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.

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

find your local youngstar office

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.

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

YoungStar Quality Adjustment Information

Since it began in 2011, YoungStar has included financial supports to help providers improve and maintain quality practices. Currently, YoungStar Quality Adjustment payments are given to 4 and 5 Star-rated programs caring for children with Wisconsin Shares authorizations. Last year, out of a $30 million budget, YoungStar invested more than $21 million in Quality Adjustment payments alone.  

Despite this investment, we have heard loud and clear that the YoungStar Quality Adjustment only reaches a small number of programs and is insufficient in covering the true cost of quality care. Programs statewide are struggling to remain open and recruit and retain qualified staff. That’s why, effective November 8, 2021, the Department of Children and Families enhanced its current investment in quality care into one that reaches all regulated programs through the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program.  

With an unprecedented amount of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) - totaling over $350 million - child care providers who apply for Child Care Counts will, at minimum, continue to receive their current monthly quality adjustment funding amount. In fact, providers are very likely to receive much more!

Monthly payments through Child Care Counts will support programs to remain open and provide higher wages to staff, helping families find high-quality, affordable, and stable care in their communities.

Providers will continue to be incentivized to serve families utilizing the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program, helping increase access to quality programming for all families through additional Child Care Counts funding. These funds can also be used to reimburse fees and tuition costs for families in financial need.
 


What does this mean for my program? 

Providers who currently receive monthly YoungStar Quality Adjustments received their final adjustment on December 1, 2021. To continue to receive quality funds, providers must apply and meet eligibility requirements for the Child Care Counts: Stabilization Payment Program. 

December 2021 was the transition period for current recipients of the YoungStar Quality Adjustment.
During this time: 

  • Providers rated 4 or 5 Star who are caring for children with Wisconsin Shares authorizations received their final YoungStar Quality Adjustment payment on December 1, 2021. This payment included all YoungStar Adjustments based on Wisconsin Shares subsidy amounts for the month of December.  
  • Providers must have applied and been approved for the Child Care Counts payment program between November 8, 2021 and November 19, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. to receive their first Child Care Counts payment in mid-December. 
  • Providers who did not apply for the Child Care Counts payment program yet may do so during any Application/Update Week. See this calendar for all upcoming Application/Update Weeks. 
  • Providers rated 4 or 5 Star who are caring for children with Wisconsin Shares authorizations in December AND who apply for Child Care Counts in November received both payments in December. 

To further show the state’s commitment to increasing access to high-quality, affordable early care and education opportunities, Wisconsin Shares reimbursement rates were significantly increased in January 2022. More details regarding the increase can be found on the Wisconsin Shares reimbursement rates page. The table below reflects the transition of available funding.

November 2021
December 2021
January 2022 (and beyond)
YoungStar Quality
Adjustment Payment
YoungStar Quality
Adjustment Payment
 
 
Child Care Counts Payment
(based on November application)
Child Care Counts Payment
 
 
Wisconsin Shares Rate Increase

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is changing with YoungStar quality adjustments?

Beginning November 8, 2021, through the Child Care Counts Payment Program, all regulated programs will be eligible to apply for monthly payments to support quality. YoungStar participating programs will be eligible for an additional monthly per-staff funding to further support quality, affordability, accessibility, and equity in the workforce.

All programs that received monthly YoungStar quality adjustments received their final monthly YoungStar adjustment on December 1, 2021. Providers who applied and were approved for funding received their first monthly Child Care Counts payment at the end of December 2021.

Why is the YoungStar quality adjustment process changing?

Since the YoungStar program began, it has included financial incentives for participants to improve and maintain quality. Yet, even with the YoungStar quality adjustment included as a support for providers with 4 or 5 Star ratings, nearly all Wisconsin programs are struggling to remain open and pay their staff more than minimum wage.

That’s why, effective November 8, 2021, DCF increased its investment in promoting quality care into one payment program that reaches all regulated providers through the Child Care Counts payment program.

How does the change in the YoungStar quality adjustment process impact providers?

Beginning November 8, 2021, through the Child Care Counts payment program, all regulated providers will be eligible to apply for monthly payments to support their program.

Providers who apply for Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Care can receive funding for children attending their program. Providers will receive additional funds if they are serving families who utilize the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program.

Providers who apply for Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention can receive funding for each eligible staff working in their program.

YoungStar participating providers can receive additional monthly Per-Staff Quality Incentive funds through Payment B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention.

These combined payments will help providers to substantially support access to high-quality, affordable child care, and to recruit and retain a highly-trained and qualified Early Care and Education workforce.

Child Care Counts payments will occur monthly; the first payments were received in December 2021.

Will providers that are rated 4 or 5 Star receive the same amount of funding through Child Care Counts as they were receiving through their YoungStar quality adjustment?

All providers that are rated 4 or 5 Star that apply and are approved for Child Care Counts payments should expect a monthly payment that is, at minimum, their previous monthly quality adjustment funding amount, so long as their Star Rating is maintained. In fact, 4 or 5 Star rated programs are very likely to receive more funding through Child Care Counts.

If a provider does not apply for Child Care Counts, will they still get their YoungStar quality adjustment?

No, programs must apply and meet eligibility requirements for Child Care Counts in order to receive monthly Child Care Counts payments.

Do I have to use the Child Care Counts funds for specific allowable expenses?

Providers can use both Program A and Program B funds to support the cost of providing high-quality care. Many business-related expenses are allowable uses of this funding.

Program A: Increasing Access to High-Quality Care payments can be used to support the cost of creating and maintaining high-quality programming. These funds have various allowable uses that support a program’s unique needs such as, covering operating expenses (e.g., mortgage, payroll, taxes, insurance)purchasing materials and supplies to enhance the program environment, and providing mental health supports for your children and staff.

Program B: Funding Workforce Recruitment and Retention payments can be used to increase compensation for existing employees, recruit new employees and provide professional development opportunities. Providers are required to pay each employee included in the application the Monthly Base Per-Staff Amount, and can use the Monthly Quality Incentive Per-Staff Amount to further compensate employees based on merit, tenure, or other employment factors that make sense for their program. These funds can also be used to provide professional development opportunities to help staff achieve their professional development goals.

I’m not participating in YoungStar. I want to receive the Quality Incentive Per-Staff amount. What do I have to do?

All eligible providers will receive the Monthly Base Per-Staff Amount. If you would like your program to also receive the Monthly Quality Incentive Amount by participating in YoungStar, simply fill out a YoungStar contract and submit it to your local YoungStar office. Participation is free! Contracts are valid for two (2) years and are renewable.

Please note that by signing and submitting a YoungStar contract, you are agreeing to provide care for children participating in the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program.

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

English -- Spanish

Can I receive the additional Payment A funds for serving families who utilize Wisconsin Shares without participating in YoungStar?

No. To receive Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy payments from families, and the additional Child Care Counts Payment A funds, providers must participate in YoungStar.