By Ana Martinez-Ortiz

Early childhood education is a priority for many people. In Milwaukee, several organizations are working to ensure that early childhood education is accessible and equitable for all. Among these efforts is a focus on child care options.

Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families announced it would invest in programs focused on early care and education efforts. A total of $194 million will be invested.

Emilie Amundson
Secretary of the Department of Children and Families

Emilie Amundson, Secretary of the Department for Children and Families, spoke about the investments and expressed her gratitude to Governor Tony Evers and the Joint Finance Committee in a press release.

“Wisconsin has made an unprecedented investment in the early care and education industry, which has stabilized at near pre-pandemic levels,” Amundson said.

Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will go to these programs. Some of the investments include $112.3 million for Child Care Counts, $5 million for building an early childhood mental health counseling program, $30.6 million for the TEACH and REWARD programs and Moreover.

“These additional programs will help us continue to build on this momentum and build a stronger ECE system that supports all Wisconsin families,” Amundson said in the press release.

The Ministry of Children and Families submitted its formal request to the Joint Finance Committee in December. The committee returned an amended approval on Tuesday, February 9, with the aforementioned amounts.

According to the press release, the Evers administration has invested more than $824 million in federal relief funds to support early childhood education.

In an article published by the National University, Jessica Alvarado, Academic Program Director of the BA in Early Childhood Development, spoke about the importance of early childhood programs. She noted that this is where children learn social and emotional skills that will help them interact and navigate the world.

As early years and child care programs continue to be prioritized, investments like these demonstrate their importance.