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YoungStar Professional Development Department

Professional Development Department Objectives

Our objective is to be the first level of professional development resource gathering and research to YoungStar Technical Consultants and the second level of professional development resource gathering and research to child care programs. To supply, develop, update and maintain well-organized professional development services that will improve our practice as professionals throughout the state of Wisconsin.

YoungStar Professional Development Department Overview

SFTA currently administers YoungStar professional development services through our wonderful Professional Development staff. Our department supports Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, and child care providers with their professional development needs. We provide resources, tools, and trainings in early childhood education that range from foundational, to complex. We are the first step in identifying professional development resources and research for Technical Consultants. Additionally, we offer professional development supports to licensed child care programs through various options, some in consort with their assigned Technical Consultant. We supply and maintain professional development supports; online trainings, face to face, action planning, and a wealth of other resources and tools. Our goal is to provide responsive and diverse supports, meaningful training curriculum and increase skill and knowledge for our partners and Child Care Providers throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Abbe Braun

Professional Development Manager

CCR&Rs and programs may contact Abbe with questions about policies and administration of the YoungStar Professional Development Department.

(608) 443.2491


Jenna Finley

Professional Development Specialist

CCR&Rs and programs may contact Jenna with questions/concerns about standardized and customizable trainings, training revisions and professional development goal setting.

(608) 800.1506

Romilia Schlueter

Bilingual Quality Improvement Specialist

CCR&Rs and programs may contact Romilia with questions/concerns about standard YoungStar trainings and customizable trainings for Spanish-speaking audiences.

(608) 443.2495

What is the YoungStar connection?

YoungStar is Wisconsin’s Child Care Quality Rating and Improvement System. Supporting Families Together Association’s Professional Development Department supports Technical Consultants, trainers, early childhood and school-age programs, and partnering agencies with resources, tools and trainings on various content, on how to deliver high quality care to children within our state.

YoungStar increases training access for Wisconsin childcare providers because ongoing professional development and training is important to support providers in giving children the high quality care they deserve. YoungStar sponsors child care trainings throughout Wisconsin. Through experience and training, providers learn how to make changes that better support and encourage the children in their care.


Training opportunities are offered to all early childhood programs throughout Wisconsin. These professional development opportunities support quality improvement goals connected to the YoungStar Evaluation Criteria. There are many options that will support a child care provider’s learning and growth regarding the learning environment, a program’s business practices, and children’s well-being. The goal of these trainings is to provide relevant education and content to support adult learners and ensure quality in all early childhood programs. Trainings are offered in the following categories:

  • Learning Environment & Curriculum
  • Business & Professional Practices
  • Health & Well-Being

Professional Development

Exploring the professional development needs of child care providers is a unique experience provided while YoungStar Technical Consultants (TCs) are onsite with their programs. This shared decision-making process supports child care programs as they set goals to provide professional development opportunities for program administration and staff. The TC will provide mentorship as professional development goals are discussed and defined, and lastly to celebrate with the provider as goals are achieved. TCs are the first level of support to child care providers, offering a complete selection of professional development services

This support will fall on a continuum that ranges from simple questions to deeper research and resource gathering. The Professional Development Department is available to directly support the provider when needed. In conjunction with the TC, the Professional Development Department may work directly with the child care provider to define goals and steps to achieve the goal.

SFTA and our Child Care Resource & Referral agency partners provide low cost training due to significant support and funding from the WI Department of Children and Families. However, we know that sometimes your needs are unique. SFTA offers customizable professional development options in a variety of formats, across a range of content areas and in multiple languages. Contact Abbe Braun at 1 (888) 713.KIDS for more information about how these opportunities can be customized for your program.

Professional Development Resources & Supports

Listed below are specific supports, tools, and, resources that SFTA’s Professional Development Department provides, ranging from simple to complex depending upon the level of need.

Technical Consultants (TCs) & Trainers
  • Connect with The Registry to follow The Registry PDAS requirements for a given position.
  • Provide desired, meaningful trainings that can be utilized within the programs in which a TC/trainer serves.
  • Supply templates, guides, tip sheets, checklists, and other forms for professional development action planning.
  • Share information regarding T.E.A.C.H and REWARD and assist in referral of interested providers to Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA).
  • Provide professional development learning opportunities consisting of state and national trainings, workshops, webinars, meetings, and conferences.
  • Offer a diverse selection of early childhood and school-age professional development resources; books, videos, articles, and games.
Early Childhood & School-Age Programs
  • Provide professional development counseling.
  • Refer to Child Care Resource & Referral agencies for professional development trainings, meetings, conferences, and webinars.
Partnering Agencies
  • Collaborate in updating and creating desired trainings for all programs.
  • Serve on workgroups and Communities of Practice.

Professional Development Corner

(*Please stay tuned for more resources and information to be added here!)

  • Check out this month’s SFTA Professional Development E-Blast below, for statewide and national professional development opportunities and resources for Technical Consultants, trainers and other early childhood professionals. If you are using a Chrome browser with a Windows operating system, you may be currently unable to open PDFs like this one due to an issue with Chrome that Google is working to resolve. Until this issue is addressed, please use an alternative browser to access PDFs on our site.


How Professional Development Supports Me

“I love the variety of professional development opportunities provided through SFTA. I have started to use the TC and PD website and resources and look forward to the e-blasts. The Brain Exchange webinars are thoughtful, practical and substantive. It is a way to stay connected and feel part of a professional community of practice. Thank you again for your hard work and support!”

– Nancy Willman, YoungStar Technical Consultant
4C for Children

The webinar experiences have been extremely beneficial for me as a TC. I have enjoyed the resources from the recent Portfolio training that have allowed me to better articulate the process to programs I work with. I enjoyed the examples provided which are attainable goals for providers and allows for them to have options in compiling the creation. The critical component is that before you put anything into the Portfolio you must first find out about the child through observing them in the environment. I have increased my own level of confidence through the webinars the Professional Development Department has provided and continue to look forward to them. Thanks!

– Tammy S., YoungStar Technical Consultant
4C for Children

ANY TIME I contact Jenna, I receive a detailed personal response to every question I have. I am always left with confident and supported answers.

Additionally, Romilia has attended some ERS feedback sessions, and she ALWAYS has a goody bag and is so excited to present her goodies to the provider after the session. Each item in the goody bag has a purpose geared towards improving the program in areas where they could use a boost. Romilia is always smiling, loves to hug, and is a PLEASURE to work with.”

– Michelle L., YoungStar Technical Consultant
4C for Children


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“I like seeing how children grow, how they click. I am truly fascinated by it…through respecting and understanding children’s differences I can help teach them how to do that too.” – Kari Sanders, Owner Scribble Dibble Day Care, Colfax Beginnings […]

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