Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities

Report Child Care Fraud

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

Report a Child Care Concern or Complaint

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

Sign up for YoungStar Updates

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

Find Your Local YoungStar Office

Questions?
Call 888-713-KIDS (5437).

find your local youngstar office

Support for Families Experiencing Homelessness

paper cutout family

The Department of Children and Families uses a multi-generational approach to support families who are experiencing homelessness. The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 created provisions to bridge the barriers families experiencing homelessness have when accessing high-quality care. YoungStar is working to assist child care providers with identifying and supporting all families in need.

Homelessness Defined

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act defines people experiencing homelessness as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence." This definition includes children who are sharing the housing of other people, living in residences due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations, living in emergency or transitional locations, or are abandoned in hospitals.

Head Start prioritizes families experiencing homeless whether due to loss of housing, natural disasters, or emergency situations. Head Start programs are required to coordinate with local McKinney-Vento liaisons to ensure access for eligible families and children. In these instances, families are provided flexibility around necessary documentation timelines and  provided with programs and services available within the community.

Supporting Homeless Families

The Department of Public Instruction has compiled a guide with Tips for Supporting Young Children Who are Homeless for schools and child care providers. Each district and charter school must have a staff person designated as the Homeless Liaison, and this person is the primary contact between families and service providers.

The National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) is the U.S. Department of Education's Technical Assistance Center for the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program. NCHE provides online professional development opportunities, as well as, the NCHE Homeless Education Helpline where parents, community organizations, and people who are interested in legislation can find resources and support through email or call 1-800-308-2145.

The Department of Children and Families welcomes your feedback on resources that assist families in crisis. Please feel free to contact DCF at yshomelessness@wisconsin.gov with additional supports that child care providers could use to support children and families experiencing homelessness.

 

DCF Resources

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy supports low-income working families by subsidizing a portion of the cost of quality child care while the parents or caregivers are working or participating in another approved activity. Additional supports are available for families experiencing homelessness. Find and contact your local agency or visit ACCESS to see if you might qualify.

 

YoungStar

Family engagement is a vital part of high-quality child care and essential in identifying families in crisis. YoungStar requires programs that earn a three, four, or five star rating to earn 1-2 points within the YoungStar Family Engagement Criteria.

Toxic stress can have a devastating effect on the long-term outcomes of young children. The YoungStar media campaign created a video highlighting the effect that high-quality child care has on negating effects of toxic stress in children.

Professional Development Support and Technical consultation can be shaped to fit a child care provider's individual needs. Each YoungStar Technical Consultant has access to community resources and fundamental supports necessary for families to be successful. Find your local YoungStar office.

 

Parent Cafés

Wisconsin Parent Cafés were created with the idea that families in need of support can be reached through a comprehensive system of child care, training, and local support. Each Parent Café provides families with detailed information about supports available in their communities. While families are not required to identify their housing situation, each Café provides information for supporting families within the community. Information about available Parent Café Opportunities.

Collaborating Partners

Collaborating Partners - Diversity: Homelessness/Poverty is a resource for professional development around the effect of homelessness and poverty on the development of Young Children. This includes an archive of webinars, state, and national resources.

Statewide Resources

Head Start

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies

  • Wisconsin's Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies can provide assistance to families in crisis and searching for high-quality care for their children. Each agency can provide referrals for available child care, as well as local community supports to avoid homelessness.

Family Resource Centers

  • Family Resource Centers (FRCs) support families and their children from prenatal through early childhood. Each center is unique to the community it serves and can provide families with information on group and individual services, available respite services, family outreach and visiting programs, connections to public and private agencies, and assistance with access to any services available.

Food Assistance

  • FoodShare Wisconsin was created to ensure that people in Wisconsin have access to the food and nutrition necessary to improve their health.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that provides food to pantries and meal sites throughout Wisconsin. Call 2-1-1 for a referral to a distribution site in your area.
  • WIC provides pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children with food necessary for maintaining their health and well-being. Call 1-800-722-2295 to determine if you or your family is eligible to participate. The Maternal and Child Health Hotline (including interpreter services) is available 24 hours a day.

Housing

Medical Care

Children with Special Needs and Disabilities

  • Wisconsin First Step assists families with resources for children and youth with special needs and disabilities. The hotline, 1-800-642-7837, is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and a Parent Specialist is available to chat Monday through Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Wisconsin Public Health Hotline On-Line Resource Directory is available to search for local contact information. 

Domestic Abuse

Youth with Children

Transportation

Job Support

Aging and Disability Support

Tip Sheets


Specific Resources for Milwaukee County Residents

Milwaukee Early care Administration (MECA) is responsible for providing access to affordable, high-quality child care in Milwaukee County. MECA staff are located at 1220 W. Vliet St. - 2nd Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53205 between the hours of 7:30 a.m - 4:30 p.m. Milwaukee Public Schools Homeless Education Program provides support to families and children experiencing homelessness.

Head Start

Child Care Resource and Referral

Family Resource Centers

  • La Causa, Inc. supports families through a Crisis Nursery & Respite Center, Early Education and Care Center, as well as adult and youth programs
  • Empowering Families of Milwaukee: Home-visiting collaboration between the City of Milwaukee and community partners providing support for families
  • COA Youth and Family Centers support early childhood development, youth programs and community supports
  • Family Resource Centers (FRCs) support families and their children from prenatal through early childhood. Each center is unique to the community it serves and can provide families with information on group and individual services, available respite services, family outreach and visiting programs, connections to public and private agencies, and assistance with access to any services available.

Food Assistance

  • FoodShare Wisconsin was created to ensure that people in Wisconsin have access to the food and nutrition necessary to improve their health.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that provides food to pantries and meal sites throughout Wisconsin. Call 2-1-1 for a referral to a distribution site in your area.
  • Hunger Task Force
  • WIC provides pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children with food necessary for maintaining their health and well-being. Call 1-800-722-2295 to determine if you or your family is eligible to participate. The Maternal and Child Health Hotline (including interpreter services) is available 24 hours a day.

Housing

Medical Care

Children with Special Needs and Disabilities

Domestic Abuse

Youth with Children

Transportation

Job Support

Aging and Disability Resources

Tip Sheets