Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle unveiled the first part of the KidsFirst plan Monday, his comprehensive initiative to invest in the state’s children.
As he visited childcare centers in Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay, Doyle presented part one of the initiative, named “Ready for Success.” This phase of the plan is comprised of a number of proposals and goals to ensure Wisconsin children are equipped with needed skills to help them succeed throughout their lifetimes.
“The single most important thing we can do today to ensure a strong, successful future for Wisconsin is invest in our kids early,” Governor Doyle said in a release. “What we do now will determine what kind of state Wisconsin will be 10, 20, even 50 years from now. Our highest priority should be making sure our children grow up safe, healthy and successful.”
The state plans to launch “Quality Counts” as part of the Ready for Success program. “Quality Counts” will implement a state rating process for childcare providers, creating a system of inspections, evaluations and standards available to parents.
The state will use the ratings for Wisconsin Shares, a program providing subsidies to low-income families to determine how much to pay participating childcare providers.
“For too long, this program has solely been looked at as a way to provide child care for low-income mothers so they can work during the day,” Doyle said in a release. “That’s an important goal, but we need to broaden our thinking. If we are going to invest that kind of money in child care for some of our neediest kids, we should make sure the money is spent on high-quality programs that will help these kids get the right start in life.”