All children have good days and not-so-good days.

When the not-so-good days become every day, we’re here to help.

What is Behavior Help Wisconsin?

Behavior Help Wisconsin is a program that helps early childhood care and education providers who feel challenged by the behavior of a child. Behavior Help Coaches provide one-on-one coaching to the child’s parents/guardians and care provider to equip you with tools, knowledge, and skills to reduce challenging behaviors and promote positive ones.

Our evidence-based approach strengthens the social-emotional development of young children as identified in the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards.

If you are feeling challenged by a child’s behavior and aren’t sure what else to try, Behavior Help Wisconsin can provide you with strategies that will encourage positive behaviors and strengthen your relationship with the child.

Read our brochure

Behavior Help Wisconsin is currently a pilot program operating only in certain areas of the state (Chippewa, Dane, Dunn, Eau Claire, and St. Croix counties, and Milwaukee zip codes 53204, 53206, 53210, 53215, 53218). If you are not located in a pilot area, you can receive alternative support from your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R). Find my CCR&R

Is there a child in your care who you feel…

Exhibits frequent and/or extreme challenging behaviors?
Takes too much of your attention away from the other children in your care because of challenging behaviors?
Is becoming a concern to you and/or the other families you serve?
You have tried to help with every trick up your sleeve, but nothing seems to work?
You are considering asking the family to leave your program?


If you answered “Yes” to two or more questions, Behavior Help Wisconsin is ready to support you!


 Get Started

4 Steps to Behavior Help

Once services are requested (see Get Started below), you will be connected with a Behavior Help Coach who will be your partner throughout the Behavior Help process. Click each step to learn what to expect during Behavior Help services.

Gathering Information

The Behavior Help Coach begins by meeting with the child care provider and the child’s parents/guardians to understand the behaviors taking place. Using a formal observation tool called the Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning & Development (CHILD), the Coach will assess relationships and interactions in the care setting.

The goal of this step is for the Coach to gain a clear understanding about: 

  • The behaviors of concern 
  • When the behaviors occur 
  • The nature of adults’ relationships with the child 
  • Any major events or transitions in the child’s life 
  • What has and has not previously worked for the child 

This is a process that may take multiple conversations and it is essential to informing the Coach’s tailored strategies to improve outcomes for the child.

Creating an Intervention Plan

Once the Coach has gathered the necessary information, they will shift gears and begin creating a plan of approaches and strategies for the care provider to try with the child. This step is done in collaboration with the care provider and the parents/guardians.

Every intervention plan is unique based on the needs of the child and the care provider, the information gathered in Step One, and the strengths of the learning environment. The plan is designed with the goal of supporting social and emotional development by enhancing learning environments and positive relationships between adults and children. This will then promote pro-social skills and emotional regulation in the child, which will reduce challenging behaviors.

All Behavior Help services use a strength-based, relational, and culturally attuned approach. This evidence-based approach will strengthen the social-emotional development of young children as identified in the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards.

Coaching & Implementing Techniques

The plan will be put into action with collaboration between the important adults in the child’s life. During this time, the Coach is available to provide support to the care provider and parents/guardians as needed. This can include:

  • Teaching strategies
  • Providing tools
  • Modeling behaviors
  • Observing the new strategies and providing feedback
  • Facilitating communication between the care provider and parents/guardians
  • Making specific recommendations based on the learning environment
  • Adjusting the plan as needed

These services typically last 6-12 weeks. You and your Behavior Help Coach can determine together the frequency of visits and communication based on the situation and the Coach’s recommended strategies. Generally, you can expect that at the start of services you will be in regular communication with your Coach, then as you begin implementing new strategies the Coach will schedule times for check-ins. Of course, you are welcome and encouraged to reach out to your Coach anytime via phone or email. 

Wrap-Up Services

With the new strategies in place, the Behavior Help Coach will reassess the learning environment using the same CHILD observation tool.

The Coach will remain available to answer questions from the child care provider and parents/guardians. Three months after the conclusion of the implementation stage, the Coach will conduct a formal check-in to evaluate the ongoing effectiveness of the newly implemented strategies.

Our Approach

We believe all young children can develop healthy social and emotional skills with time, practice, and targeted support.

A child who struggles to communicate her/his emotions in an appropriate way can resort to expressing them through what adults see as challenging behaviors, such as hitting, biting, screaming, and refusing to listen. By teaching the adults in that child’s life (primarily their parents/guardians and child care provider) techniques and tools to support the child’s social and emotional development, the child will learn new, healthier ways to express emotions, and the challenging behaviors will reduce and be replaced by positive ones.

Behavior Help Coaches work primarily with the child care provider and parents/guardians, not the child. The goal of this program is to have the adults in the child’s life adapt their methods and environment to better meet the child’s individual needs. Strengthening these practices will positively impact the adults’ relationships with the child, which will encourage more positive behaviors from the child.

All Behavior Help services use a strength-based, relational, and culturally attuned approach. This evidence-based approach will strengthen the social-emotional development of young children as identified in the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards.

See More: How is this different from receiving YoungStar Technical Consultation or other programs?

Although many Behavior Help strategies will benefit all children in an early care and education classroom or program, services are specifically targeted to support the needs of one identified child. Unlike YoungStar Technical Consultation, we are also able to involve this child’s parents/guardians and facilitate a team approach between all the important adults in the child’s life.

YoungStar participation is NOT required to receive Behavior Help Wisconsin services. Participation in Behavior Help Wisconsin does not impact your YoungStar rating or technical consulting hours in any way. But your Behavior Help services may build upon strategies discussed in your YoungStar consultations, and your Coach can partner with your YoungStar consultant to help support outcomes. Both Behavior Help and YoungStar use evidence-based strategies that are recognized as quality practices in the Early Learning field. 

See More: How does this approach disrupt early expulsion?

Enrollment, Expulsion and Resource Use in Wisconsin Child Care: This brief report provides information from a survey of Wisconsin’s providers of regulated early care and education services about how they address the needs of young children with challenging behaviors. Or view the Report Summary

What is Infant Mental Health?

Infant mental health is synonymous with healthy social and emotional development in children. It is defined as the developing capacity for a child from birth to age five to:

  • Experience, regulate, and express emotions
  • Form close and secure relationships
  • Explore their environment and learn

This development takes place within the context of family, community, and cultural expectations for young children. 

Infant mental health is a multi-disciplinary field that includes early care and education professionals, mental health experts, and academics.

Learn more about IMH

The CHILD Observation Tool

Our Coaches use the CHILD Observation Tool in the care setting. “CHILD” is short for Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning & Development — but its name is misleading. It does not assess a child, it actually assesses the quality of relationships and interactions in the care environment the child is in.

For example, if a child is playing blocks with her friends, an observer using the CHILD tool would not be focusing on what the child is building or the challenging behaviors she may display. Instead the observer would be watching for the types of interactions the child is having with her environment, her friends, and the care provider, and the impact each has on the child’s behavior. Is there a piece of the environment or a type of interaction that repeatedly triggers the behavior? The observation tool helps our Coaches identify what support is needed to encourage positive behavior during times when the child has displayed challenging behavior in the past. 

See More: Will the child receive a diagnosis from Behavior Help Wisconsin? Does this go on their "record"?

No. Behavior Help Wisconsin does NOT formally diagnose or medically evaluate children. Participation is confidential and children’s information is not shared with outside parties, with the exceptions of mandated reporting of child abuse or neglect, or if a parent/guardian requests the information be shared for the purposes of coordinating care with additional professionals who are in a role to support the child (for example, a child’s pediatrician or therapist). 

Behavior Help Coaches work mostly with the child care provider, not the child. The goal of Behavior Help is to equip the adults in a child’s life with strategies that allow them to meet the child’s needs in a way that encourages social-emotional growth and positive behaviors. 

The Behavior Help Team

Your Behavior Help team will have expertise in: 

  • Early childhood care environments, practices, and curricula 
  • Infant and child mental health 
  • Child development 
  • Relationship-based strategies for promoting positive behaviors, emotional regulation, and social skills 

Your team will be headed by a Behavior Help Coach who will work with you throughout your Behavior Help services. The Coach will come from your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) and has extensive knowledge of the field of early care and education and child development.

Your Coach may also choose to collaborate with a Social-Emotional Development Consultant who has additional training and expertise in fields such as infant mental health, social-emotional development, trauma-informed care, and establishing healthy relationships.

See More: What's the difference between a Social Emotional Development Consultant and a Behavior Help Coach?

Behavior Help Coaches have expertise in optimal learning environments and relationships that support children’s social and emotional development. But there are times when the factors contributing to a child’s behavior may be more complex or nuanced. A Behavior Help Coach may choose to include in the process a Social Emotional Development Consultant when the challenging behavior is influenced by factors such as exposure to traumatic events, interpersonal conflicts between caregivers, or important caregivers who may be struggling with their own mental health concerns. Social Emotional Development Consultants, in addition to their knowledge of early childhood care environments and relationships, have additional clinical expertise in Infant Mental Health. 

Or, if strategies and techniques that typically yield positive results in care environments are implemented by the Coach, care provider, and child’s parents without success, the Coach may choose to bring in a Consultant because, as always, two heads are better than one.

Social Emotional Development Consultants also have the training and expertise to provide Reflective Supervision Consultation to child care providers. Reflective Supervision Consultation is a tool that can help child care providers better recognize mental states (feelings, thoughts, and intentions) in themselves and others, and understand the link between those mental states and behavior. Reflective Practice recognizes that working with families is relational and complex, and that healthy relationships are where both children and adults thrive. Reflecting on these relationships helps professionals carry forth positive qualities with families — using their relationship to bring out the families’ strengths and resiliency. Regularly practicing reflection and integrating it into the routine structure of an agency has proven beneficial to direct providers, supervisors, consultants, and agencies. 

Who is Eligible?

An eligible child care provider must: 

  • Work at (or own) a licensed or certified child care program (family or group) in an identified pilot region
  • Be experiencing challenges with the behavior of a child, and be willing to try new strategies to help that child succeed in the program 

An eligible child must: 


  • Be 0 to 5 years old 
  • Be displaying challenging behaviors 
  • Attends a child care program in an identified pilot region

Before services can begin, Behavior Help Wisconsin requires signed permission from the child care provider, the child care program director (if different than the care provider), and the child’s parent/guardian. 

If you are concerned one of these parties may be hesitant to give permission, a Behavior Help Coach will be happy to connect with them to explain the program. 

Parent/guardian permission is needed due to Wisconsin Department of Children and Families regulation prohibiting child care providers from discussing details of a child in their care with an outside party (DCF 251.04(7)(a)2). However, Behavior Help Coaches work primarily with the child care provider, not the child. 

See More: What is the cost?

There is no cost! Behavior Help Wisconsin is currently in a pilot phase, and thanks to generous funding from Wisconsin Partnership Program, during this time Behavior Help services are free to child care providers and families in the pilot areas. 

If a child care provider was to pay out-of-pocket for the services offered by Behavior Help Wisconsin, including observations, feedback, goal planning, coaching and consultation, the cost would be in the range of $3,000 – $6,000 depending on the length of services. Behavior Help is thrilled to be able to offer these services FREE during the pilot phase!

Pilot Regions

Behavior Help Wisconsin is currently a pilot program operating only in certain areas of the state. Participation is currently limited to the counties of Chippewa, Dane, Dunn, Eau Claire, St. Croix, and the Milwaukee zip codes of 53204, 53206, 53210, 53215, 53218.

 Get started with BHW


If you are not located in a pilot area, reach out to your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) for alternate support. Your CCR&R will be able to provide individualized support and connect you with local trainings and resources.

 Find my CCR&R


For more information about Behavior Help Wisconsin or to learn if you are eligible, contact your local CCR&R or Supporting Families Together Association.

 Find my CCR&R          Contact SFTA

Get Started

Your Behavior help Wisconsin services will be provided by your local Child Care resource & Referral Agency. Contact your agency to request services and get started.

If located in Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, or St. Croix counties: 


Child Care Partnership Resource & Referral Agency 


Phone: (715) 831-1700 or Toll Free: 1 (800) 782-1880 


If located in Dane county: 


4-C Community Coordinated Child Care


Phone: (608) 271-9181 or Toll Free: 1 (800) 750-KIDS


If located in Milwaukee zip codes 53204, 53206, 53210, 53215, 53218: 


4C For Children


Phone: (414) 562-2650 or Toll Free: 1 (800) 300-5999 


If you are not located in these pilot areas, reach out to your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R) for alternate support. Your CCR&R will be able to provide individualized support and connect you with local trainings and resources.

 Find my CCR&R

Our Partners

Behavior Help Wisconsin is made possible by generous funding from the Wisconsin Partnership Program. It is implemented in partnership with Supporting Families Together Association, the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health, 4C for Children, Child Care Partnership, and 4-C.

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