Report | December 13, 2022

Early Childhood Programs’ Scarcity Undermines Wisconsin's Rural Communities

Quality early care and education can enhance public safety, bolster the economy, and strengthen national security

Overall, 15 percent of rural children in Wisconsin live in poverty, similar to the rates for urban children. At the same time, children in rural communities often lack resources and supports, including quality early childhood care and education, which research shows can strengthen the current and future workforce, contribute to a strong economy and public safety, and enhance national security in the long run. Policymakers must support investments to increase access and quality of early care and education for children in Wisconsin’s rural communities, to help ensure the future strength of the state.

I’ve seen the positive difference access to early childhood programs can make for families with young children in my county. A lot of families struggle to get by in our area and unfortunately, a lack of support for kids and families can lead to harmful behaviors and crime.

Sheriff Brent Oleson, Juneau County Sheriff’s Office


  1. Wisconsin