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The Alliance for Early Success has two key allies in Wisconsin: Kids Forward and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association. Kids Forward provides research, public education, and advocacy for the development and implementation of public policy that improves child and family well-being in health, economic security, safety, and education.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association is the state affiliate of NAEYC, a founding member of the state Early Learning Coalition, and on the state Prenatal to 3 Coalition. The advocacy team engages in state level early childhood policy and budget work, including running advocacy campaigns and fully engaging their membership. They developed and maintain Forward for Kids — an advocacy network of early childhood educators and individuals who support WECA’s work.

State Allies:

Kids Forward • Madison, WI
Wisconsin Early Childhood Association • Fitchburg, WI
Top Priorities for 2021

Advocate for new standards for a more equitable QRIS (YoungStar) that are based on the voices of parents and updated research. (Kids Forward)

Establish groups of parent advocates with a multiyear collective leadership plan on improving equity in early learning, (Kids Forward)

Write and disseminate an updated equity in early care and education (ECE) report that compares data between 2016 and 2019. (Kids Forward)

Advocate for the governor’s budget priorities to substantially increase support for ECE, including the child care workforce and COVID-19 recovery initiatives that are focused on equity. (Kids Forward)

Ensure early childhood educators have the skills, training, and support to deliver high quality care with commensurate compensation through policies such as scholarships, wage supplements, tax credits, and tiered bonuses and by creating a bipartisan public-private child care workforce task force. (Wisconsin Early Childhood Association)

Engage a broader community of parents on equitable early learning, document their stories, and disseminate publicly through multiple communication means. (Kids Forward)

Advance policies related to child care funding, subsidy rates, contracts, copay, eligibility, and tax credits that help every low-income family with an infant and/or toddler attain equitable access to a range of affordable, high-quality, culturally and linguistically responsive child care options that meet their employment and family needs. (Wisconsin Early Childhood Association)

Wisconsin’s 2020 Early Childhood Policy Landscape and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (R), Senate (R),
Governor (D)

205,215 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

The year was an off year for the budget, and the session did not impact any of the wins in Wisconsin. Kids Forward focused on working with the Department of Children and Families and implementation of policies.

*Early childhood policy progress in a state is the result of numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

More from Wisconsin:

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the icon to download the report.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020

Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”

State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”

Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 


The Alliance for Early Success is achieving large-scale, long-lasting change for the state’s young children by providing our allies with powerful advantages that help them shape Wisconsin early childhood policy.