An independent review of subsidized childcare programs finds most are on the low end of the state's quality scale. However, a growing number of kids are in well-rated childcare.
Wisconsin Shares is a childcare subsidy program for low income families. It helps pay for two types of childcare: the kind provided in someone's home, and at licensed group child care centers. The latter is where 46-percent of children in Wisconsin's Shares go and where the rating is generally higher. Yet most of the programs reviewed by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families --70 percent-- get only a two-star rating on a scale of five. Council policy analyst Dave Edie says this shouldn't necessarily alarm parents.
"This doesn't mean they're in danger," he says. "If they [the childcare providers] are meeting the basic licensing standards they're getting pretty safe, nurturing childcare, but they're not getting the benefit of a high quality early learning program."
Edie says about five-thousand childcare programs are currently being measured. He says by the end of year, the council will have a more comprehensive statewide look at childcare quality . The state uses subsidies as an incentive for providers to improve care. The YoungStar ratings determine how much money childcare providers get through Wisconsin Shares .