SFTA Member Network:

Family Resource Centers (FRCs) and Childcare Resource & Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs)

Table of Contents

  • Letter from the Executive Director
  • Importance of Early Childhood Investments
  • Early Childhood By the Numbers
  • Addressing the Child Care Shortage
  • CCR&R & FRC Highlights
  • New Family Support Systems
  • Room to Grow Marketing Campaign
  • 2022 SFTA Programming Data
  • Advocacy
  • Announcements
  • Upcoming Events
  • Snapshot of Members
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Staff & Board Members

A Letter from SFTA Leadership:

Greetings! I joined SFTA as Executive Director in December 2021 and am delighted for the opportunity to lead this organization and its team of dedicated and experienced professionals. I take great pride in partnering with our statewide member network as we highlight the significant impact that they make daily in the lives of early child care providers, businesses, families, and communities!

We want to acknowledge the multitude of changes that have taken place in recent years, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and celebrate the resilience of Wisconsin’s families, early childhood providers, and those who support them. While the challenges have been numerous and constant change has continually threatened the stability of economies, communities, families, and child care, one thing has not wavered: SFTA’s commitment to our role and responsibility in ensuring that every Wisconsin child has the opportunity to reach their full potential and thrive! To that end, we welcome you to join us in viewing the work our staff and network are proud to have taken part of during the last year and will continue into 2023.

As we enter a new year filled with new opportunities, we look forward to bringing you these quarterly snapshots of the people and passion that drive our work.

In partnership,

Matricia Patterson, MSW, MSM

Executive Director, Supporting Families Together Association

Importance of Early Childhood Investments:

Investment in early childhood ultimately impacts all individuals and communities. Research has proven that young children have rapidly developing brains; they are in a constant state of curiosity and learning. Investing in high quality early care and education and family support services for all children sets them up for success later in life. Decades of research have shown that access to high quality early childhood programming and supports helps break down achievement gaps, provides equity in areas that are social determinants of health, and is essential to building a strong economy.


Returns on early childhood investments are high, with high quality early childhood programs and supports yielding a $4 – $9 dollar return per $1 invested. (National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs)

Yet current funding for early childhood in Wisconsin is much lower than it should be, with the funds pieced together from multiple, unsustainable or stagnant funding sources. Child Care Counts, a direct payment program to providers offering per child payments to programs, and Partner Up!, a grant program paying the true cost of care to providers offering care to contracted businesses, are both funded by federal Covid relief funding that will end in 2024. These programs currently enable providers to increase wages or offer benefits, make much-needed improvements to their centers, or support parents with tuition assistance. Without them, numerous centers face the daunting prospect of either raising their tuition rates or closing their doors.

While more than 50% of Wisconsin zip codes are considered a child care desert, CCR&Rs, who recruit, train, and support new and existing providers are at critical risk of losing programming due to lack of funding. Although mandated by Wisconsin state statute, CCR&R funding has remained stagnant since 2007, and is insufficient to provide much-needed supports and services to families, caregivers, and communities in Wisconsin.

Families served by FRCs show gains in economic self-sufficiency, health, social support, family functioning, child nurturing, and health attachment. Wisconsin currently has about 30 FRCs and an unknown number of community-based organizations that provide FRC-type services, but there is no funding mechanism that provides stable, consistent funding for operations and programming. The Prevention Board receives about $600,000 annually in federal Community-based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) funds, and it uses those funds to support child maltreatment primary prevention programming for 15 FRCs and community-based organizations, but that is not enough to provide statewide services.

Now is the time for Wisconsin to make meaningful and sustained state investments that will secure high quality early experiences for its most vulnerable citizens. SFTA proudly joins Wisconsin early childhood and family support partners in advocacy efforts to increase state investment in early childhood.

Early Childhood by the Numbers:

Of child care providers responding to their most recent annual Business Information Form: 


  • 40% offer after school care 
  • 38% are able to serve children with physical, cognitive, sensory, and/or emotional behavioral disabilities 
  • 36% offer before school care 
  • 20% offer drop-in care 
  • 10% offer temporary or emergency care 
  • 1% offer care on a 24-hour schedule 

Addressing the Child Care Shortage:

In 2022, Wisconsin saw 306 potential providers complete pre-licensing services with their CCR&R in support of their goal to become licensed for child care. Pre-licensing is required in Wisconsin to receive a child care license, and through this program, child care providers receive support in writing and reviewing policies, meeting the requirements on the licensing checklist, and hours of on-site technical assistance. Pre-licensing Technical Consultants at CCR&Rs provide services by phone, virtually, and on-site to answer questions and offer support. Participants have a 99.8% satisfaction rate with these services offered through the pre-licensing program. 

100% of all new child care programs in 2022 received some level of support from their CCR&R. CCR&Rs attribute the success of their pre-licensing services to their highly qualified and experienced staff and the fact that pre-licensing services are embedded in a more wholistic array of start-up supports offered by the CCR&R. Each CCR&R is able to provide required trainings, location walk-throughs, resources, answers to questions, and warm handoffs to things providers seeking licensure will need, such as building inspections. CCR&Rs can guide providers to other programs for financial support, such as the food program, Child Care Counts, and grants, scholarships, or stipends. Many CCR&Rs also manage certification services, so they can help providers evaluate their unique goals and provide guidance on the right path for them. 

If you are thinking about starting a child care program in your community or looking to support your local child care, get in touch with your CCR&R! More information can be found here.

What Pre-Licensing Participants are Saying

"My technical consultant was very informative. She was calm, respectful, patient, and just a great person to guide me through the process."

"My consultant was very helpful and professional during the pre-licensing process. She was also patient and provided a significant amount of support."

"My Technical Consultant was very thorough and replied quickly if I had any questions. She was very helpful and professional."

Participants have a 99.8% satisfaction rate with these services offered through the pre-licensing program. 


New Family Support Services

In 2022, The Department of Children and Families (DCF) awarded the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board funds from the Child Care Development Block Grant to help communities build relationships between Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs), Family Resource Centers (FRCs), and regulated child care providers. The Child Care Development Block Grant is a federally funded grant intended to assist Wisconsin in building a quality early childhood state system, and to improve, connect and expand services and supports for Wisconsin’s youngest, most vulnerable, and underserved children and families.

As members of Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA), all nine Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies received funding, with six receiving these funds as direct pass through from SFTA. The CCR&Rs have been building the capacity of their staff in various parent support programs that can be offered in partnership with regulated child care settings to their families. Staff have been trained in the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, Parent Cafes, and Positive Solutions for Families, to name a few.


Many regulated child care programs across the state have been identified to partner with their CCR&R to have these services available to their families. Within the first few months, over 150 families across the state have attended at least one parenting program offered at their child care program. Many more programs are scheduled to take place throughout the rest of 2023 and early 2024. 

Reach out to your local CCR&R or FRC to find out if these family support services are available in your regulated child care program!

Room to Grow Marketing Campaign

During the Spring of 2022, Supporting Families Together Association was able to offer a funding opportunity to our Family Resource Center Members, through a competitive process, for mini-grants to plan and implement a 6-month Marketing Campaign using materials supplied through the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board (CANPB). CANPB contracted with the marketing firm KW2 to develop a statewide marketing campaign, titled “Room to Grow” that was shared with Family Resource Centers across the state. SFTA was able to fund 7 Family Resource Centers, for a total of $14,000.00. Funds were used to help offset expenses associated with advertising, printing, and staff time to support their marketing strategies. Across the state, these mini grants helped fund 8 billboards, hundreds of social media posts, local movie theatre video clip ads, Bus/Metro advertising, both print and online advertising, and hundreds of outreach efforts through community outreach and mailings of Room to Grow print materials.

Mini-Grant recipients have shared that FRC awareness within their local communities has been noticeable. One agency shared that they had 16 responses from their outreach work with schools, libraries and other community organizations, asking for more information about their services and of these 16, half are inquiring about bringing the FRC’s Triple P services to their organizations. It’s important to acknowledge that all agencies used local advertising, so an additional benefit of this campaign is that the dollars spent in advertising stayed in the FRC’s local communities.

If you would like to learn more about the Room To Grow, FRC Marketing Campaign, please reach out to julie@supportingfamiliestogether.org

To find an SFTA Member Agency please visit our website here:

Supporting Families Together Association

To find an FRC near you go to: https://preventionboard.wi.gov/Pages/FRC/FindFRC.aspx

2022 SFTA Statewide Network Programming by the Numbers

  • Pre-Licensing: 306 new programs completed Pre-licensing in 2022 

  • PartnerUp!: 1,267 child care slots paid for with $6.2 million in true cost of care payments to providers in 2022

  • Training: SFTA and our members hosted 704 training events and trained 5,033 unique participants

  • FRC: 16 trainings coordinated for FRC agencies and staff (Parent Café, various Triple P levels, Standards of Quality, Play Group, Touchpoints, Parent Leadership, Protective Factors, Nurturing Parenting, etc.) 

  • CCR&R: 5,102 families served through child care referrals 2022 

Advocacy Updates

SFTA promotes investment in early childhood and family support services

SFTA and our members are deeply engaged in advocacy work to promote state and federal investment in early childhood. Network priorities include support for critical services to bolster recruitment, training, and retention of early care providers, as well as services that strengthen families and promote primary prevention. SFTA Executive Director Matricia Patterson and one CCR&R director are members of the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) and Raising Wisconsin.

SFTA supports the 2023 ECAC recommendations for investment in ECE workforce, Health and Well-being of Families, and Family Support Services. We also support the 2023 Raising Wisconsin policy agenda.

SFTA’s 4 Budget Priorities:

  • CCR&R Infrastructure: $3.3 million annual budget investment

  • FRC Infrastructure: $5 million budget investment

  • Partner Up! Sustainability: $22 million budget investment

  • Child Care Counts: $340 million budget investment

Governor Evers Listening Sessions

Matricia and member Executive Directors attended the Governor’s Budget Listening Sessions in December and January to talk about the importance of investment in early childhood.

SFTA is also excited to announce a partnership with Wisconsin Early Childhood Action Needed (WECAN) to provide advocacy trainings for early educators. Early childhood professionals will have the opportunity to receive WI Registry credit for training and events related to direct advocacy efforts. The initial training from this collaboration is not child-care specific and therefore is suitable to share widely with stakeholders. This training video focuses on how citizens can engage in the development of the WI budget, and is presented by two sitting members of The Legislatures Joint Committee on Finance: Senator Johnson and Assembly Representative Goyke.

Look for more details to come at supportingfamiliestogether.org


Child Care start-up worksheets now available online!

Child care providers beginning the pre-licensing process are now able to submit their start-up worksheet online instead of mailing it in. Access the web form at https://supportingfamiliestogether.org/child-care-providers/start-a-child-care-program/. This form is required to begin work toward licensure.

Partner Up! Announcement

Governor Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development recently announced that Wisconsin received $15 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to invest in ECE. The funding includes a portion to expand Partner Up!, which supports employers who purchase slots at existing regulated child care programs. View the full announcement here.

Further details are expected during the month of February 2023. Visit projectgrowth.wi.gov for updates.

Supporting Families Together Association is proud to administer the Partner Up! grant program in collaboration with DCF and Wisconsin’s nine CCR&Rs. 

WI Registry free membership coupon available!

A coupon for FREE Registry membership and renewal is now available through funding provided by the Department of Children and Families through the Preschool Development Grant (PDG). 

All individuals, who are currently employed at a regulated child care program in Wisconsin AND have their current employer listed on their Registry Profile, are eligible to use the coupon code PDG2023

The coupon will be available only as funding allows. The WI Registry will also send future communications regarding the amount of funding available. Track the amount of funding remaining on this page

SFTA and CCR&Rs partner with WI-AIMH to offer Pyramid Model Connectors

SFTA announces a new partnership with WI-AIMH to maintain and enhance regional access to Pyramid Model training and technical assistance in each of the current Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&Rs) agencies. The CCR&Rs will select from a menu of options to meet the Pyramid Model needs of their service area and serve as a “connector” between WIAIMH/Pyramid Model and regional training and technical assistance.

Activities will include Infant/Toddler training series, 8-Part training series, onsite support and coaching, assistance for program-wide implementation, and more!

Upcoming Events

Fulfilling the Promise, February 21-22

Julie Walter will present with the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board (CANPB) on the Room to Grow FRC marketing campaign and SFTA's role in providing mini-grant opportunities for FRCs to use funds in furthering their marketing capacity.

Wisconsin Head Start Association Conference, February 27-March 1

Promoting Early Childhood, March 8-9, virtual

For an updated and complete list of trainings offered by SFTA and our member agencies, please visit the training calendar on our website.

Snapshot of SFTA's Members

Find your local CCR&R and FRC here!

Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight: Sarah Kazell

Meet Sarah Kazell, SFTA’s Initiatives and Advocacy Specialist. Sarah is deeply engaged in supporting SFTA member and stakeholder needs around ECE-related advocacy, building confidence and competence to advocate for investment in ECE and Family Support services, programming, and direct funding.

Sarah played a primary role in development of SFTA’s 2023-2023 network advocacy plan and policy agenda, training and resources related to advocacy, and external partnerships to support Wisconsin’s 2023 ECAC budget recommendations related to sustaining Child Care Counts, investing in the health and well-being of families, and bolstering family support services.

Number of years in the field: I worked in various roles offering direct care or therapeutic services to children and families for 9 years and have been engaged in systems and advocacy early childhood work for about 4 years.

Favorite thing about working at SFTA: Learning every day from the expertise of the highly skilled professionals I get to work alongside!

What do you want families/providers to know? I truly believe that by supporting the optimal development of children by empowering their families, educators, and communities with the resources and environmental conditions they need to thrive, we can solve all the world’s problems.

Staff Spotlight: Julie Walter

SFTA congratulates Family Support Specialist Julie Walter on earning the Infant Mental Health (IMH) Endorsement® for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health. This endorsement, offered in Wisconsin through WI-AIMH, is an internationally recognized credential that supports and recognizes the development and proficiency of professionals who work with or on behalf of infants, toddlers, and their families. It is based on a set of Competencies designed to support and enhance culturally sensitive, relationship focused practice within the framework of infant mental health. Julie was required to demonstrate acquisition of these competencies through education, work, specialized training and reflective supervision experiences.

Number of years in the field: I have been in the early childhood and family services field for 28 years.

Favorite thing about working at SFTA: My favorite thing about working at SFTA is the opportunity to share my passion for children and families at the state level. 

What do you want families/providers to know? I want families and providers to know that working with and raising children is one of the most challenging, yet important and rewarding things they'll ever do!

SFTA Staff & Board Members


Matricia Patterson

Connor Neeck

Alyssa Hannam

Sarah Kazell

Max Luck

Jeffrey Mund

Connie Dunlap

Julie Walter

Sherri Underwood

Debi Peterson

Jordan Sexton-Schoemann

Penny Chase

Amanda Austin

Yaret Moreno

Diana Zorn

Sue Vanderloop


Jason Wutt

Marita Herkert-Oakland

Kathy Mullally

Renee Ernsting

Mary Beth Plane, MSSW, PhD

Agnes Ring

Andrew J. Turner

Supporting Families Together Association




Early Childhood and Family Support Services - A wise investment!

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