DWD: Governor Doyle Proposes “Quality Care for Quality Kids”

Ethnie Groves, Governor’s Office, 608-261-2156
Rose Lynch, Department of Workforce Development, 608-266-6753

KidsFirst Item Presents Nation New Child Care Model

Workforce Development Secretary Gassman says five-star ratings will determine level of child care subsidy payments, rewarding quality

Madison – Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman today released the task force report on Governor Jim Doyle’s “Quality Care for Quality Kids” Initiative, the child care proposal he presented in his state address as one of the most innovative child care systems in the nation.

Secretary Gassman said Wisconsin, the first state to offer kindergarten, will continue to lead the nation with a five-star system rating the quality of all regulated child care providers and with a well-established, extensive, child care subsidy program that will make payments based on those ratings.

For the first time, Wisconsin parents will have a consumer-friendly guide to quality child care, and taxpayers will be assured that the nearly $300 million a year in Wisconsin Shares, child care subsidies for low-income working parents is money well spent, Secretary Gassman said.

Promised as part of his KidsFirst initiative, the Governor said the rating system and tiered reimbursement will be part of his 2005-07 budget proposal. Under “Quality Care for Quality Kids,” providers participating in the Wisconsin Shares subsidy program will be reimbursed at a higher rate if they achieve five-star status.

“Right now, we pay the worst child care facility and the best child care facility the same amount, and that’s wrong,” Governor Doyle said. “My plan will reward quality, encourage improvement, and give parents the information they need to choose the right child care center.”

“Wisconsin is not the first state to rate the quality of child care providers, but for years, it has set an example for other states when it comes to developing strong child care licensing regulations,” Governor Doyle said. “Other states also look to Wisconsin and the success of its Wisconsin Shares program.

Governor Doyle and Secretary Gassman thanked the task force chair, Ann Terrell, child care coordinator for Milwaukee Public Schools, and other members for their work.

A copy of the task force report can be found at: http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/docview.asp?docid=1736&locid=19.