A Path Forward for Children & Families

Healthier children, stronger communities, and an economy that benefits all Wisconsinites.

The State of Wisconsin has long been seen as a pioneer of child welfare programs. In 1929, the passage of the Wisconsin Children’s Code was seen as a fundamental shift in policy and as one of the most sweeping reforms in the United States. Since that time, the role of government in supporting children and families has seen a great deal of reform and transformation.


When Governor Jim Doyle announced the newly created Department of Children and Families (DCF) in January 2007, he stated that DCF would “streamline services for children and families to ensure that all Wisconsin children grow up safe, healthy, and with the support of strong families.”


Thanks to local, state, and federal policy and investments over the course of many years, Wisconsin’s children are now placed at number twelve in the nation for overall wellbeing. While we have seen improvements in some key indicators, there remains a great deal of work ahead to ensure that all children and families in our state are adequately supported and empowered in their future. Why not set the goal of ranking number one in the nation?


Ultimately, it is crucial that DCF utilizes the “Public Work” approach to solve problems, helping citizens to rebuild faith in themselves and in each other, and building capacity for children and families to transform their lives and their communities.

A 65-point plan for Wisconsin's children and families

Joe Luginbill wrote A Path Forward for Children & Families: 65 policy proposals for Wisconsin’s future due to his strong desire that Wisconsin make critical investments and reforms that prioritize child wellbeing and strengthening families.

Read Joe's booklet