Wisconsin Spotlight  | May 9, 20

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — The Evers administration has come under fire for its intent to award a New York-based company a multi-year contract to lead the state’s child care quality rating and improvement system.

At the moment, the winning bidder is led by an old Democratic Party pal — with a controversial public service record. Wisconsin child care resource organizations worry the out-of-state contractor’s approach could prove disruptive and potentially damaging to a state child care industry still reeling from the pandemic and Gov. Tony Evers’ lockdowns.

A protest

Team Evers is poised to go with Shine Early Learning Inc. to run the YoungStar program, the state’s childcare quality rating and improvement system within the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF). The system has for over a decade been administered by Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA , its most recent contract running since 2016.

Wisconsin Spotlight has learned SFTA has lodged an official complaint and protest. The protest pauses the completion of the contract negotiations and begins a review process, a DCF official said. Wisconsin Spotlight is seeking a copy of the protest letter through the state’s open records law. Matricia Patterson, SFTA’s executive director, declined to discuss the details of the protest letter while the review is ongoing.

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