How We Started

Throughout the state, child care programs have been closing at an alarming rate with staffing, administrative burden, and finance issues listed as biggest challenges. Wisconsin recognized an opportunity to help children, families, and early educators and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) has developed a solution we believe will help child care programs succeed. The Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network (WEESSN) brings together family and group child care programs to benefit from collaborations and efficiencies within a shared services network. By sharing resources, knowledge, and skills, child care programs can improve quality, build capacity in their caregiving, and benefit their communities in growing ways.

This solution was built from the community and for the community. WECA is a founding member of Wisconsin Partners, a multi-sector coalition, whose purpose is to develop broad and deep relationships in order to build more vibrant communities across the state. Several years ago, Wisconsin Partners launched a series of community conversations in the Vernon and Monroe County region leading to the development of the ongoing effort now known as Kickapoo Conversations, a citizen-based forum envisioning the future of this region. Members of this group include schools, churches, youth, government and nonprofit organizations, and business leaders from both small and large area employers. These conversations sought to answer the question: how can we improve access to quality child care in our region? The innovative model of the Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network (WEESSN) was born and then generously funded by the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Project (HWPP) grant from A Healthier Wisconsin Endowment to pilot in this region.

Once it was clear that this pilot was working, WECA secured additional funding to expand WEESSN to the following areas of Wisconsin:

  • City of Milwaukee 
  • Dane County 
  • Jackson County 
  • Green County
  • Grant County 
  • Crawford County 
  • Iowa County 
  • Lafayette County 
  • Richland County