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YoungStar–Wisconsin’s Childcare Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS)

What is YoungStar?
YoungStar is Wisconsin’s five-star quality improvement and rating system (QRIS) for childcare providers.  The rating system is based on four categories: education levels of providers, children’s learning environment, providers’ business practices, and the health and well-being of children.

YoungStar is intended to do the following:

  1. Improve the overall quality of childcare.
  2. Create a clear, understandable tool for parents to choose quality childcare.
  3. Create incentives for providers to improve services, particularly services to low-income children and their families.
  4. Establish a connection between childcare quality and the rate of Wisconsin Shares (childcare subsidy) payments
  5. Help prevent fraud in the Wisconsin Shares system.

Where can I find more information about YoungStar?
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) holds the state’s YoungStar page on its website.  There you will find general information for the public and more specific resources geared towards childcare providers, parents, or taxpayers.  A good starting point to learn more about YoungStar is the brief overview prepared by DCF which provides background information and articulates the program’s purpose.  With the list of frequently asked questions you’ll find information about YoungStar’s key components–training and technical assistance, childcare rating, tiered Wisconsin Shares reimbursement based on rating, and communication to parents regarding the rating system–and obtain answers to many questions like:

  • Why is Wisconsin implementing a QRIS?
  • What program will be included in YoungStar?
  • What are YoungStar’s basic program policies?
  • How are the system’s four categories rated?
  • How will parent information be available?
  • How will providers receive training and technical assistance?
  • How will YoungStar affect Wisconsin Shares reimbursement?

Additionally, the September 2010 issue of the Child Care Information Center Newsletter (no. 60) provides a one-stop source for a brief overview of YoungStar, a graph depicting the YoungStar rating levels, the minimum point requirements for both group and family childcare providers, illustrations of technical assistance to improve quality, and more.

NEW!  DCF and Head Start have developed a YoungStar Head Start Tip Sheet that answers many questions that programs may have about participation in YoungStar. It outlines how Head Start Performance Standards equate to YoungStar accreditation, how new programs or grantee centers are rated, and many more!

For more in-depth information about each of YoungStar’s four rating categories, you may want to view the series of three one-hour webinars developed by DCF and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA).  The archived webinars are available through WECA’s website.