"Early childhood investments benefit all of society, not only participating children and families… Research shows that early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children can pay back as much as $16 for every $1 invested.”
- Rob Grunewald Economist, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (principal author of the report)
Higher Expectations supported a report that was recently completed by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) on the effectiveness of Wisconsin's YoungStar Rating System and on the availability of high-quality child care in the state. Higher Expectations conducted two case studies of high-quality Racine area child care providers to better understand the financial implications of maintaining 4- and 5-star YoungStar ratings. According to the research, higher-quality child care centers have higher expenses, primarily due to the wages necessary to sustain high-quality services at 4- and 5-star ratings.
While more than 3,800 of Wisconsin’s approximately 5,000 regulated early child care providers are now part of YoungStar, only 17% of those programs are designated as high-quality. The report indicates that families in several high-poverty neighborhoods do have access to high-quality providers, but at the same time illustrates the financial struggles of maintaining those high-quality centers. The findings show that YoungStar's financial incentives may need adjusting to increase access to high-quality child care for those who would most benefit from it.
You can read the full report here.
There is also an interactive map of child care in Wisconsin, which you can access here.