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About Us

WACYCP is a grass roots organization founded in 1962 by residential childcare workers, who were students at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UW-M).

In 1968, the group became formally incorporated as the Wisconsin Association of Child Care Workers, while helping to form the National Association for Child and Youth Care Practice, from which it derived its present name.



In 1979, WACYCP finalized a partnership with the UW-M Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, forming the Child and Youth Care Learning Center.

Today, the Learning Center plans staff development and education programs, while also providing consultation and technical assistance to WACYCP. The educational programs are held in conjunction with WACYCP’s professional certification process. The first applications for certification were accepted in July, 1981. Since that time, the Certification Board of Review, consisting of practicing child and youth care professionals, has met quarterly to review and approve applications from across Wisconsin. Members are encouraged but not required, to become certified.

“All it really takes to be a successful youth and child care provider is a big heart.”

Those of us who have dedicated our careers to the service of youth and children understand just how misleading this popular myth has become. We know in fact that effective outcomes require education, knowledge, skill, experience, techniques, resources, and yes, compassion. We’ve learned that our profession requires the same competencies demanded in both business and government positions. We can testify to the numerous and varied challenges which we all face and master on a daily basis.

This is no accident.

Although our individual stories cover a broad spectrum of services and programs, we carry similar personal histories of struggle, achievement, sacrifice, adaptation, innovation, and resiliency. We often ask for little, yet give much. From child day care to after school teen recreation, whether residential or community based, we use every imaginable resource to meet the direct and indirect needs of each new generation. Yet, all too often, we’ve had to find our way to this competency with little formal support or encouragement.

Today you have the Wisconsin Association of Child and Youth Care Professionals (WACYCP). Whether you’re exploring career options, newly employed, or celebrating another milestone, we help light the way. We provide the resources and support, where, how, and when you need it. By giving you access to training specialized just for you, we help you develop key competencies, which improve program outcomes. Better outcomes reduce errors and stress, while nurturing the spirit, which brought you to this work in the first place. We battle isolation and burnout by connecting you with a statewide network of supportive peers. We advocate for you as a professional in both public and private venues. We celebrate your victories and rally to your challenges.

Join us today!


WACYCP members represent the full spectrum of public and private Child and Youth Care Professionals in Wisconsin.

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Join the effort to say thanks and make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth in your community!

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Get to Know Us

We all know the heart and soul of the WAYCYP is its member base; but so, too, is our beloved board. You can meet them here!

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