Local childhood professionals look for support

To the Editor:

This week is Week of the Young Child, a national celebration honoring children, families, and those who help care for children.

As a childcare adminis-trator and program director we are very concerned about the future quality early care and education in Wisconsin, due to a new program implemented by the state.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is creating an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program for childcare. Ignoring pleas from childcare providers, DCF has decided to put the YoungStar quality bonuses (used to reward four- and five-star centers) on the EBT cards and cap revenue available to the centers. This means less money for the very centers that are most committed to quality and doing the most to offer quality.

High-quality childcare centers are already struggling to survive due to inadequate support and strong regulations. DCF’s actions on the EBT will force many others to abandon YoungStar and/or no longer accept Wisconsin Shares families. This would hurt the very people the department is supposed to help: children and families. These changes can have a dramatic impact on early childhood programs across Wisconsin but bigger impacts on the children these programs serve.

The YoungStar bonuses must be taken off the EBT cards and the revenue cap removed. Please join us in asking your local legislators to stand up for children and families and tell DCF to listen to the childcare industry on this issue.

/s/ Krista Sobieski and Allie Henke, Early Childhood Education Professionals