ratings Communication to parents regarding the rating system and the importance of quality early education YoungStar drives quality improvement in child care throughout the state of Wisconsin by supporting providers who want to improve the quality of their care, by creating financial incentives to deliver better services to children, and by giving parents meaningful information to select child care for their children. YoungStar supports ongoing child care quality improvement by linking higher quality care to higher Wisconsin Shares payments, and it helps prevent fraud in the Wisconsin Shares program. Examples of other states that have achieved enhanced program quality and thus improved outcomes for children as a result of QRIS, include the states of Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and North Carolina. Specifically, Oklahoma demonstrated improvements in the quality of their subsidized child care program, and Missouri’s 2009 study showed improvement in children’s social-emotional and early literacy skills. The QRIS National Learning Network has catalogued more detail on the success of QRIS efforts. In Wisconsin, we have heard from numerous providers who want to share the benefits they have found in YoungStar: A cohesive, evidence-based structure for quality improvement Support, excitement, and encouragement from Technical Consultants and YoungStar staff A vehicle to talk with staff, families, and community members about the importance of our work and the quality improvement process Financial support Pride in our work Affirmation of program quality And, most important of all—positive child outcomes! What was the legislative process to pass YoungStar? YoungStar was approved by the Joint Committee on Finance on June 23, 2010. Motion 38 details how YoungStar was to be implemented, including immediate training and technical assistance opportunities that the Department of Children and Families (DCF or Department) offered in Fall 2010. The department submitted a five year plan on November 22, 2010, that formally requested transfer of resources for full operation of the YoungStar Program, and on December 14, 2010, the Joint Committee on Finance approved this plan. A consortium (the YoungStar Consortium) comprised of Supporting Families Together Association, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, and Celebrate Children Foundation was selected to administer the YoungStar contract in the eleven local YoungStar offices. Find more information on local YoungStar offices. A contract was signed on November 1, 2010. On June 30, 2011 the 2011-2013 State Biennial Budget went into effect. This Act modified timelines for implementation of YoungStar to the following: Spring 2012: School-age programs are included in YoungStar. July 2012: Wisconsin Shares tiered reimbursement begins. Detailed information about the state’s financial support of YoungStar is provided in the YoungStar Proposal DCF submitted to the Joint Finance Committee of the legislature. How does YoungStar work? Step A: Providers Apply. Providers who want to participate in YoungStar can do so by filling out a YoungStar Contract. To download a YoungStar contract, as well as find more information on participating in YoungStar, see the YoungStar Contracts page. Step B: Local YoungStar Offices Process Applications. When the local YoungStar office receives the YoungStar Contract, the office will contact the provider to let the provider know that the forms have been received. Step C: Technical Assistance Is Given to Providers. If a provider has requested Technical Assistance, then within four (4) weeks of receiving the completed application forms, staff from the local YoungStar office will contact the provider and set up the first Technical Assistance visit with the provider. At that first visit, the Technical Consultant will come to the program and, in partnership with the program Director/Site Supervisor/Family Provider, identify opportunities for quality improvement. The Technical Consultant will then work with the provider to make a plan for using the time they have together and follow through on these plans over the course of sixteen (16) weeks. During this time, the provider, in partnership with the Technical Consultant, will decide what the provider’s micro-grant will be used for based on the goals identified in the Quality Improvement Plan. After the provider has received the desired Technical Assistance, the program will then be ready for a Technical Rating or a Formal Rating with Observation. Step D: Provider Is Rated. The rating will happen in one of two ways: If the provider has chosen a Technical Rating, after the requested Technical Assistance has been provided, the Technical Consultant will verify and/or observe information within the Evaluation Criteria from the provider and enter that information into the YoungStar automated system. Then, a Technical Rating will be generated for the provider based upon the information the Technical Consultant entered, along with the provider’s verified education and training information received from The Registry. The Technical Consultant will then review the Technical Rating results with the provider, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will post the Technical Rating on the YoungStar web site. OR If a provider is eligible for, and has chosen a Formal Rating with Observation, after the requested Technical Assistance has been provided, the provider will complete a Formal Rating with Observation Request form and send it to the local YoungStar office. The Technical Consultant will verify and/or observe information within the Evaluation Criteria from the provider and enter that information into the YoungStar automated system. Within eight (8) weeks of the completion of the Evaluation Criteria evaluation, an ERS Observer will make an unannounced visit to the program to complete the required Environmental Rating Scale observations. The ERS Observer and Technical Consultant will then review the Formal Rating results with the provider, and DCF will post the Formal Rating on the YoungStar web site. Who can participate in YoungStar, and who must participate in YoungStar? Mandatory Participation: Programs that accept Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy payments from families must participate in YoungStar. Voluntary Participation: Sometimes a program happens to have no children enrolled from families that utilize Wisconsin Shares. These programs may volunteer to be rated through YoungStar, as long as they agree to accept any children from families that utilize Wisconsin Shares in the future. What areas of a program are rated? The criteria that programs must meet to earn certain star levels are research-based indicators linked to quality and include: Lead Teacher/Group Leader and Director/Site Supervisor/Family Provider Educational Qualifications Learning Environment & Curriculum Business & Professional Practices – including business practices, staff benefits, and family involvement Child Health and Well-Being Learn more about the YoungStar evaluation criteria by visiting the YoungStar Rating Criteria page. How do years of experience get counted in the YoungStar system? Credit for Prior Learning (CPL). Providers may earn YoungStar points by contacting the technical college, university, or private college system to determine if their personal life experiences can equate to college credit through the completion of a process called Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) that demonstrates competencies already met. Most Wisconsin child care providers have several years of relevant experience and many hours of noncredit-based training that can often address competencies developed in college courses. This means that, even if you have not completed college credits, you may have learned and mastered many of the skills and concepts as those who have. Sometimes this learning-through-experience can be "counted" towards college credit through the CPL process. For more information see the Education and Training section of the Provider Resources page. Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). Beginning January 1, 2019, group, school-age, and day camp programs striving to achieve a 3 Star rating will need a Registry Program Profile that reflects Lead Teachers at a Registry Level 6 or higher in 25% of classrooms and Lead Teachers at a Registry Level 7 or higher in 25% of classrooms. The education of providers with a CDA, an experience- and competency- based credential in child development, is recognized as a Level 6 in The Registry and can support this goal. Years of experience and training received in a non-credit and/or informal format are valuable to child care teachers, directors, and family child care providers as they establish their learning environments and professional practices. Learn more about the CDA. If I am a Director/Site Supervisor of more than one center/program, is each center/program rated separately? Yes, multi-site programs with individual licenses receive independent ratings. However, if you are the Director/Site Supervisor for more than one site, your educational qualifications can only count toward points for one center/program. Does being licensed vs. certified increase your rating? No. You receive at least a 2 Star rating if you are in full compliance with licensing and/or certification rules. However, current Wisconsin Shares reimbursement levels are different for certified providers and licensed programs. YoungStar micro-grants are also different for certified providers and licensed programs. How are programs notified of the star level they are awarded? If a provider chooses an Automated Rating (and is in regulatory compliance), s/he is awarded a 2 Star rating, and s/he is sent the rating certificate and star level window cling in the mail. If a provider chooses to have a Technical Rating or a Formal Rating with Observation, a Technical Consultant or Rating Observer contacts the provider to explain the rating awarded. The provider also receives a certificate and window cling in the mail 6-8 weeks after s/he is awarded the star rating. All ratings are published on the Regulated Child Care and YoungStar Public Search website. For providers who choose a Technical Rating or a Formal Rating with Observation, the star rating is not published until the Technical Consultant or Rating Observer contacts the provider and explains the final rating. How do I get YoungStar updates? YoungStar now has an e-mail subscription list to communicate to child care and school-age providers on topics related to YoungStar and quality improvement. Subscribe to this email list. Of course, you may continue to check out the YoungStar homepage and the YoungStar page for providers. What do I do if I have a question, idea, or suggestion? You may contact YoungStar staff at 800.362.7353 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Application and Participation Is participation in YoungStar required of all child care and school-age providers? Participation in YoungStar is voluntary for programs that do not accept Wisconsin Shares payments from families. However, child care, school-age, and licensed day camp programs that accept Wisconsin Shares payments from families are required to participate. Is there a cost to the program for participating in YoungStar? There is no cost for child care, school-age, and day camp programs to participate in YoungStar. In fact, YoungStar helps programs by providing training, technical assistance, and small, targeted micro-grants to help them get the things they need to improve and help kids learn even more effectively. However, quality improvement does cost money, such as when a program chooses to invest in higher education for its staff or purchase additional learning materials for children. Providers can contact Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) to request an application for T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin Scholarship Program. (Or contact a WECA Professional Development Counselor at 1.800.783.9322, selecting Option 3 when prompted.) Programs may make the decision to target additional resources to increase and maintain the quality of their programming. What is the responsibility of the program/provider/organization regarding the accuracy of The Registry Program Profile? The Registry Program Profile (also known as an Organizational Profile) is a collection of information entered by child care and school-age programs about the staffing, benefits, and policies of the program. The Program Profile lets programs set up classrooms/groups and assign Lead Teachers/Group Leaders to these classrooms/groups. It also allows programs to assign a Director/Site Supervisor or a Family Child Care Provider to the program. A program that wants to earn a star rating higher than a 2 Star must participate in The Registry and create and maintain an accurate Program Profile. Each employee will need to have a Registry Career Level Certificate (one that has been processed in 2009 or later) in order to be assigned to a position and have her or his qualifications recognized in YoungStar. For information on how to update your profile see Our PDF guide on updating your Registry Program Profile. It is the responsibility of the provider to maintain an accurate Program Profile at all times to ensure accurate YoungStar ratings. Wisconsin Shares subsidy amounts are linked to YoungStar ratings, and inaccuracies will be investigated. What is the definition of a Lead Teacher/Group Leader and a Director/Site Supervisor in YoungStar? The titles and responsibilities of staff depend on the type of program, as shown in this table: Type of Program Title Responsibilities Group Lead Teacher A Lead Teacher plans, implements, and supervises the daily activities for a designated group of children. School-Age Group Leader A Group Leader supervises and guides a group of children in the program under the direction of a Site Supervisor and assists in daily planning and implementing of activities, communication with families, and relations with the community. Day Camp Counselor A Counselor supervises and guides a group of children in the program under the direction of a Camp Director and assists in daily planning and implementing of activities, communication with families, and relations with the community. Group Director This person is responsible for the recruitment, hiring, and guidance of teaching staff and – when necessary – for firing or dismissal of staff. Research shows that programs with well-qualified Directors/Site Supervisors/Camp Directors demonstrate higher quality. This person might also be known as a Coordinator or an Administrator. School-Age Site Supervisor Day Camp Camp Director Who can be listed as a YoungStar Lead Teacher/Group Leader and a Director/Site Supervisor in The Registry Program Profile? Lead Teachers/Group Leaders To determine the Lead Teachers/Group Leaders in The Registry Program Profile, follow these rules and examples: The person who is teaching for the greatest number of hours between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm in a given classroom/group must be listed as the Lead Teacher or Group Leader on The Registry Program Profile. For example, if the program is open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Barbie works 25 hours per week and Ken works 35 hours per week in a given classroom, Ken must be listed as the Lead Teacher for the classroom. If two or more people work an equal number of hours between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., either person can be listed as the Lead Teacher or Group Leader on The Registry Program Profile. For example, if Jenny and Kate both work eight hours per day in a school-age program (from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.), either could be listed as the Group Leader in the Program Profile for that group. To calculate the number of hours a staff person works (for Program Profile/YoungStar purposes), only hours between 6 am and 6 pm are considered. For example, a program is open 24 hours per day. In the Bumblebee classroom, Callie works from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sarah works from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Callie has to be listed as the Lead Teacher in the Program Profile, because even though both she and Sarah work eight hours per day, only three of Sarah’s hours are before 6 p.m. Therefore, Callie has more hours between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Verification of Staffing: Before approving a rating, the Technical Consultant will visit each classroom or group at least once and must see the person who is listed as the Lead Teacher or Group Leader in the Program Profile teaching in that classroom or group. If a Technical Consultant does not see each Lead Teacher/Group Leader in the classroom/group in which s/he is listed in the Registry Program Profile, a Technical Rating will not be completed, and the program will be ineligible for a Formal Rating until the information can be verified. Further proof may be required in the form of time sheets or pay stubs. Directors/Site Supervisors According to typical YoungStar staffing requirements, the person who is designated as the Director/Site Supervisor shall be on-site for at least 25% of the total number of hours s/he works for the program and shall have the following responsibilities: Supervision of the planning and implementation of the programming for children Supervision of staff Staff meetings and orientation Continuing education for staff It is up to the program to determine who is charged with completing these responsibilities and to identify that person as Director/Site Supervisor in its Registry Program Profile. If a program does not have a Director/Site Supervisor position dedicated solely to the performance of these four responsibilities, the program may ask for a variation from the typical YoungStar staffing requirements, as described in the answer to “EDU-11. Can one person serve as both Director (or Site Supervisor or Camp Director) and Lead Teacher (or Group Leader or Counselor)?” Note on Verification: YoungStar staff (Technical Consultants and ERS Observers) are not responsible for verifying that the person listed as the Director/Site Supervisor is on-site for a set number of hours per week/month/year. Family Child Care Providers In most cases, the role of Lead Teacher and Administrator is filled by the same person in Family Child Care. If that is the case, then that person should be listed in both roles (Licensee/Owner and Primary Family Provider) in the Registry Program Profile. If these two roles are filled by two different people, each person should be listed only in her or his role. The person who is with the children the majority of the time the program is open is to be listed as the Primary Family Provider. YoungStar will consider the educational qualification of only the Primary Family Provider. If in the case of a family child care program that has a person, other than the Licensee or Owner, teaching for the greatest number of hours between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., that person should be listed as the Primary Family Provider on the Registry Program Profile. What happens to The Registry Program Profile when a staff member leaves? The Program Profile should be updated any time a staffing change occurs. Updating the Profile is the responsibility of the Director/Site Supervisor. Also, be aware that individual staff members can remove themselves from the Program Profile without notice, and these changes can trigger a change in star rating. For information on how to update your profile see Our PDF guide on updating your Registry Program Profile. When a privately funded preschool is part of a licensed group program, how is the site rated? There is no difference between a child care center and a preschool or nursery school as defined by child care licensing. Many “preschool” programs operate for only 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours per session, and therefore some licensing rules would not apply (such as those related to serving meals, providing naps, and programming for the beginning and end of the day if only older children are present). Check with your licensor to ask about these specific licensing rules as they relate to your program. How does YoungStar renewal/reapplication work? Providers who are already participating in YoungStar need to reapply every other year by the first day of their anniversary month. This is the month you were given your first rating in YoungStar. YoungStar Adjustments are tied to the YoungStar rating, so it is crucial that providers submit the YoungStar Contract Renewal every other year by the first day of their anniversary month to avoid interruption in eligibility to receive YoungStar Adjustments. More information visit our contract page. Where and when will I get a YoungStar Contract Renewal? Every other year approximately 120 days before your anniversary date, you will automatically be mailed a YoungStar Contract Renewal. Some of the information on the form is filled in by DCF—even so, it is very important that you check this information for accuracy. After you complete and sign the form, it must be submitted to the local YoungStar office listed on the YoungStar Contract Renewal. More information visit our contract page. What if I lose my YoungStar Contract Renewal or never receive one? The YoungStar Contract Renewal will be mailed to you approximately 120 days before the first day of your anniversary month, so allow a week to account for postal delays. If after that time you have still not received a YoungStar Contract Renewal, you are encouraged to contact your local YoungStar office for the form. YoungStar Contract Renewals are not available online. If I turn in a YoungStar Contract Renewal and am rated before my anniversary date, when does my rating show up on the public search site? A new rating following receipt of a YoungStar Contract Renewal or Request for Off Year Service Application is active no earlier than the first day of your anniversary month, so the new renewal rating will appear on the first of the anniversary month. Incentives, Technical Assistance & Consultation, and Micro-Grants What are the incentives for participation in YoungStar? Of course, the most important incentive for participation in YoungStar is the opportunity to improve program quality and thus improve the outcomes for the children enrolled in your program. Other benefits available to programs participating in YoungStar are: On-site training and technical assistance, upon request Local training opportunities Micro-grants to support the goals outlined in programs’ Quality Improvement Plans Professional development counseling and supports for credit- and noncredit-based growth opportunities, through Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) Professional Development Consultants and YoungStar Technical Consultants. Learn more about Training for Providers here. More information visit our Why Apply to YoungStar page. What supports are available to help a child care, school-age, or day camp program move from one star level to the next? YoungStar uses a regional and community-wide approach to provide free technical assistance and consultation to programs actively participating in YoungStar. Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) and School-Age Curricular Framework (SACF) trainings are YoungStar-supported and made widely available and accessible for providers. Additional training emphasis has been placed on the Wisconsin Pyramid Model and other models for social-emotional competence, as well as training for the establishment and delivery of developmentally appropriate curriculum and assessment practices. Find out more about training opportunities. Programs that demonstrate quality improvement efforts may also be eligible for a YoungStar micro-grant to support their established Quality Improvement Plans. How do programs access YoungStar Technical Assistance, consultation, and rating? Is there a cost for these YoungStar services? Accessing Services To receive Technical Assistance you must first apply to the program, see our instructions on How to Apply Cost Considerations There is no cost for YoungStar participation, including YoungStar Technical Assistance, consultation, or rating services. In fact, YoungStar helps programs by providing training, technical assistance, and small, targeted micro-grants to help programs get the things they need to improve and help children learn even more effectively. Programs may choose to request additional training and technical assistance beyond the current scope of YoungStar, and technical assistance providers may charge for services above and beyond those supported directly through YoungStar. If you do hire a technical assistance provider, make sure you hire a YoungStar-approved Trainer or Technical Consultant who has had her or his education and experience evaluated and approved by The Registry’s Professional Development Approval System (PDAS). You may search for approved Trainers and Technical Consultants at The Registry website. More information. Programs choosing to invest in higher education for their staff can access the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) for financial support through the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin Scholarship Program. When do I have access to Technical Assistance? Before or after being rated? Programs can choose to have their Technical Assistance before and/or after being rated. Before your program is rated, a Technical Consultant can work with you to help you decide what areas you could focus on for your Technical Assistance. Additionally, you can help your Technical Consultant by completing a Self-Assessment of your program prior to receiving technical assistance. Some example self-assessments are available on the YoungStar resources page. Technical Assistance is also available during non-rating years if programs elect to receive off-year services. Is there a “minimum number of children served” eligibility requirement for a program to request Technical Assistance and a micro-grant from YoungStar? In order for a child care program to request Technical Assistance and remain eligible to receive a micro-grant, a program must be serving at least one child. Who is eligible for micro-grants, and what is the application process? Every program that actively participates in Technical Assistance and creates a Quality Improvement Plan based on a self-assessment can apply to receive a YoungStar micro-grant. Family and group centers, school-age and day camp sites, and non-profit and for-profit agencies are eligible. YoungStar requires that all micro-grant purchases are directly linked to the program’s Quality Improvement Plan. Micro-grant purchase plans are submitted with the Quality Improvement Plan and are approved and submitted by the Technical Consultant during the technical consultation process. To receive a micro-grant, a program agrees to: Participate actively in Technical Assistance. Active participation goes beyond allowing a Technical Consultant to visit the program. The program must take part in reflection, work to identify strengths and goals, and then take actions to implement the identified solutions. As long as the Technical Consultant is satisfied that this is occurring, the program will have access to a micro-grant. Prepare a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP), and make micro-grant purchase choices to support the implementation of that QIP. Programs should review the YoungStar Micro-Grant Program Handbook to learn how the YoungStar micro-grant may be used. There are specific rules and limitations for use of the micro-grant. Submit all micro-grant related requests to the Technical Consultant in a timely matter. For more information on timelines, review the YoungStar Technical Consultation and Micro-Grant Participation Agreement. To learn more about micro-grants: Visit the SFTA Micro-Grant Program webpage. Call the Micro-Grant main line: 608-443-4310 See the YoungStar Technical Consultation and Micro-Grant Participation Agreement. Read the YoungStar Micro-Grant Program Handbook. What are some examples of how micro-grants could be used? YoungStar micro-grants are tied to the provider’s Quality Improvement Plan. Programs may choose to use micro-grant funding toward accreditation cost reimbursement, training and education for professional development, staff or substitute time to support quality improvement work, services such as contractors/builders or additional technical consultation hours, the purchase of equipment and/or materials that strengthen the learning environment and curriculum in key areas identified as needing improvement in a program’s Quality Improvement Plan, and more. Registry Fees At this point, there is no specific funding pool to support Registry application fees before a program applies to YoungStar. To receive a rating above a 2 Star, the Lead Teacher/Group Leader for each classroom/group must be listed in The Registry Program Profile in order to have his or her educational qualifications counted for that classroom/group. However, YoungStar programs that actively participate in Technical Assistance can have access to micro-grants to support Registry fees. A child care program might use a portion of its micro-grant for Registry application fees if professional development is a focus of the Quality Improvement Plan. Family Engagement and Wisconsin Shares How are families informed about YoungStar? DCF works closely with partners to publicize YoungStar ratings using a variety of media in which families can learn about their child care options. The Department has also designed a website to assist those searching for child care or looking for more information on a specific child care program. The Regulated Child Care and YoungStar Public Search website provides detailed information about YoungStar ratings as well as compliance records for licensing and certification. What is posted about child care programs on the DCF child care search website, and how does this help families select child care? All regulated child care programs are listed on the website regardless of their participation in YoungStar. YoungStar participants also have detailed information provided about their star levels and the points they have earned in each of the four quality indicator areas during the YoungStar rating process. (In addition, families who receive Wisconsin Shares are notified periodically of their providers’ ratings in YoungStar.) Families selecting a YoungStar provider benefit from having objective ratings of licensed and certified child care programs, based on quality criteria that have been proven by research to indicate higher-quality programming and better outcomes for children. What is Wisconsin Shares, and how is it related to YoungStar? Wisconsin Shares is Wisconsin's child care subsidy program that helps families pay for child care. To receive Wisconsin Shares payments from families, providers must participate in YoungStar. Wisconsin Shares information and resources for parents and providers are provided at: “Wisconsin Shares” Child Care Subsidy Program. Do programs serving children who receive Wisconsin Shares have a choice about participating in YoungStar? Do programs participating in YoungStar have a choice about serving children who receive Wisconsin Shares? In order to receive Wisconsin Shares payments from families, child care programs must be in regulatory compliance and must participate in YoungStar. Also, in order to participate in YoungStar, the program must agree to accept children from families who utilize Wisconsin Shares subsidies. Programs that sign a YoungStar Contract must be willing to: Accept children receiving Wisconsin Shares subsides Comply with the contract they have signed with DCF and with Licensing/Certification Have a regular YoungStar rating Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program. How do programs receive their YoungStar Adjustments? To learn more about YoungStar adjustments, visit our Quality Adjustments page. Do YoungStar Adjustments affect the amount a program charges parents? YoungStar does not regulate or direct provider prices or parent payments (whether a parent is making a private payment or a payment with their MyWIChildCare EBT Card), regardless of program ratings and corresponding YoungStar Adjustments. Programs are expected to continue to collect full family co-payments and can use their own discretion when choosing how to manage the increase or decrease in payments based on their YoungStar ratings. Increased reimbursement is intended to support higher quality programming. See the YoungStar Adjustment Page for more details. When a program receives a YoungStar Adjustment, are there specifications on how that money can be used? The program may use the quality incentive payments as it sees fit. School-Age Programs Are school-age programs included in YoungStar? Certified school-age programs, and public school programs that accept Wisconsin Shares payments, are included in YoungStar. DCF has developed specific criteria and a scale of points that use the same broad categories already established for YoungStar, but with customization for school-age care’s unique characteristics. The Department has collaborated with the Wisconsin Afterschool Network and a number of other school-age providers that have provided input into the design and implementation of the school-age version of YoungStar. My program is exempt from licensing oversight. What do I need to do to participate in YoungStar? If your program is operated by a public school district or operating inside a public school, that means your program is considered exempt from DCF licensing oversight (but not exempt from licensing requirements) and does not have a provider number. Do programs receive multiple ratings, one for early childhood and one for school-age? No. Programs are issued one rating for each Location Number (issued by licensing or certification staff). If there are different age groups present and a Formal Rating with Observation has been requested, the Formal Rater will use the Environment Rating Scale appropriate for the groups present. If a school district contracts with my organization to provide community-based before- and after-school programming, can my program participate in YoungStar and receive Wisconsin Shares funding? If an organization has a contract with a public school district and is not licensed, it can participate in YoungStar voluntarily. For information on how to do this, please contact YoungStar at: email@example.com However, if the organization or school district is currently receiving Wisconsin Shares payments from families of any of the children in the program, the program must participate in YoungStar. What job titles are equivalent to a Lead Teacher and a Director in a school-age program? Group Leader and Site Supervisor are equivalent titles, respectively. The responsibilities assumed by the personnel determine the qualifications required: Group Leader – responsibilities include supervision and guidance of a group of children in the program, under the direction of a Site Supervisor/Coordinator/Director/Administrator. Group Leaders assist in daily planning and implementation of activities, communicating with families, and relating to the community. Site Supervisor (who may also be called the Director, Site Coordinator, or Administrator) – responsibilities include the overall direction and daily operation of the program. This position develops the mission, philosophy, goals, and policies, and is held responsible for program planning and evaluation, administration (including fiscal management), and organizational development (including management of human resources). Is the person designated as the Site Supervisor someone who has to be on-site at all times? According to typical YoungStar staffing requirements, the person who is designated as the Site Supervisor in a school-age program shall be on-site for at least 25% of the total number of hours s/he works for the program and shall have the following responsibilities: Supervision of the planning and implementation of the programming for children Supervision of the staff at the site Staff meetings and orientation Continuing education for the staff It is up to the school-age program to determine who is charged with completing these responsibilities and to identify that person as Director/Site Supervisor in its Registry Program Profile. YoungStar staff (Technical Consultants and Formal Raters) are not responsible for verifying that the person listed as the Director/Site Supervisor is on-site for a set number of hours per week/month/year. For more information, see the YoungStar Rating Criteria page. Can a person be counted as BOTH a Site Supervisor AND a Group Leader in a program? A site licensed for 51 children and over, or a license-exempt site with 51 or more children enrolled, must have a Site Supervisor who does not have additional Group Leader responsibilities. In programs licensed for 50 children or fewer, a Site Supervisor may in certain circumstances act as a Group Leader for one group. For more information, see the YoungStar Rating Criteria page. Who is the Group Leader when two people share a group? The Group Leader with the most work time at the program should be listed on the Program Profile as the Group Leader for YoungStar educational qualifications. If the Group Leaders work exactly the same amount of hours per week, the program can decide which individual to choose as the YoungStar Group Leader. For more information, see the YoungStar Rating Criteria page. How is the education of a Group Leader counted if s/he works in more than one program? A Group Leader cannot use educational qualifications for more than one group, or for more than one program. The group that the Group Leader spends the most time in is the group that should be attached to that Group Leader in The Registry Program Profile. If Group Leaders are in charge of individual activity stations in the program and the children rotate among the stations and Group Leaders, the licensing ratios must be met, and each group of children would constitute one “Group” in The Registry. What happens if a Group Leader leaves a program and begins working at a new program? Any staff member who leaves a program and begins working at a new program can make employment changes in her or his Individual Profile. The staff member must indicate an end date for the initial program and then can add the new employer to her or his Individual Profile. This allows the new program to assign the staff member to its Program Profile. Program Profiles must be updated anytime a staff change occurs in order to reflect the absence of staff from a position, as well as to reflect newly hired staff. If I am a Site Supervisor of more than one site, is each site rated separately? Yes. Multi-site programs with separate license and/or Location Numbers receive independent ratings. If you are the Site Supervisor for more than one site, your educational qualifications can only count toward points for one site. For school-age staff, do Group Leader/Site Supervisor qualifications need to be in early childhood? No. Credit, credentials, and degrees for Group Leaders and Site Supervisors must be related to the age group served as determined by The Registry. How is curriculum planned and delivered in programs serving school-age children, and how does assessment occur? Specific training has been created by the Wisconsin Afterschool Network, covering the School-Age Curricular Framework. This training covers developmentally appropriate practice and standards for serving children in school-age programs. The training also includes information about selecting curriculum as well as program and child assessment resources specifically developed for school-age children. Read more about the School-Age Curricular Framework. Which Environment Rating Scale is used for Formal Ratings with Observation in school-age programs? The School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale, Update Edition (SACERS-U) is used because it reflects the unique characteristics of school-age programs. Learn more about SACERS-U in our Environment Rating Scale page. Indicators that examine the business and professional practices of the school-age program are also examined and can be found in the YoungStar Rating Criteria. Which Environment Rating Scale should a center use if that center has a classroom used by 4-year-olds during the day, with “school-agers” integrated into the room before and after school? If the center were to have a Formal Rating with Observation performed, the age of the majority of the children in the classroom at the time the rating is performed would determine the tool used. Programs should consider the developmental needs of all children in the group. Do part-day school-age programs receive points in the same way points are calculated for full-day programs? Yes. When a provider chooses a Technical Rating or a Formal Rating with Observation, on-site observations are completed at each individual school-age program, including programs that are part-day. Activities and indicators outlined in YoungStar (such as 60 minutes of physical activity) are prorated to fit a shorter-day schedule. Note: A program must have two or more consecutive hours of care in order to be eligible for a Formal Rating with Observation. What does “regular attendance” in school-age programs mean? The definition of "regular attendance" depends on the number of hours a week a program is open, as follows: If the program is open 40 hours per week or fewer, to be in "regular attendance" means that the child attends the program 50% or more of the hours the program is open for that child's age group. For example, if a program is open 25 hours per week, the "child in regular attendance" would attend 12.5 hours or more per week. If the program is open more than 40 hours per week, to be "in regular attendance" means a child attends 20 hours per week or more. For example, if the program is open for 45 hours per week, the "child in regular attendance" definition would be 20 hours or more per week. YoungStar recognizes that some school-age programs have different operating schedules based on the time of year, and when operating schedules change, these same rules apply. For example, if the program were to adjust its hours to being open for 40 hours per week in the summer, children considered to be in regular attendance in the summer would be those attending 20 hours or more per week. In most cases, YoungStar quality indicators apply to the entire program and hence to all the children in the program. However, some YoungStar quality indicators may have exceptions for children who are not in regular attendance. If the quality indicator has an exception for children who are not in regular attendance, this is clearly stated. Day Camps Is participation in YoungStar required of licensed day camps? Licensed Day Camps enrolling children for 14 weeks or fewer are now included in YoungStar! DCF worked with stakeholders to develop evaluation criteria that address the unique service delivery of day camps. These evaluation criteria include a scale of points that use the same broad categories already established for YoungStar, but with customization for a day camp’s unique characteristics. Search the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria for Day Camps for more information. My day camp program is operated by a public school district and is therefore exempt from licensing requirements. Can my program participate in YoungStar and receive Wisconsin Shares funding? Programs that are operated by public school boards are not eligible to be rated as day camps. Only Licensed Day Camps enrolling children for 14 weeks or fewer are eligible for this type of rating. Programs operated by public school boards are eligible to be rated in Track 2 (group programs) or Track 3 (school-age programs). How do day camps earn star ratings? Because the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria for Day Camps are for licensed day camps with an operating timeframe of 14 weeks or fewer, a Formal Rating with Observation cannot be completed. Therefore, programs going through the YoungStar rating in the Day Camp track can earn up to 3 Stars. See the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria for Day Camps. If a licensed day camp wants to earn a star level higher than 3 Stars, the camp would need to be accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). The ACA’s standards are linked to quality day camp programming similar to the standards required in YoungStar. Licensed day camps are encouraged to contact their local YoungStar office for more information. If my organization runs more than one day camp, is each camp rated separately? Yes. Multi-site programs with separate licenses and/or Location Numbers receive independent ratings. If you are the Camp Director for more than one site, your educational qualifications can only count toward points for one site. What happens if a Counselor leaves a program and begins working at a new program? Any staff member who leaves a program and begins working at a new program can make employment changes in her or his Individual Profile on The Registry. The staff member must indicate an end date for the initial program and then can add the new employer to her or his Individual Profile. This allows the new program to assign the staff member to its Program Profile. Program Profiles must be updated immediately anytime a staff change occurs in order to reflect the absence of staff from a position, as well as to reflect newly hired staff. What job titles are equivalent to a Lead Teacher and a Director in a day camp program? Counselor and Camp Director are equivalent titles, respectively. The Camp Director may also be called the Coordinator, Administrator, or simply Director. The responsibilities assumed by the personnel determine the qualifications required: Counselor – responsibilities include supervision and guidance of a group of children in the program, under the direction of a Camp Director. Counselors assist in daily planning and implementation of activities, communicating with families, and relating to the community. Camp Director – responsibilities include the overall direction and daily operation of the program. This position develops the mission, philosophy, goals, and policies, and is held responsible for program planning and evaluation, administration (including fiscal management), and organizational development (including management of human resources). Is the person designated as the Camp Director someone who has to be on-site at all times? For the purposes of YoungStar, the person who is designated as the Camp Director shall be on-site for at least 50% of the total number of hours s/he works for the program. Can a person be counted as BOTH a Camp Director AND a Counselor in a program? Day camp sites licensed for 50 children or fewer may, in the following limited circumstances, have a Camp Director who also is listed as a Counselor in the Program Profile: To be eligible to earn 3 Stars: The person in the dual role has 50% of the time the program is open devoted to the responsibilities of the Camp Director, AND child-to-staff ratios must follow licensing requirements for licensed group centers. For example, if the program is open 40 hours per week, the person in the dual-role would have to be in the Camp Director role for 20 hours per week. The dual-role Camp Director must also meet the educational qualifications for a 3 Star rating. Note: To be eligible to earn 4 or 5 Stars, day camp programs must be accredited by the American Camp Association. If a person is serving in a dual role as both Counselor and Camp Director in one program, YoungStar Technical Consultants are responsible for verifying that the person serving in the dual role has the appropriate allocation of teaching vs. administrative time as prescribed in the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria for Day Camps. Who is the Counselor when two people share a group? If two Counselors work with the same group within a program, the Counselor with the greatest number of work hours per week at the program should be listed on the Program Profile as the Counselor for YoungStar educational qualifications. If the Counselors work exactly the same number of hours per week, the program can choose which individual will be the YoungStar Counselor. When making this choice, it is in the best interests of the program to consider not only the individuals’ educational qualifications (reflected through a Registry Career Level), but also the additional training in regard to possible points in YoungStar (training in the School-Age Curricular Framework, WI Pyramid Model, Strengthening Families, etc.). How is the education of a Counselor counted if s/he works in more than one program or with more than one group? A Counselor cannot use educational qualifications for more than one program or more than one group at a time. If a Counselor works with more than one group within a single program, the group with whom the Counselor spends the most time is the group that should be attached to that Counselor in The Registry Program Profile. Note: “Groups” are different from “activity stations.” One group of children can participate in multiple activity stations, as long as licensing ratios and maximum group size requirements are satisfied. For children 6 years of age and older, the staff-to-child ratio must be at least 1 staff member for every 18 children, with a maximum group size of 36 children. As an example, if five Counselors are in charge of five activity stations, and if 20 ten-year-old children rotate among the stations and Counselors, the day camp’s Program Profile would consider these 20 children as one group. This is because the number of groups listed by the day camp should be in keeping with required licensing ratios, and in this example 20 children is less than the maximum size of 36, and the staff-to-child ratio is greater than 1:18. Then, out of the five Counselors, the Counselor who is attached to this group in The Registry Program Profile is the Counselor who spends the most time with this group. For day camp staff, do Counselor/Camp Director qualifications need to be in early childhood? No. Credit, credentials, and degrees for Counselors and Camp Directors must be related to the age group served as determined by The Registry. How is curriculum planned and delivered in day camps, and how does assessment occur? Day camp programs use a curriculum aligned with the School-Age Curricular Framework (SACF) or the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS). This means the SACF or WMELS is implemented for the curriculum/programming for all children in all groups. Specific training has been created by the Wisconsin Afterschool Network for the School-Age Curricular Framework. This training covers developmentally appropriate practice and standards for serving children in school-age programs and will therefore most likely be useful for day camp programs. The training also includes information about selecting curriculum as well as program and child assessment resources specifically developed for school-age children. Information about the School-Age Curricular Framework, as well as other useful resources, can be found in the YoungStar Provider Resource Page and at the Wisconsin Afterschool Network Do day camp programs that operate for only part of the day receive points in the same way points are calculated for full-day programs? Yes. When a provider chooses a Technical Rating (day camps are NOT eligible for Formal Ratings with Observation), on-site observations are completed at each individual program, including programs that are part-day. Activities and indicators outlined in YoungStar (such as 60 minutes of physical activity) are prorated to fit a shorter-day schedule. If the operating hours vary during the week, a Consultant will use the average number of hours per day to award points for items like this. What does “regular attendance” in day camp programs mean? The definition of “regular attendance” depends on the number of hours a week a program is open, as follows: If the program is open 40 hours per week or fewer, to be in “regular attendance” means that the child attends the program 50% or more of the hours the program is open for that child’s age group. For example, if a program is open 25 hours per week, the “child in regular attendance” would attend 12.5 hours or more per week. If the program is open more than 40 hours per week, to be “in regular attendance” means a child attends 20 hours per week or more. For example, if the program is open for 45 hours per week, the “child in regular attendance” definition would be 20 hours or more per week. See the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria for Day Camps for more information. YoungStar Evaluation Criteria: Educational Qualifications How important is education in our profession? Research indicates that providers with higher levels of education are associated with higher quality care. Many studies can be found that testify to this association, including: The Carolina Abecederian Project National Center for Early Development and Learning, The Impact of Teacher Education on Outcomes in Center-Based Early Childhood Education Programs: A Meta-analysis Child Care & Early Education Research-to-Policy Connections, No. 3: Impact of Training and Education for Caregivers of Infants and Toddlers Wisconsin Child Care Research Partnership Issue Brief No. 9: What is the relationship between child care directors and quality? Research demonstrates the value of credit-based instruction, and other states with quality rating and improvement systems confirm that education is linked to higher quality early care and education settings, which lead to improved outcomes for children. How can I further my education? YoungStar continues to collaborate with institutions of higher learning to make it as convenient as possible to take credit-based coursework, including fully online courses. If you have not yet completed any credit-based instruction, you may begin professional development planning that supports completion of credits and over time build into credentials and/or degrees. The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) offers free Professional Development Counseling to help child care and school-age providers create customized plans for professional development. WECA Professional Development Counselors understand the strengths you bring to your profession and the challenges you face and will work with you to design a professional development plan that fits your needs. Get more information on WECA’s free Professional Development Counseling service: By visiting the WECA website, or Call 1-800-783-9322, and select option 3 when prompted. WECA can also help you: Learn about T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin Scholarships to help you pay for credit-based coursework. Explore credit for prior learning (CPL) opportunities to determine if your experience and previously completed, non-credit, specialized training can translate into credits. To learn more about the Early Childhood Education program in the Wisconsin Technical College System, check out: Wisconsin Technical College - Infant Toddler Certificate Wisconsin Technical College - Early Childhood Education Wisconsin’s institutions of higher education (IHEs) want to support your success and have created innovative methods of coursework delivery to support the early care and education workforce, including evening, accelerated, hybrid, and on-line classes, in addition to credit for prior learning opportunities and community-based delivery of coursework. WECA offers an interactive map to help you discover early childhood continuing education and degree opportunities across Wisconsin, offered by technical colleges, private colleges, and public universities. The Registry Credentials can be stepping stones to advancement in the early care and education field. These credit-based programs are focused on job-specific skills so students can apply the practical knowledge they’ve learned to their current positions. Plus, for providers interested in obtaining associate’s or bachelor’s degrees, credentials can be the foundation for future credit-based instruction. Accredited technical colleges and universities located throughout the state of Wisconsin offer credential coursework. Learn more about the following Registry Credentials: The Registry Credentials Administrator Infant Toddler Afterschool & Youth Development Leadership Family Child Care Preschool Inclusion Program Development What is the relationship between YoungStar and The Registry? Wisconsin child care and school-age providers, teachers, and directors/supervisors have their educational qualifications verified by The Registry, Wisconsin's Recognition System for the Childhood Care and Education Profession. Is it a requirement to renew The Registry Certificate each year? No, it is not a requirement to renew a Registry Certificate each year if: The staff education and training have not changed, and The staff who are in the Program Profile have been awarded a Registry Career Level based on the 2009 Career Levels. However, if a staff member obtains further education or training, s/he needs to renew her/his Registry Certificate to have it count for YoungStar points. Do qualifications for the Lead Teacher/Group Leader and the Director/Site Supervisor have to be in early childhood education? For child care programs, the credits, credentials, and degrees identified for Lead Teachers and Directors must be related to early childhood education as determined by The Registry. For school-age programs, the credits, credentials, and degrees of Group Leaders and Site Supervisors could also be related to school-age care. Note: YoungStar materials will mention “an Associate’s Degree in a related area.” For YoungStar, the equivalent to a “related Associate’s Degree” is 60 credits beyond high school with at least 30 of those credits related to early childhood or school-age care. I am currently completing a credit-based educational program. Does this count toward YoungStar points? Credits that have been completed and verified by The Registry are used when determining educational qualification points. Credits that are in progress do not count for YoungStar points until they are completed and verified by The Registry. I have a DPI license and was told by licensing that I was not required to have a current Registry certificate. Do I have to get a current certificate for YoungStar? Yes, if you would like your education to count within a program's YoungStar rating. An example of this would be a 4K collaborative program (a program where 4K is offered in a child care setting), with the 4K program taking place in the morning and a four-year-old center-based program taking place in the afternoon. The teacher who provides both 4K and alternate hours of child care must have a Registry Career Level Certificate processed after Jan. 1, 2009, if the program intends to have the teacher’s educational qualifications count toward points in YoungStar. Who is considered the “Lead Teacher/Group Leader” when calculating YoungStar education points? For each classroom/group listed in The Registry Program Profile, only one individual’s educational qualifications are considered. For more information see our guide on Keeping your Program Profile Updated. Who is the Lead Teacher/Group Leader when two staff members share a classroom/group? When looking at Lead Teacher/Group Leader qualifications for classrooms/groups within a program, the Lead Teacher/Group Leader who spends the greatest number of hours each week in the classroom (or with the group) should be identified on The Registry Program Profile as the YoungStar Lead Teacher/Group Leader. If two teachers spend equal amounts of time in a classroom (or in a group), the Director/Site Supervisor may choose which teacher to assign as the Lead Teacher/Group Leader for YoungStar education points. This choice must be reflected in the program's Registry Program Profile. How is the education of a teacher counted if s/he works in more than one classroom or with more than one group? Can this teacher’s educational qualifications be attached to every classroom/group in which s/he teaches? A teacher’s educational qualifications can only be attached to a single classroom/group, within a single program. The total number of classrooms/groups is used in determining the overall educational qualifications of teaching staff. Can one person serve as both Director (or Site Supervisor or Camp Director) and Lead Teacher (or Group Leader or Counselor)? The following rule applies: For YoungStar, the person who is designated as the Director/Site Supervisor shall be on-site for at least 25% (for Group and School-Age programs) or 50% (for Day Camp programs) of the total number of hours s/he works for the program and shall have the following responsibilities: Supervision of the planning and implementation of the programming for children Supervision of the staff at the program/site Staff meetings and orientation Continuing education for the staff How does YoungStar determine the lead teacher for programs that operate more than one shift? When looking at Lead Teacher/Group Leader/Family provider qualifications for a program, the Lead Teacher/Group Leader/Family provider who spends the greatest number of hours each week between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the classroom/group/program should be identified on The Registry Program Profile as the YoungStar Lead Teacher/Group Leader/Family Provider. If two teachers spend equal amounts of time in a classroom/group, the Director/Site Supervisor may choose which teacher to assign as the Lead Teacher/Group Leader for YoungStar education points. This choice must be reflected in the program's Registry Program Profile. In group centers, YoungStar bases these calculations on the number of physical classrooms (not shifts) that are available within a program, and programs should identify the teachers who spend the most time in those physical classrooms as the Lead Teachers. For example, if a program has the "Blue Group" in Classroom A from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the "Red Group" in Classroom A from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., only one teacher will have to be identified as the Lead Teacher for Classroom A, even if there are two different teachers who teach in that physical space. How do changes in the educational qualifications of staff affect YoungStar ratings? Programs are given a YoungStar rating based upon staffing levels at the time of the rating. Decrease in Educational Qualifications In YoungStar, if a staff member leaves and the departure negatively affects the YoungStar rating because of a decrease in educational points, a program has 90 calendar days as a grace period to find a replacement with comparable educational qualifications and assign them to the Program Profile, before the lower rating is activated at the local YoungStar office. YoungStar provides this courtesy to each program once per calendar year, even if a program continually experiences staffing changes. Increase in Educational Qualifications If a staff member’s education level increases enough to move the program up a star rating, the YoungStar rating will change once the individual’s Registry Career Level Certificate is updated and the required documentation has been provided to the local YoungStar office. If the individual is not due to renew her or his Registry Membership, they can choose to wait until renewal is due (which will also mean waiting for the YoungStar rating to change) or submit the earned credits/degree to be processed separately at The Registry. The Registry Program Profile Programs are expected to update staffing changes (among lead staff) in their Registry Program Profiles as soon as they happen. How will YoungStar support my professional development, to help my program move from 2 Stars to 3 Stars? You know how important a high-quality child care program is for children’s development and learning. And YoungStar recognizes that YOUR development and learning is vital to the quality of your program. For details and resources, see the Professional Development section of our Provider Resources page. YoungStar Evaluation Criteria: Learning Environment & Curriculum, Business & Professional Practices, Health & Well Being Are we required to use a certain curriculum? No. One optional point is available for aligning a program’s curriculum with the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) or School-Age Curricular Framework (SACF) but neither is considered a curriculum. This can be confusing (especially since the SACF is a “curricular” framework), so perhaps the following distinction will help: WMELS and SACF define expectations for what children should know and be able to do. On the other hand, a curriculum describes what children need to learn to meet these expectations and reflects the practices that support children’s learning and development. Additional optional points are available for demonstrating the use of individual child portfolios and for using intentional planning and tracking to improve individual child outcomes. These items can be aligned with many different curricula. I heard that the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards training has been updated. Will I have to receive new training? If you participated in the full 15- to 18-hour training in the past, and that training was delivered through an approved WMELS trainer, this training will continue to be recognized by YoungStar. You will therefore not have to receive new training. Is the purpose of YoungStar to get children ready for the public school system? One goal of the public school system is to socialize children into mainstream society, which requires some standardization of practice. But in their very early years, young children need consistency between in-home and out-of-home care in order to thrive. Parents need a wide range of child care choices to find one that fits well with their child’s individual personality and their own values. YoungStar builds on the goal of child care licensing and certification to set quality standards but not to aim for standardization. It promotes research-based best practices while offering many alternative ways to earn points for quality. What are some good resources to help my program take advantage of the outdoors? Not surprisingly, you can find such resources right here in Wisconsin: Although some parents are concerned about their children being outside in cold weather, the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee says, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices.” The Merrimac Community Charter School in Sauk City has a wonderful garden, with students being involved in gardening and artwork. (FYI: A lot of micro-grant dollars are being used by programs for gardening.) Pam Boulton at UW-Milwaukee is a trailblazer in the field of early childhood environmental education. Another good person to talk with would be Carrie Morgan at the DNR (Environmental Education for Kids website). How will I know when I have met the criteria for each of the Business and Professional Practices indicators? YoungStar specifics for each quality indicator used to evaluate programs can be found in the Evaluation Criteria. Questions about these documents should be directed to your YoungStar Technical Consultant. Where can I find support to help me develop my Business and Professional Practices? Your YoungStar Technical Consultant will be able to help you or refer you to someone who can. In addition, there are trainings available throughout the state—check out the Incentives, Training & Technical Assistance, and Micro-Grants section of this FAQ web page to find trainings. Download the YoungStar Environment, Business, and Health Practices FAQ for Providers. (PDF) How do part-time programs meet the same quality criteria as full-time programs, in terms of staff benefits, etc.? Part-time programs need to meet a prorated level of benefit, based on the amount of time the program is available compared to full-day programs. If my program is part of a larger organization and I don’t have an individual program site budget, can I still earn the point for having a budget? Yes. If your program is part of a larger organization like a corporation or large non-profit, you may still earn the point for having a budget if you can show the YoungStar rater the required elements of the point within the organization’s larger budget. All information that is irrelevant to YoungStar can be blacked out in the budget. If I use parent satisfaction surveys, can I receive a YoungStar point for Family Involvement? Family surveys alone (with no follow-up) would not earn you a point. Using the results of a family survey and developing family involvement opportunities that reflect the needs of children and their families can help you earn points within the Business and Professional Practices indicator area. Specific policies and practices that reflect parental input into the program’s operations play a key role in the determination of points awarded. You can learn about these specific policies and practices (and the number that need to be in place to earn 1 or 2 points) in the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria: Are there any requirements for staff training in special education? Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies can now refer parents to child care, school-age programs, and day camps appropriate for their children with special needs. YoungStar gives one to two optional points to programs if a percentage of staff has either The Registry Inclusion Credential or Wisconsin Pyramid Model training. Each program’s detailed point rating is available on the YoungStar search site, and families can access these details to see if those optional points have been earned. Visit the Early Childhood Inclusion web page for additional resources. Does my program need both an internal coach and an external coach for implementation of the Wisconsin Pyramid Model? Ideally a program would have: An internal coach – someone within a program who is competent with the Pyramid Model and available to support its program-wide leadership team and teachers, and Access to an external coach. To find a Wisconsin Pyramid Model external coach in your area, please visit the Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners (WECCP) webpage on the Wisconsin Pyramid Model. What courses count for the Strengthening Families/Darkness to Light Training? For information about criteria, please visit our YoungStar Rating Criteria page. On-Site Services: Technical Consultation and Technical & Formal Ratings What are the different types of YoungStar ratings? Can programs decide which type of rating they get? When a program/provider applies to participate in YoungStar, and/or renews their YoungStar participation, the program/provider chooses one of the types of ratings below: Automated Rating On-site Rating Rating Based on Accreditation or Head Start Standing For details on the different types of ratings and what they entail, see the Participating In YoungStar page. If a program has not been in business for a full year, can it receive a Formal Rating with Observation? No. A program must be in its physical location for one full year before a Formal Rating with Observation can be performed. The program would be eligible for a Technical or Automated Rating and is eligible for technical assistance as soon as the program applies to be in YoungStar. If a provider moves locations, this rule applies, too. Any program must be at its current physical location for a full year before receiving a Formal Rating with Observation. What is the process for on-site ratings (Technical Ratings and Formal Ratings with Observation)? On-site rating visits occur annually. However, a rating change may occur between annual on-site visits if: A program earns accreditation through one of the YoungStar-approved accrediting bodies. The educational qualifications of staff increase or decrease enough to change the YoungStar rating. Technical Ratings For Technical Ratings (and for technical consultation), the program and the program’s Technical Consultant work together to schedule rating appointments. Formal Ratings with Observation To request a Formal Rating with Observation, child care programs must: Have completed a YoungStar Contract; Meet Business & Professional Practices, Learning Environment & Curriculum, and Child Health & Well-Being minimum requirements for at least a 3 Star rating (verified by a Technical Consultant); Meet educational requirements for at least 4 Stars (verified by The Registry); Have been in business in the current physical location for one full year; and Believe they meet sufficient quality standards to receive 4 Stars or 5 Stars. Environment Rating Scale Observations are unannounced and occur within a known four (4) week window of time. Before receiving a Formal Rating, a provider will speak with her/his assigned Environment Rating Scale (ERS) Observer, specifying the dates or times of day that the program will not be available, such as planned holidays or professional development days. Programs do not choose the classrooms/groups to be observed. Instead, they are selected at randomly from a pool of all eligible classrooms/groups. Because of the length of time it takes to conduct a Formal Rating, this type of rating is only available to programs that provide child care/school-age care for two or more consecutive hours on the days that they are open. In addition to the observation of the classroom/group environment, multi-source data collection methods are used including interviews, observations, and document review to provide an overall quality rating of the child care program. ERS Observers complete the observation using a state-approved process. All rating observers have completed specialized training and must consistently demonstrate reliability on the use of the observation tools. Observations will be fair, efficient, and reliable, and programs can be confident they have received a valid star rating. Before a rating is published on the public database, local YoungStar office staff will offer to explain the rating. If a program would like its rating reviewed, there is an appeals process. What observation tools are used for on-site ratings (Technical Ratings and Formal Ratings with Observation)? Observation tools that are used for YoungStar ratings (Technical and Formal) include the various Environment Rating Scales (ERS). To learn more, visit our ERS page How does YoungStar ensure consistency between my Technical Consultant and my Environment Rating Scale Observer? Staff at Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) conduct trainings to increase the consistency between the consultation offered by a Technical Consultant and the Environment Rating Scale (ERS) Observer. The Technical Consultant is the person that gives the final rating. Even so, slight inconsistencies might be noted because: ERS Observers go through extensive training to learn how to assign scores for the Environment Rating Scales and are continually monitored to ensure consistency. Technical Consultants thoroughly understand the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria, and go through extensive training required to assign YoungStar ratings. There are always changes in your program from day to day, and an ERS Observer might have had the chance to observe something that a Technical Consultant did not. The Evaluation Criteria might have changed slightly when published or finalized. What happens when a program moves? Regulation First of all, when a child care program moves its location, the program is obligated to inform its regulatory agency (certification or licensing). DCF has created guidance to help providers when they move. Wisconsin Shares To ensure continuity of Wisconsin Shares payments, programs must complete these steps when moving: Request the Program Relocation, Type of Care or Ownership Change Form from your local YoungStar office Complete this form and send it to your local YoungStar office. Your local YoungStar office will contact you to acknowledge the receipt of the Program Relocation, Type of Care or Ownership Change Form. As soon as you are in the new location, contact your local YoungStar office again to let them know the move is complete. If the program just changes its address and nothing else changes about the program, the Provider, Location, and Facility numbers should not change. If the Location and/or Facility numbers do change, the program must notify their local YoungStar office as soon as possible. YoungStar A YoungStar rating of a 2 Star or 3 Star is transferable as long as the staff remain the same. A YoungStar rating of 4 or 5 attained through Formal Rating with Observation is not transferable to a new address. If the program had a Formal Rating at the old address and earned 3 or more Stars, the program will be rated a 3 Star at the new location. Before the program can request a new Formal Rating with Observation, the program has to be in the new physical location for one year prior to the request. The one exception to this rule for 4 and 5 Star ratings is if a program is accredited through a YoungStar-recognized accrediting body and the accreditation transfers to the new location. What is the process for programs/providers to receive Technical Consultation or on-site ratings (Technical Ratings or Formal Ratings with Observation) when a program is moving? Is there a cut-off date for these on-site services? There is not a specific cut-off date identified. Instead it is up to the Technical Consultant, Environment Rating Scale Observer, and her/his YoungStar agency to determine how best to use staff time to serve the interests of the program. YoungStar-participating programs receive an at least 10 or more hours of technical assistance per year, so these hours should be used where they will have the biggest impact. YoungStar staff will make the final determination based upon the needs of the individual program and the timeframe for the move, considering the following: Once at the new location, the program can request to have their former rating - up to 3 stars - transferred to the new site. A program must be in existence at its current location for at least one year to become eligible for a Formal Rating with Observation and thus a possible 4 or 5 Star rating. When a program closes, is a withdrawal of application needed? No, a withdrawal of application is not needed. When a program closes (after the program has notified certification or licensing of the intent to close), DCF’s automated system (the Case Management System, or CMS) removes the program from the public search site. However, it is important for the provider to alert the local YoungStar office as soon as possible that the program will be closing. To ensure efficient use of resources and time, YoungStar needs to discontinue any technical consultation or formal rating assignment in CMS so the Technical Consultant or Formal Rater does not visit a site that is closing. In addition, programs that are closing must alert regulation. How does YoungStar ensure that star ratings are based on a program’s quality? Technical Consultants and Environment Rating Scale (ERS) Observers have extensive education and experience in the field of early childhood care and education and meet all Registry Professional Development Approval System (PDAS) eligibility requirements. YoungStar Evaluation Criteria are research-based, and DCF requires that all assessments and services be culturally and linguistically responsive. ERS Observers must complete training and demonstrate reliability in the use of the observation tool protocols. The Environment Rating Scales themselves have been validated in many different settings to assure that they measure child care quality fairly, objectively, and consistently. Regulatory Compliance What is regulated child care? “Regulated” means child care is either: Certified by the County/Tribe or Milwaukee Early Care Administration (MECA), Licensed by the State, or Operated by a public school board. Note: To be reimbursed with Wisconsin Shares funds, providers must be regulated. Find more information on DCF Child Care Licensing. Find more information on DCF Child Care Certification. Public and private schools that operate early childhood programs are exempt from licensing. These programs are regulated by public school boards and are required to meet the state child care licensing standards, even though they are not required to be officially licensed. Care in the child’s own home is also exempt. Note: Programs operated by private or parochial schools must be licensed in order to receive payments from the Wisconsin Shares Subsidy Program. Is there a relationship between YoungStar and regulation? Local YoungStar offices and state staff will confirm regulatory compliance through an automated transfer of data from licensing, certification, and the Wisconsin Shares program. Programs out of regulatory compliance cannot move above 1 Star and are not eligible for Wisconsin Shares payments. Beyond this confirmation of regulatory status, YoungStar functions are independent of regulation. Information on health, safety, and welfare of children in licensed care. Do regulations require that child care staff have training in order to work with children? Regulations require all child care providers to have training in: Early childhood education Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) prevention Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) risk reduction procedures Infant/child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated electronic defibrillator (AED) procedures Child care teachers in group child care centers need additional early childhood training, and group child care center directors and administrators and family child care providers need training in the business-related aspects of operating a business. Group child care teachers and center directors also need to have experience in a licensed program before beginning to work in a program. How is a program’s “regulatory history” established? Each program that is licensed by DCF or certified by the certifying agency agrees to comply with administrative rules intended to protect children in care. Licensing specialists from DCF and certification workers from local certifying agencies make periodic, announced and unannounced, on-site visits to licensed and certified programs, during which time the regulator observes the operation of the program and notes any areas in which the program is out of compliance with selected administrative rules. Observation of any violation of administrative rule is documented at the visit. Through this process, the program is alerted to existing violations and is required to take prompt, appropriate corrective action to safeguard children in care. Regulatory history is also established through complaint investigations conducted by DCF staff and certification workers. Also included in a licensed program's regulatory history are enforcement actions. Enforcement actions, authorized in licensing statute, are sanctions or penalties that may be taken by DCF to address violations of administrative rules of licensed programs. What should families consider when reviewing a program's regulatory history? In reviewing the regulatory history of a program, families should keep in mind that the presence of violations and enforcement actions in the program's regulatory history is not the whole story. It is rare to find a regulated program that has never been cited for a rule violation. Many factors can influence a regulatory history, including the size of the program, the length of time the program has been operating, and the qualifications of the staff. Families should consider some of the following questions when they review the program's regulatory history: What is the YoungStar rating? What is the nature of the violation? Was the violation related to safety, record keeping, staff-to-child ratios? Every rule is important to the quality of the program, but some rules are more directly related to the safety of children. Is the program being repeatedly cited for the same violation? What is the program doing to correct the violation? Is the program making timely efforts to correct the violation? Is there an extensive history of multiple violations, or are the violations infrequent? What enforcement actions (for licensed programs only) have been taken and for what reasons? How has the licensed program responded to these actions? What do other families say about the program? What is the program’s plan of correction? What can the program tell families about the violations and plans to correct them? Tips for Choosing Child Care. DCF also encourages families to talk with the programs they are considering. Families may also contact the local Child Care Resource and Referral office. What is a violation, and what violations are considered the most serious? A rule violation, also referred to as a noncompliance, is a formal, written statement that the licensee or certified operator is not in compliance with a specific administrative rule. Every administrative rule is important to the quality of the program, but some administrative rules are more directly related to assuring that children are safe in child care settings. DCF has identified those rule requirements that, when violated, are likely to pose the most serious threat to the health, safety, and welfare of children in care. When citing a rule violation, the licensing specialist pays particular attention to whether or not the rule requirement is included on the serious violation list. Depending on the number of serious violations cited on a single monitoring visit and whether the serious violations are also repeat violations, the licensing specialist may be required to initiate enforcement action. DCF intends to eventually identify which violations are classified as serious violations for licensed child care programs shown on this public search website. Review the list of serious violations in licensed family and group child care. Is there a relationship between YoungStar ratings and the number of violations? It is rare to find a regulated program that has never been cited for a rule violation, and not all violations represent the same threat to the health and safety of children in care. Many factors will influence the actions that must be taken to achieve compliance, including the program’s record on correcting violations, the seriousness of the violations, the size of the program, the length of time the program has been operating, and the qualifications of the staff. A program is considered to be out of regulatory compliance for YoungStar when it has had its license or certification revoked or denied or it has been suspended from participating in the Wisconsin Shares program. This may happen if DCF or the certifying agency determines that a program has failed to correct previous violations or the program has put the health and safety of children in care at risk. How is “regulatory compliance” defined, and what happens with YoungStar and Wisconsin Shares if a provider is out of compliance? The definition of regulatory compliance depends on whether a provider is licensed, certified, or exempt. Licensed Notification: Licensed providers are considered to be out of regulatory compliance upon receipt of notice from the Department of Children and Families that the program has 1) been revoked; 2) been denied a license; or 3) has had its license suspended. YoungStar: For programs found to be out of regulatory compliance, the star rating is changed to 1 Star. If the provider subsequently becomes reinstated, the rating will be changed to 2 Star. Wisconsin Shares Suspension: If a provider’s Wisconsin Shares payments have been ended due to a suspension from the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program, the provider’s rating is changed to 1 Star. The provider remains at 1 Star until the term of the YoungStar Contract expires. At that time the provider is removed from YoungStar. Right to Appeal: All three regulatory actions (revocation, denial, and suspension) have an associated appeal right, as described in Ch. 227, Wis. Stats.6 In the case of revocations, denials, and license suspensions, a program remains out of regulatory compliance and at 1 Star until the regulatory enforcement action is resolved. Any future participation in the Wisconsin Shares program depends upon the conditions articulated in the final ruling or the settlement of the revocation case. Continued Operations During an Appeal: If the program continues to operate during an appeal, the provider is placed on a waiting list for YoungStar consultation services. These providers are not eligible to receive any services from YoungStar until services have been provided to all other providers who requested services and are currently in regulatory compliance. Certified Notification: Certified providers are considered to be out of regulatory compliance upon receipt of notice from the Certifying agency that the program has been revoked or denied re-certification. YoungStar: If a certified provider has had certification revoked, the provider is automatically removed from YoungStar. If the provider appeals the decision, the provider’s rating is changed to 1 Star. If the provider subsequently becomes reinstated, the rating will be changed to 2 Star. Wisconsin Shares Suspension: If a provider’s Wisconsin Shares payments have been ended due to a suspension from the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program, the provider’s rating is changed to 1 Star. The provider remains at 1 Star until the term of the YoungStar Contract expires. At that time the provider is removed from YoungStar. Right to Appeal: Programs have an associated appeal right, as described in Ch. 227 or Ch. 26, Wis. Stats. Continued Operations During an Appeal: If the program continues to operate during an appeal, the provider is placed on a waiting list to receive YoungStar consultation services. These providers are not eligible to receive services from YoungStar until services have been provided to all other providers who requested services and are currently in regulatory compliance. Exempt A child care program run by a public school is exempt from DCF licensing oversight. Therefore, such a program could not be placed at a 1 Star due to revocation of regulation. Child care programs run by public schools (or private schools) are required to meet the state child care licensing standards, even though these programs are exempt from DCF licensing oversight. A public school board would learn of instances where standards were not met if these instances were reported by parents or others. Wisconsin Shares Suspension: If a program’s Wisconsin Shares payments have been ended due to a suspension from the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program, the provider’s rating is changed to 1 Star. The provider remains at 1 Star until the term of the YoungStar Contract expires. At that time the provider is removed from YoungStar. If there is a complaint regarding a regulated child care program, where should it be directed? Anyone can report a complaint to DCF concerning a licensed or unlicensed program. When DCF is alerted to potential violations of administrative rule, licensing staff conduct a thorough investigation. If the complaint is substantiated, the violations are documented, and the program is expected to take prompt corrective action. Complaints concerning certified child care programs shall be made to the local certifying agency. Why doesn't DCF’s Child Care Search display positive observations made by the regulators? The role of DCF is to protect the health, safety and welfare of Wisconsin's children in care through periodic monitoring of child care programs. DCF licensing specialists and certifying agencies conduct regular inspections of regulated programs to assure compliance with administrative rule requirements, the minimal standards established through statutory requirements. The expectation is that regulated programs meet these minimum standards at all times. The website shows the compliance information collected at these monitoring visits. YoungStar ratings, however, provide the consumer with information on the quality of care being provided to children, based on an assessment of the program’s education qualifications and training, learning environment and curriculum, business and professional practices, and child health and well-being practices. DCF recognizes that many child care programs go well beyond the minimum standards required to maintain licensure or certification. We encourage child care programs to publicize their many extra efforts to provide quality early care in a safe and nurturing environment. Families looking for child care are encouraged to visit the programs they are considering to see firsthand what each program has to offer. Four-Year-Old Kindergarten(4K) DCF recognizes that many child care programs go well beyond the minimum standards required to maintain licensure or certification. We encourage child care programs to publicize their many extra efforts to provide quality early care in a safe and nurturing environment. Families looking for child care are encouraged to visit the programs they are considering to see firsthand what each program has to offer. Public school districts across Wisconsin may offer four-year-old kindergarten (4K). If a public school district offers 4K, state statutes require that 437 hours of instruction be provided to age eligible four year olds. Districts use a wide variety of approaches when they provide 4K programming: Many districts, especially rural programs, offer 4K in a local public school district building (commonly called Model 1). Other public school districts use community models that bring the school district kindergarten program into child care classrooms. In these models, the school may hire the teacher (Model 2) or the district may fund the community site to hire the teacher (Model 3). With each site model, classroom set up varies between stand-alone classrooms to integrated and comprehensive scheduling in one classroom. Does it matter for YoungStar if the 4K teacher is a public school employee or child care employee? No, YoungStar is looking at the educational qualifications of the Lead Teacher who is in the classroom during the non-4K hours. If the teacher is both the child care teacher and the 4K teacher, the teacher must hold an appropriate Wisconsin DPI 4K teacher license. When the public school district provides 4K in the school district building, are there requirements for YoungStar? Stand-alone 4K programs in public school buildings, with no wrap-around child care, are not eligible to participate in YoungStar. Can a child care program in a 4K community approach model participate in YoungStar? Child care/4K collaborations may participate in YoungStar if at least one (1) hour of child care service is provided per day outside of/beyond the 4K service delivery timeframe. If the program accepts Wisconsin Shares subsidy, it must participate in YoungStar. However, the educational qualifications of the 4K teacher may only be counted for YoungStar purposes if the teacher is in the classroom beyond the public school district-funded hours, and is providing child care teaching responsibility during the alternate hours of the day. When the 4K program is in a classroom, and the classroom remains open (for example, as the 4 year classroom) before/after the 4K instruction, and the same teacher remains in the classroom throughout the day, this teacher should be listed on the Registry Program Profile as the Lead Teacher for the classroom so that his/her educational qualifications can be counted for YoungStar. The classroom teacher, during non-4K hours, can receive technical consultation services if the child care program has requested technical consultation. How does YoungStar apply when the 4K is arranged as a stand-alone 4K classroom and is separate from child care classes within a community site? When the district 4K classroom is in a separate room at a child care site, that portion/classroom of the child care site will not receive YoungStar technical consultation services and will not be rated in YoungStar. This classroom should not be listed on the Registry Program Profile. Only the classrooms providing child care may participate in YoungStar, and only these classrooms will be used to calculate the program’s rating through the Registry Program Profile, observations, portfolio use, etc. If the child care program has a YoungStar Formal Rating with Observation performed, only these non-4K child care classrooms would be eligible for observation and considered for teacher qualifications. For example, the 4K program is in Classroom A between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., and the children leave the Classroom A to return to their child care Classroom B with a different teacher for the remainder of the day: Classroom A would not be reviewed for YoungStar but Classroom B would. For example, the 4K teacher is in the classroom between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. for the 4K part of the day, and the remainder of the day the program is considered the 4 year old child care classroom with a different teacher: this classroom would be reviewed for YoungStar after 11:30 a.m., and the child care teacher for the hours that the classroom is a child care classroom should be listed on The Registry Program Profile. When can the 4K classroom teacher participate in YoungStar, and when can the classroom receive a Formal Rating with Observation in YoungStar? In a community approach service delivery when all of the following qualifications are met: The 4K program is integrated into the child care programming throughout the day; The 4K teacher is providing the 4K curriculum AND additionally, providing child care teacher responsibility during the alternate hours of the child care day; and Private pay and/or Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy funding is used to fund hours of care outside of public school district-funded 4K time. This DPI-licensed teacher should be linked to a classroom on The Registry Program Profile only if s/he is providing child care outside the 4K time. This classroom is eligible to have a YoungStar Formal Rating with Observation if there are at least two hours of consecutive child care programming (if the entire child care program meets the other minimum requirements for a Formal Rating with Observation). When the 4K teacher is only available during the portion of the day that is funded solely by public school district funding, the teacher cannot participate in YoungStar. During this portion of the day, the classroom is not eligible to have a YoungStar Formal Rating with Observation nor should the stand-alone 4K teacher be linked to the classroom on The Registry Program Profile. Can the 4K collaborative classroom receive a Formal Rating with Observation for the child care programming hours (beyond the 4K public school district-funded hours)? Yes, if the classroom is utilized for two (2) or more consecutive hours of child care (beyond the 4K public school district-funded hours), then the classroom is eligible for a Formal Rating with Observation as long as the entire child care program meets the other minimum requirements for a Formal Rating with Observation. For example, if the 4K program is in the classroom between 8 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., the remainder of the day the program is considered the 4 year old child care classroom and if the rest of the minimum requirements are met, that child care classroom could have a Formal Rating with Observation performed. How many hours does a classroom have to operate outside of 4K hours to be counted for YoungStar purposes? One (1) or more hours of child care service delivery that is not funded by the public school district. What if a 4K program has already had a public school district-funded Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) done on the classroom? The public school district-funded observation (when completed by a PDAS-approved technical consultant) may help the child care program plan quality improvement goals. However, Formal Environment Rating Scale (ERS) observations completed as a minimum requirement to reach a 4 or 5 Star YoungStar rating must be completed by a YoungStar Formal Rater assigned to the program, to ensure that the rating is valid and reliable across all classrooms and programs statewide. Download the 4K FAQ for Providers. (PDF) Is there a “minimum number of children served” eligibility requirement for a program to request Technical Consultation and a micro-grant for YoungStar? In order for a child care program to request technical consultation (and to receive a micro-grant), the program must be serving at least one child. Where can I find information and resources related to 4K and 4K Community Collaborations? For additional information related to 4K programming, see: DPI’s webpage on 4K in Wisconsin For further resources and information related to 4K Community Collaborations, please refer to: The Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners (WECCP’s) 4KCA webpage DPI’s 4KCA Home Page, highlighting the benefits and impact of 4KCA 4K and YoungStar Decision Tree Comparison of DCF YoungStar Quality Indicators and DPI 4K Requirements and Optional Areas of Focus For more information on 4K community models (Models 2 and 3), child care licensing laws, and Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy payment regulations, see Collaborative Child Care Programs – Frequently Asked Questions Head Start and Early Head Start What types of Head Start programs are there? Head Start may be delivered through several approved program options, including center-based, licensed family child care homes, and home-based options. Descriptions of these models are available on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center (ECLKC) website. Are Head Start programs included in YoungStar? Yes. The specifics of YoungStar participation vary according to the number of hours of child care provided by the site. To read more about the connections between YoungStar and Head Start, see the Policy on Head Start Participation in YoungStar. What happens when a site had been a Head Start site under a previous Head Start grantee? What about if the site is brand new? Previous Head Start Grantee When Head Start grants are re-determined by the ACF, DCF requests a list of Head Start sites (grantees, delegates, and/or partners) from the grantees and/or ACF. DCF reviews the programming at each site and determines whether YoungStar participation is necessary and if any of the sites are eligible for a 5 Star automated rating. If a site was allowed to have an automated 5 Star rating under a previous grantee or under previous Head Start policy, they are not automatically eligible for the automated 5 Star rating under a new grantee. The DCF staff review of individual sites will make this determination. New Site If a current Head Start grantee opens a new site, the new location will be treated as all other existing locations and must follow all rules laid out above. For example, if the site is stand-alone Head Start, it would immediately be eligible for the automated 5 Star rating. If a site had more than three hours of child care programming, it would be eligible for an automated or technical rating the first year in that physical location and then a formal rating after the first year. If the Head Start grantee does not change, but the site changes service delivery model (for example: from offering child care wrap-around to offering zero hours of child care), the program should notify the local YoungStar office and the eligibility for the automated 5 Star rating will be re-evaluated. See the Policy on Head Start Participation in YoungStar for details. What happens to the YoungStar rating if a Head Start site receives a deficiency on its ACF Aligned Monitoring System review? What happens when the deficiency is subsequently lifted? Deficiency is Received: The site is no longer eligible for participation in YoungStar and is removed from the program. Deficiency is Lifted: If DCF receives written verification by ACF that the deficiency is lifted, the site can be reinstated to a 5 Star rating as of the week the deficiency is lifted by ACF. The effects of deficiencies vary according to the number of hours of child care provided by the site. See the Policy on Head Start Participation in YoungStar. for details. Accreditation How do accredited programs earn YoungStar ratings? Accredited programs are awarded ratings of 4 or 5 Stars, based on the type of accreditation the program holds (and on staff educational qualifications, in some cases). The accreditation process replaces the YoungStar rating process. See the YoungStar Accreditation Policy for more details. YoungStar staff communicate regularly with staff in these accrediting bodies and are satisfied that their accreditation criteria and monitoring practices are rigorous. Currently accepted accreditation bodies require programs to submit annual self-studies and have established unannounced on-site visits. Accreditation is accepted as an alternate pathway to 4 or 5 Stars based on the intensive practices that are necessary to earn accreditation. How do we know that the accreditations mentioned in the previous question are equivalent to a 4 or 5 Star rating? YoungStar staff communicate regularly with staff in these accrediting bodies and are satisfied that their accreditation criteria and monitoring practices are rigorous. Currently accepted accreditation bodies require programs to submit annual self-studies and have established unannounced on-site visits. Accreditation is accepted as an alternate pathway to 4 or 5 Stars based on the intensive practices that are necessary to earn accreditation. Do accredited programs need to supply a person who is trained in the Wisconsin Pyramid Model, PBIS, Tribes® TLC, or Guiding Children’s Behavior in School-Age Programs? No. Ongoing social emotional training is certainly recommended for accredited programs, but it is not required, and it will not affect an accredited program’s rating.