SFTA Member Network:

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

Table of Contents

  • A Note from SFTA's Director
  • SFTA is Hiring
  • NEW WI FRC Cost Analysis
  • 2024 Advocacy Day Recap
  • National Family Support Network Convening in DC
  • Child Care at a Standstill Report
  • Early Language Research Opportunity
  • FRC Podcast
  • A Day Without Child Care
  • DHS Opioid Settlement Plan
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • CCR&R and FRC Highlights
  • Network Impact by the Numbers
  • Upcoming Events
  • SFTA Marketing Updates
  • Staff & Board Members

A Note from SFTA's Executive Director

Hello to all!


This Spring has filled my cup with inspiring collaborative activities, learning, and re-envisioning. I want to thank each person I’ve spoken to and spent time with during these past three months. Through our transparent and rich discussions, I have been able to quickly learn about the major strengths and opportunities for SFTA, our CCR&R and FRC Networks, and other special programs at SFTA. I look forward to meeting those of you with whom I haven’t yet had the chance and staying in touch which those of you I have.


In response to these conversations, SFTA has begun some new initiatives and revived a few from the past. For example, we are dusting off and shining up SFTA training evaluation procedures to ensure meaningful feedback is collected and applied for continuous quality improvement. We are also modernizing our data collection systems for the CCR&R Network, which will lessen the burden for our network agencies and maximize the completeness and accuracy of our data. 

I am particularly excited about the partnerships we are establishing with top researchers in the fields of early childhood education and family support. Recently, I spoke with the CEO of Child Care Aware of America and a Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We discussed current national priorities and characteristics of research projects that SFTA, with our CCR&R and FRC networks, could partner on to advance knowledge and practice. We shared excitement about the potential for SFTA and the Wisconsin CCR&R and FRC Networks to become national leaders, identifying and integrating best practices for programs and delivery strategies that maximize access to quality services.

I want to give one more big thank you to my dedicated SFTA team, our inspiring CCR&R and FRC Network Directors and staff, our deeply engaged SFTA board, and our committed partners who entrust us with their programs. I often remind my 5-year-old, “teamwork makes the dream work!”. The growth and strengthening taking place at SFTA right now is a beautiful example of exactly that. I’m so grateful for all of you and your collaboration. Onward!




SFTA is Hiring!

SFTA seeks a Senior Accountant to join our team! This remote role requires candidates to live in Wisconsin and travel to Madison for training and bi-monthly meetings. The Senior Accountant will support financial reporting and staff, become proficient in our services, and work collaboratively to streamline processes.

For more information and to apply, click here

NEW! Wisconsin FRC Cost Analysis

The Wisconsin Family Resource Center Cost Analysis provides a detailed overview of the structure of Family Resource Centers (FRCs) across the state of Wisconsin. It includes important information such as cost analysis, budget and staffing patterns, and other pertinent data to demonstrate why investing in FRC services is crucial for the well-being of Wisconsin’s children, families, and providers. You can read the full report here.

SFTA's 2023 Annual Report

Take a look at SFTA's 2023 Annual Report and the statewide impact our network has on children, families, and providers!

2024 Advocacy Day Recap!

SFTA and the United Way of Wisconsin hosted our annual Advocacy Day on April 16th at the Wisconsin Capitol. Collectively, we held over 45 legislative visits with Senators and Representative to discuss the importance of investing in family support and early childhood services. We would like to thank all of our members and United Way partners for making this event such a success and helping to advocate on behalf of Wisconsin children and families! 

Visit SFTA's Advocacy Page on our website to watch the 2024 Advocacy Day Video and to stay up to date on our continued advocacy efforts!

National Family Support Network Member Convening in Washington DC

SFTA's Family Support Specialist, Julie Walter, traveled to Washington DC from May 6-11 to attend the National Family Support Network's Member Convening. While there, Julie spent time meeting with Senator Baldwin's office and advocating on behalf of Family Resource Centers in Wisconsin! From a site visit at DC Families First Family Success Center to the Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill, this year’s convening was a huge success! National Partners who presented included National Parent Leaders, the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance. Featured topics included strategies for supporting family economic success, sustainability of FRCs and FRC Networks, and advancing implementation of the Standards.

Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) Symposium

May 19-22, CCAoA hosted their annual symposium in Washington DC with attendees from across the country. This year's theme "Raising Child Care, Raising America" confronts the question 'How do we capitalize on our wins and lessons learned and boldly tacker our fields hardest challenges." SFTA's Executive Director, Heidi Luft, along with staff and leaders from WI CCR&R agencies attended to advocate on behalf of child care providers and families throughout Wisconsin.

Child Care at a Standstill:

Child Care Aware® of America updated their annual supply and price of child care series, with new data from 2023. This year’s report, Child Care at a Standstill, found that, overall, child care supply remains flat, while child care prices continue to increase.

The report features the latest information gathered from Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and contains an interactive map to view state specific data. The report also features longitudinal data on the number of child care centers and family child care (FCC) homes open from 2019 to 2023. 

 The Price of Care 2023 features updated information about the price of child care in each state. Use the interactive map to view child care price and affordability data in each state and state-by-state child care affordability rankings.  


Highlights from the report: 

  • Child care has long been insufficient. This did not change in 2023. 
  • The number of family child care homes decreased in 2023, following the downward trend seen in recent years. 
  • The national average price for child care rose 3.7% from 2022 to 2023 to $11,582.  
  • This price exceeds many family household expenses like rent. 
  • It takes 10% of a married couple with children’s median household income or 32% of a single parent with children’s median household income to afford a year of child care at the average national price  

Remote Early Language Intervention Research Study

Language, Literacy, and Learning Lab

Waisman Center

Who might be eligible?

  • Wisconsin parents or legal guardians at least 18 years old AND
  • Children 2.5-4 years (with or without autism)
  • Must meet criteria for language delay or disorder at screening
  • Unsure or curious? Screen anyway!

What is Involved?

  • Remote participation from anywhere in WI
  • 3 or 4 data collection sessions
  • Coaching sessions focused on strategies to support language development
  • Children only need to be present for a short time across the study to record unstructured interactions with their caregiver

Is there compensation for Participating?

  • Yes! You can receive $5 for screening and up to an additional $225
  • Additional payment amounts depends on session completion

If interested, contact L3Lab@waisman.wisc.ed or 608-265-7484

Visit https://redcap.link/KOALA2Interest

Social Connectedness: Family Resource Centers Podcast

On this podcast, Dr. Josh Mersky from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee shares his findings on on the impacts of Family Resource Centers and other universal programs that promote protective factors and social connectedness. The Strong and Stable Families project demonstrates the effectiveness of FRCs in supporting families with building protective factors!

Listen Here

A Day Without Child Care

On Monday, May 13th, child care providers, parents, and families across the country hosted a Day Without Child Care. We know that when it comes to children, it truly takes a village. Without livable wages for child care workers, there’s a population being left out of the workforce. The goals of the Community Change Action coalition that lead this initiative are:

  • An equitable child care system built on racial and gender justice
  • Thriving wages for child care providers
  • Affordable and accessible child care for all families.

 Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Opioid Settlement

Earlier in May, Joint Finance approved a plan for the opioid settlement funds ($36 million) from DHS. To learn more about how these funds will be used:

  • Wisconsin Examiner Summary
  • DHS's webpage with an overview of the approved plan. This page will also provide information when DHS releases competitive grant funding. 

Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness month and is an important time in spotlighting mental health and combating stigmas associated with seeking support. It an ever-changing word, it can be overwhelming to deal with everything going on around us. As a society, we are getting more comfortable discussing mental health but it can still be hard to know where to start when it comes to taking care of our own well-being.

Mental Health America has a toolkit with free resources, check it out here!


Consistency Is Key!

Bay View Community Center hosted Mind in the Making sessions at Alexander Mitchell School which was a huge success! Twenty-four participants completed this exciting workshop, which helps families and professionals who work with children to develop life skills that promote executive functions. SFTA provides direct funding to 11 member agencies to offer Mind in The Making sessions and ASQ screenings throughout the state. The learn more visit the Consistency is Key page on SFTA’s website 

Parenting on The Go Bags!

SFTA is a proud sponsor of the Celebrate Children's Foundation Parenting on the Go Bags! Throughout the month of April, over 3,800 Parenting on the Go bags were distributed to families in local communities by 25 agencies and 2 tribal nations.  

Family Strengthening Month

Throughout the month of April, Family Resource Centers and Child Care Resource & Referral agencies hosted activities and events in their local communities to help strengthen all Wisconsin families.

As part of the Family Strengthening messaging, this year the Prevention Board has some additional family strengthening messaging on summertime and a My Summer Badge activity booklet for families. 

There will be two virtual meetings to go over the materials:

June 6th from 1-2pm

June 13 from 9-10am

Check out the Five for Families toolkit to learn how you can continue to build family strengths throughout the year

SFTA Statewide Network Impact

CCR&R Data

FRC Data

Upcoming Events

FRC Calendar of Events

Take a look at the schedule of upcoming FRC events, including conferences, meetings, and other gatherings here.

Upcoming FRC Professional Development Trainings

  • ASQ3 (June 5th)
  • ASQ SE2 (June 26th)
  • FAN- Attunement & Engagement (July 10-11 & January 16)
  • Creating Cultural Connections for Change (July 15th)
  • Play Group Training (July 30th & August 1st)
  • Five for Families Parent Curriculum Orientation (August 6-7)

Click here to register learn more about each offering and information for how to register.

Brazelton Touchpoints LGBTQ2IA+ Families Then and Now Webinar Series (May-July)

Through conversations with a diverse range of panelists who identify as LGBTQIA2+ at different stages of family life, this 3rd in a 5-part webinar series from the Brazelton Touchpoints Center will explore the changing landscape of LGBTQIA2+ parenting. All webinars will have live Spanish language translation and closed captioning available. Register here.

June 1st- Global Day of Parents

The Global Day of Parents is observed on June 1st every year. The day honors parents throughout the world and provides opportunity to appreciate every parent for their selfless commitment to caring for their children.

June 13th - Attracting Support from Community Foundations

Many nonprofits focus their grant seeking on large national foundations, even though community foundations are often more accessible, have strong local ties, and give away billions to charities each year. The Chronicle of Philanthropy will host a webinar with two community foundation leaders who will explain how to determine if your nonprofit is a fit for a potential grant maker, ways to approach and engage program officers, and how to write proposals that rise above the competition. Continuing Education credits will be available. Register by 6/6 to get the $20 early bird discount here.

SFTA Marketing Updates

SFTA's Top 5 Facebook Posts for Quarter 2

1. Staff from CCR&Rs and SFTA attend Child Care Foundational Training TTT 

2. SFTA with WFCCA Provider of the Year!

3. 2024 SFTA and United Way Advocacy Day! 

4. SFTA at WCCAA Conference

5. Family Center of Washington County Gratitude Gala

SFTA Staff & Board Members


Amanda Austin, Professional Development Specialist

Penny Chase, Early Childhood Initiatives Manager

Annie Confer, Partner Up! Specialist

Connie Dunlap, Family Support Manager

Heidi Luft, Executive Director

Jeffrey Mund, Data Specialist

Julie Walter, Family Support Specialist

Diana Zorn, Family Support Specialist


Marita Herkert-Oakland, President

Lana Wood, Treasurer

Kathy Mullally, FRC Representative

Renee Ernsting, CCR&R Representative

Deb Suchla

Jo Ann Grode

Mary Beth Plane, MSSW, PhD

April Hartjes

Kate MacCrimmon

Supporting Families Together Association




Early Childhood and Family Support Services - A wise investment!

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Supporting Families Together Association | 700 Rayovac Drive, Suite 6 | Madison, WI 53711 US