MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families announced the launch of its new child care rating website, YoungStar, Thursday at the Learning Gardens Child Development Center in Madison.
The new website gives child care providers one to five stars, with five being the highest rating. The ratings are based on education, learning environment, business practices and the health and well-being of children. This year, 1,700 providers have been rated ahead of YoungStar's launch.
DCF says providers will be evaluated and rated annually. At the launch event, the Learning Gardens was recognized as a five-star child care provider.
"Through YoungStar, we will improve the quality of child care across the state to help our children get off to a promising start while providing parents with priceless peace of mind," said DCF Secretary Eloise Anderson, "Everybody benefits when Wisconsin children succeed."
Anderson also highlighted several statewide childcare reforms DCF has made, including "increasing the number of state licensors, expanding the frequency of background checks, and reducing fraud."
Milwaukee state Senator Spencer Coggs (D) attended Thursday's YoungStar launch, along with Madison Assemblyman Brett Hulsey (D). Hulsey released a statement saying Walker's biennial budget cut funding to reward providers who maintain a five-star rating.
Hulsey says five-star providers who participated in the Wisconsin Shares subsidy program would have been eligible for a 25 percent increase beginning this year. Instead, the budget trimmed the increases to 10 percent in 2012, with a 25 percent increase in 2013.
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