success story

Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network: Expanding Access to Child Care

Eliminating day care deserts

A new collaboration expands child care options in Wisconsin

Throughout the state, day care programs have closed, plagued by problems with finding and keeping employees, handling administrative requirements and maintaining adequate financing. As a result, residents of both urban neighborhoods and rural communities have struggled to find the child care they need in order to meet their job responsibilities.

The Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network is launched

Citizens and community leaders in Vernon and Monroe counties began a series of public forums, and the need for quality child care emerged as one of the top concerns. With help from the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association and a grant from the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Project, the new collaboration—the Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network (WEESSN)—was formed. Its goal: To stabilize child care through shared staffing, resources and expertise.
The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association works with communities to determine need and feasibility and helps to round up funding for new programs, while WEESN offers a wide range of resources, including business templates, coaching, job listings and discounted purchasing costs.

Rural and urban neighborhoods benefit

By creating economies of scale, child care programs can operate more efficiently and resources can be directed into paying higher wages and offering higher quality programs. And by sharing business expertise, new child care providers can enter the field.

WEESSN began as a pilot program in western Wisconsin and now serves 11 counties, with nine of them in rural areas.

“It’s all about collaboration and sharing of resources. From grant application support and personal protective equipment to policy revisions and protecting cash flow to dealing with tricky situations with parents or staff and more—our providers benefit tremendously from the efficiencies and expertise that being a part of something bigger has to offer.”

- Paula Drew, Co-director of WEESSN, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association