Public Policy Forum Research


Search Publications

The Quest for Quality: How YoungStar is affecting child care in Milwaukee County

Our new research finds that five years after initial implementation of the State's YoungStar quality rating and improvement program, an increased number of children are receiving child care from quality providers. The report also finds that while large group centers have made considerable progress in improving their ratings, smaller home-based family providers continue to struggle.

  • The majority of children receiving Wisconsin Shares subsidies in Milwaukee County (54%) are enrolled at child care providers rated 3 Stars on YoungStar's five-star system. This represents a substantial improvement since our last analysis in 2013, when 54% were enrolled at 2 Star providers.
  • Well over half of home-based family providers (62%) are rated 2 Stars, while the majorities of all other provider types are rated 3 Stars. There also has been a 22% decline in the total number of family providers since 2013. 
  • The percentage of children receiving Wisconsin Shares subsidies in Milwaukee County who are enrolled at a high-quality (4 or 5 Star) provider has nearly doubled since 2013 (from 9.4% to 19%), but the county still lags the rest of the state.
  • Two ZIP codes in Milwaukee County (53202 and 53206) have no high-quality providers.