Youngstar Program

The care children receive at home and away from home couldn’t be more important.

Studies show that children who experience engaging, one-on-one activities and safe, healthy and nurturing learning environments have a better chance at lifelong success. They’re more likely to graduate from high school, less likely to engage in criminal activity or participate in special education programs. And they often earn higher wages throughout their lifetime. 

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 represents the work of many individuals and organizations over several years. From the legislative process used to create YoungStar to the organizations that are now administering YoungStar in Wisconsin, each of the documents provided on this page gives specific and in-depth information about the workings of YoungStar. If you have any questions about any of these documents, please feel free to contact your Local YoungStar Office or the Child Care Information Center (CCIC).

YoungStar is Making Changes for 2021/2022 (NEW)

Are you interested in learning more about the changes taking place in YoungStar? Visit the following link for the latest information: 

YoungStar Administration

The Department has selected Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) to administer all YoungStar services beginning July 1, 2016. Please visit our YoungStar Administration page for more information.

YoungStar Goals

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 learn more, read our Five Year Plan.

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