On Friday, August 9, 2019, Secretary Amundson, Nadya Pere-Reyes, Erin Arngo-Escalante from DCF, and Rep. Mark Born, visited Willows Christian Child Care Center.
The visit began with a tour of the program. Willows is a rural program with a private well. Joan Beck, WCCAA President, took this opportunity to talk about the proposed bill for testing lead in drinking water, and explain the process involved in a lead test. Programs in a municipality need to know the amount of lead in the water coming from the city, before they can accurately test their programs water. You can read more about the proposed bills at the following links:
Co-sponsorship memo: http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/19lrb3539csm.pdf
Actual bill draft: http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/19lrb3566.pdf
Licensing concerns were discussed that were shared at our July 18th Informational Meeting with Tina Feaster. The ask from providers was to develop a standard practice to inform all providers about changes that licensing includes in the commentary section, but have not been implemented as regulation changes. It was suggested that perhaps a monthly memo be included as part of our Wisconsin Shares Child Care provider letter we currently receive or as part of the YoungStar newsletter. If you are a provider who does not care for Shares families, a separate mailing will be required.
Also discussed was the importance of an exit interview after a licensing visit, along with giving the provider ten days to appeal any non-compliances before the non-compliances are posted on the DCF Website. This would demonstrate a less punitive process then what we are seeing now, and open pathways to a more supportive partnership between state and providers.
Secretary Amundson brought up the importance of showing how pivotal Early Care and Education is, both to the legislators and the people of Wisconsin. If we in Early Care want professional recognition and increased funding, we need to make sure everyone knows we are the Early Care and Education Specialists. We provide the foundation all children need to succeed in school. Education begins at birth, not when a child walks through a public-school door.
President Joan Beck spoke at a press conference today, June 27, 2019 thanking Rep Born, Sen Darling, the Joint Finance Committee and the legislators for their work on the budget. A budget that supports our youngest learners. First by increasing the 4 star bonus to 15 % and the 5 star bonus to 30 %. This increase will help financially stabilize high quality programs and encourage other programs to achieve higher quality. Along with an increase in the Shares subsidy, which allows low income families better access to high quality programs, they might otherwise be priced out of. A win-win for families and providers who believe in the positive outcomes provided through high quality early care and education.
WCCAA has made a strong commitment to quality in early education. As 4k programs grow across the state, accreditation, child care subsidy issues, health issues and unions approach us, we need to unite and let our voices and concerns be heard with our local legislators in Madison and through collaborations with other organizations. We encourage you to join our Board of Directors in advocating to achieve our goals to strengthen families and our businesses.
To reach your legislators go to www.legis.state.wi.us. This link also will give you access to the joint finance committee and the list of legislators that sit on the education committee.
Some of the legislative issues the board has been working on.
- 4k Funding – As districts are starting 4k programs across the state we need to ensure that we are included as a collaborating partner. DPI is recommending a .1 funding incentive to those districts that collaborate. We need to let the governor and our legislators know we want this included in the budget.
- Early Learning Coalition – The Early Learning Coalition has been endorsed by WCCAA along with 9 other organizations to date including WEAC, The School Board Administrators Association, Headstart, Birth to Three and others. Through this coalition we are working legislatively towards three common goals: Professional Development, A Quality Rating System and 4k funding. You can find more out about this initiative by contacting Joan Beck at email@example.com, Chris Lanser at firstname.lastname@example.org or by going on the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families web site.
- Child Care Subsidy Task Force – The Department of Workforce Development is currently looking at how to restructure the child care subsidy programs. This coming as a direct result of a large deficit in the budget and fraudulent practices. Angela Lampkin of our board co-chaired the task force that was put together by Secretary Roberta Gassman and Bev Anderson was our representative.
- The Superintendents Advisory Committee on 4k – Several of our board members sit on this committee. It is facilitated by Jill Haglund of DPI and had representation from early education organizations across the state. Currently the group is looking at exactly how collaborations between public and private organizations should look.
- Overall Grants Management
- YoungStar Training and Technical Assistance – Expand Screening
- Increase YoungStar Participation
- Increase YoungStar Participation of High Needs Children
- Increase quality of YoungStar Program via scholarships, training, and bonuses
- YoungStar Validation Study
- WI Model Early Learning Standards
- Family Engagement
- Professional Development
- Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System (EC-LDC) Development
Other web links: