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American Samoa’s QRIS is intended to be a 5-star system, with the 2-Star level indicating that programs are meeting licensing requirements. The QRIS is in the later stages of refinement, and as of June 2015 they were deciding whether to include an observational assessment of quality in the rating and, if so, which measure to use. The categories of rating indicators will be: 1) parent engagement, 2) administration, 3) professional development, and 4) health/safety. A pilot of these standards took place in October 2015. Quality improvement supports for programs will include coaching and training opportunities for providers.
The Alabama Quality STARS Program (QRIS) began full implementation in February 2016. Eligible programs now include licensed centers, family homes daycare centers, group home daycare centers as well as center programs that cannot be licensed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources, such as military, public school, college, university, and Tribal programs. The Department of Early Childhood Education is now the new vendor for the STARS program. Alabama Quality STARS has a new system in place for determining STAR level. The previous “building block” system has been changed. Alabama Quality STARS is now using a five-STAR “point” system. Programs must accumulate a certain number of points to achieve a STAR rating of 2 STAR or higher. All licensed centers are automatically a STAR 1 unless the provider decides to opt-out. The STARS Standards are based on two scoring guides: Best Practice Rubric Criteria Scoring Guide and CLASS Criteria and Scoring Guide. Full implementation of family and group childcare homes was completed in 2021. Alabama Quality STARS has been fully implemented overall.
Information about the Hillsborough QRIS is not currently available.
Information about the Sarasota Look for the Stars QRIS is not currently available.
In 2014, Guam began a pilot of its QRIS by rating 11 of its 42 licensed center-based programs. Pilot programs received improvement and rating supports from a facilitator who was assigned to work with them. There are four levels to Guam’s QRIS and its indicators of quality related to scores on the ECERS and ITERS, education and training, and health and safety. Guam’s professional development indicators build on their Early Childhood Care & Education’s plan for professional development which guides providers in planning to receive additional education and training to improve the quality of early care and education they provide. The 2014 pilot was not completed; however in 2018 Guam's contractor, Guam Community College (GCC) facilitated a new pilot with the same providers that initially volunteered in 2014. Ten centers were rated: seven were rated 3-star and three centers were rated 2-star. GCC is now coordinating a second round of evaluations with a new cohort of providers.
Hawai`i completed a pilot in 2014 to test the feasibility of scaling their quality improvement initiatives up to the statewide level. Following the reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant in November 2014, they have chosen to focus on ensuring that they are meeting the health and safety, training, and monitoring requirements in the new law rather than formal QRIS development. Hawai`i continues to implement their on-going quality improvement initiatives, including the Learning to Grow program which provides resources in the area of child development to license-exempt providers and registered family child care providers; support to licensed and registered providers in meeting USDA food program requirements; free and low cost training for early care providers; scholarships for practitioners to complete a Child Development Associate credential or towards early childhood college credits; and training through the Healthy Child Care Hawai`i for pediatricians so that they can act as early childhood health consultants for licensed providers.
Quality Stars, Mississippi's QRIS, is no longer in effect. No other information about quality improvement efforts in the state is available at this time.
Missouri is currently piloting a an early learning Quality Assurance Report (QAR). The goal is to provide a continuous quality improvement process for early learning programs and to provide families with consumer education about the quality of early learning programs. Participation in the QAR is voluntary and spans all provider types.
Pasitos (little steps toward quality improvement of child care services) is Puerto Rico’s island-wide Quality Rating and Improvement System that began in 2010. It has five levels that are arranged within a points rating structure. Eligible licensed programs are rated based on the following ten areas: 1) Positive relationships, 2) Daily activity planning to stimulate children’s development (curriculum), 3) Teaching Strategies, 4) Assessment of children’s progress, 5) Health and safety, 6) Teachers professional background, 7) Family involvement, 8) Community relationships, 9) Learning environment, and 10) Leadership and Management (policies and procedures). Pasitos evaluates the services offered by early childhood centers from the private and public sectors. It is a voluntary self-assessment process.
South Dakota is working to develop a system of recognition for early care and education providers that aligns with the licensing requirements in the Child Care Development Block Grant reauthorization of November 2014. They currently operate five Early Childhood Enrichment Sites throughout the state that act as a hub for training and technical assistance to ECE providers. They are also working towards providing credit to programs that go above and beyond licensing standards, although the form that this additional credit will take is currently unknown.
The Virgin Islands’ QRIS, Step up to Quality, is a five-level system that has been in a pilot phase since 2013. As of October 2015, there were 23 programs participating in the pilot. Four standards comprise the Step up to Quality system, including: 1) professional development and staff qualifications; 2) teaching and learning environments; 3) facilities, operations, policies, and leadership; and 4) family and community engagement. Programs start at the first level, which is equivalent to licensing, and progress through each additional level. In-person technical assistance, quality improvement grants, and training and scholarships for professional development are provided to programs to help them progress through the levels. Full implementation of Step up to Quality was planned to take place in late 2015 through 2016.
West Virginia has been working to develop a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early care and education programs for several years. In 2008, a tiered reimbursement system was put into place with three quality tier levels for licensed child care programs. In 2009, legislation was passed mandating implementation of a QRIS but without the funding to support it. The tiered reimbursement system encompasses some components of a QRIS, like the use of quality standards and paper documentation to verify compliance with standards, but it does not include the full range of incentives and supports for programs and practitioners that a complete QRIS would entail. The system is also lacking consumer education and awareness, such as a name for the QRIS and detailed information available to parents. New legislation has been proposed that would allow for easier updating of quality standards as best practices change, would be less restrictive and broader in scope, and would include all early childhood education sectors and settings. In consultation with the QRIS Advisory Council, the standards for the proposed QRIS have already been revised. The Council is aiming to develop a four-tier reimbursement system that includes technical assistance, on-site monitoring, multiple pathways to quality, and inclusion of all early childhood and school-age care programs, among other features.
Wyoming currently has no QRIS, but is working jointly with the Wyoming Early Childhood State Advisory Council on identifying technical assistance options to explore a system of ECE quality improvement. They are working to develop quality standards that will align with their Early Learning Guidelines and Early Learning Foundations. A career ladder for providers is also currently under development.
Links to Quality (L2Q) is the developing QRIS system in Kansas. The system is being designed to recognize and develop quality in early childcare providers. The foundational links of L2Q will be 1. Program Administration, 2. Family Partnerships, 3. Learning and Development, and 4. Health and Safety. As L2Q progresses, additional links with be created to encourage the continuous quality improvement process. Each area of recognition contains benchmarks and standards participating providers must meet to achieve the corresponding Quality Recognition Link. These benchmarks will be documented through submitted portfolios in each area. A pilot of the L2Q program ran from April of 2018 through April of 2020. It included approximately 40 providers across 17 counties organized into five learning communities. Upon completion of the pilot, due to COVID-19, L2Q shifted its focus to a response phase. Plans are currently in development for a full statewide implementation of the L2Q program in Spring of 2023.
The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood is creating a quality improvement system that bridges licensing standards to accreditation standards, for center and home based providers. In our system, we do not rate programs or classrooms, as many states do. Connecticut programs are licensed, accredited, or moving toward accreditation. The new system focuses on simplicity, accessibility and leveraging existing health, safety, and quality assurance. This offers a supportive structure for programs, increases transparency and clarity for families, and reduces state overhead expenses. Connecticut has historically been among the top three states in the percentage of NAEYC Accredited early care and education programs. This impressive ranking is due to state investments, visionary leadership, and ongoing accreditation support from within the agency for the field.