|Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development News Release|
|Friday, June 18, 2004
|News Media Contact
Madison - Governor Jim Doyle announced today his appointments to the Quality Counts for Kids Task Force. The task force will meet for the first time on Monday, June 21 to begin developing the Quality Counts for Kids program that will - for the first time - rate the quality of child care providers in Wisconsin and guide parents in choosing a provider for their children.Under the program, child care facilities will be inspected by a trained professional, evaluated on a set of standards, and given a rating of a certain number of stars. This Quality Counts for Kids rating will be available to parents, giving them the information they need to make informed choices about providers. The program is part of Governor Doyle's KidsFirst Initiative. "This task force will help us develop a rating system that will give child care providers incentives to go above and beyond the basic standards of quality," Governor Doyle said. "It will also give our parents, who are making important decisions about what child care center is best for their child, more information about the quality of the providers." By considering these ratings in determining reimbursement, the state can encourage child care providers to improve the quality of their care. Other states have found that a similar system creates a powerful incentive for providers to improve quality. "This program will give child care providers an incentive to improve," Secretary Gassman said. "Wisconsin now spends more than $300 million a year on the Wisconsin Shares childcare subsidy program for W-2 participants. This program will ensure the money is well spent." Roberta Gassman, Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and Helene Nelson, Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) will convene the panel on Monday. Along with DWD and DHFS, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will assist the panel in developing recommendations. The University of Wisconsin Extension Research Partnership and the Health and Human Services Planning Council also are involved in the effort. Ann Terrell, child care partnership coordinator for Milwaukee Public Schools, will serve as chairperson of the task force. The panel, representing a diverse group of urban and rural providers and advocates, will meet monthly to develop a proposed rating system by September. The task force will then hold public hearings and make its recommendations to the Governor in December. Announced in May, Governor Doyle's KidsFirst Initiative is a comprehensive plan to ensure that Wisconsin's kids are healthy, safe, prepared for success, and supported by strong families.
Besides Terrell, the other task force members are: