Early childhood education and care provides an essential service to Wisconsin families and supports Wisconsin children at a critical stage of brain development. Yet its labor-intensive economics prove challenging for all of its stakeholders, resulting in high costs for families, low wages for employees, and thin margins for providers.

A wave of federal aid provided temporary relief during the COVID-19 pandemic but is now approaching its end, raising concerns for all stakeholders. However, the transition period also offers an opportunity to reassess the industry’s challenges and perhaps put it on a more sustainable long-term footing.

This information is a service of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education. Learn more at wispolicyforum.org.