For more than 40 years, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) has been serving the needs of child care providers through education, advocacy and research.
In 1971, WECA was launched to direct the first statewide conferences for Wisconsin child care providers. From those early days with a half-time Executive Director and a volunteer staff, WECA has grown immensely.
A Food Program, Scholarships for Early Childhood Professionals and Stipends for Career Commitment
For well over two decades, WECA has been operating a statewide child care food program. Next, WECA stepped forward to administer T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin, a scholarship program developed in North Carolina for child care providers to advance their skills. Soon after, REWARD Wisconsin began, a stipend program that rewards child care providers for skill development and commitment to their profession.
These programs continue to thrive. In 2013:
- Over 3.5 million healthy meals and snacks were served to children through the WECA Food Program;
- Over 1,000 T.E.A.C.H. scholarships were awarded, totaling over $3.2 million;
- Over 1,400 early childhood professionals received financial incentives through REWARD Wisconsin; and
- Over 2,500 child care providers were members of WECA and participants in national and local affiliate groups.
WECA is a consortial partner for implementing YoungStar—Wisconsin's child care rating and quality improvement system. In 2013, WECA Technical Consultants made 1,375 visits to family and group child care programs. WECA also administered YoungStar Micro-Grants and awarded over 2,000 Micro-Grants in 2013.
The future holds great potential for new solutions and new collaborations for meeting the needs of young children. WECA will continue to be on the forefront, articulating and supporting the work of early childhood teachers who contribute so much to children, their parents, and to employers.