YoungStar for Early Care and Education Providers


What is YoungStar?

The Department of Children and Families is committed to improving the quality of care for Wisconsin’s youngest children. YoungStar, Wisconsin’s child care quality rating and improvement system, is helping to make it happen.

YoungStar drives quality improvement in child care throughout the state of Wisconsin by:

  • Helping providers who want to improve the quality of their care
  • Creating financial incentives that encourage providers to deliver better services to children
  • Giving parents the meaningful information they need to make informed child care decisions for their children—at home and away from home
  • Supporting ongoing child care quality improvement by linking higher quality care to higher Wisconsin Shares subsidy amounts and YoungStar Quality Adjustments

YoungStar is a five-star quality rating system for child care providers based on education, learning environment, business methods, and practices around child health and well-being. Through this rating system, the state is addressing several key issues in Wisconsin's child care system. The rating system will:

  • Improve the overall quality of child care
  • Create a clear, understandable tool to help parents choose quality child care
  • Create incentives for providers to improve services, particularly for low-income children
  • Link the quality of child care providers to Wisconsin Shares subsidy amounts
  • Include a YoungStar Quality Adjustment to recognize the highest levels of quality

To be eligible to receive child care subsidy payments, programs must participate in YoungStar.

YoungStar Technical Consulting Services

4-C Early Childhood Specialists provide free YoungStar Technical Consulting to programs and providers in the 4-C service delivery area (Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Sauk, Rock, and Walworth Counties). This consultation can look different, depending on the needs of each program, but can include:

  • Classroom observation
  • Reviewing policies and handbooks
  • Family engagement
  • Access to the micro-grant (requirements apply)

Interested in participating in YoungStar for the first time?

Start with completing the YoungStar Contract. If you have other questions about YoungStar, contact 4-C at or 608-271-9181.