The IdahoSTARS Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is available to any legally operating child care facility in Idaho. Participation in the QRIS demonstrates that a facility is committed to improving quality for children and their families.
The facility receives a rating once the improvement cycle has been completed, but the focus is on continuous improvement over time. The QRIS provides a roadmap for improvement in eight Quality Standards and acknowledges quality practices already in place.
The QRIS also helps parents recognize, choose and expect quality in early care and education settings.
A Quality Improvement System for Idaho's child care facilities
The QRIS is voluntary. The overall quality is indicated by a rating, but the system focuses on gradual, sustained improvement over time. The QRIS was designed with input from child care providers, professionals and community members in pilot trials during 2007 and 2008. It rolled out statewide January 2010.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the QRIS Quality Standards?
- Environment: Measures environment through the Environment Rating Scales
- Education: Documents current qualifications of owner or director, and educational levels of staff
- Professional Development: Documents ongoing education and training of director, owner, and staff
- Inclusion: Documents how a facility supports children's full participation and ways staff intentionally plan for each child and family to be successful
- Strengthening Families: Documents implementation of Strengthening Families through Early Care and Education
- Child-to-staff Ratio: Documents ratio of children to staff in each group
- Group Size: Documents the number of children in each group
- Business Practices: Documents business practices
Q. Why has the QRIS been developed?
The QRIS has three goals:
Inform Parent Choice
- Provide information to help parents seek quality in child care
- Educate Parents so they know what quality care is and they know to request it
- Measure Quality
Improve the Quality of Child Care
- More programs are prepared to serve children with special needs
- Produce positive outcomes for children
Implement Strengthening Families through Early Care and Education
- Reduce incidents of child abuse and neglect by building family strengths
- To partner with families and their networks in the prevention of child abuse and neglect
- Inform Parent Choice
Q. How does the QRIS build upon existing infrastructure?
Idaho's QRIS is built upon a foundation of the existing professional development system, IdahoSTARS (State Training and Registry System). Components include:
- Idaho Child Care Program
- Professional Development Registry (Training, Trainer Approval and Regional Quality Child Care Consultants CCR&R)
- Child Care Health Consultant Program
Q. How to get a STAR-Rating: The QRIS Process
The process may take 18 months or longer. Follow the steps here.
Q. Why should I join the QRIS?
The QRIS supports efforts to provide quality child care for children. Research repeatedly shows that children who spend time in high quality settings have more success later in life. They are more likely to graduate high school, move on to college, earn more money over the course of their lives, have a more durable family life and be engaged in civic life. They are less likely to have behavior problems in school, encounter the juvenile justice system, become a teen parent and use drugs and alcohol.
Q. Why does the facility have to be licensed to participate?
The facility must be licensed because investing in a licensing indicates a minimal commitment to quality. It ensures a facility is operating in compliance with the law and that appropriate personnel and family members have passed criminal history background checks.
Q. How do I get a license if my city does not require one?
Dial 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine for assistance with a child care license. Or apply on-line at: idaho.gov
Q. Who can help me plan improvements?
The regional CCR&R offices are available to help plan improvements. Dial 2-1-1 and ask to speak with a consultant in your region.
Q. Who conducts the environment assessments?
Environment assessments are conducted by Environment Rating Scale assessors. The assessors are trained observers of quality environments. For more information on the Environment Rating Scales and assessors, view the Orientation to the Environment Rating Scales video >
Q. How do I let parents know that the facility is participating in QRIS?
Announce participation to parents so they can share the excitement of the process and applaud commitment to quality. The QRIS process can help parents learn about quality and how quality positively impacts their children. The Strengthening Families Quality Indicator focuses on parent involvement. Use this sample Parent Letter (pdf) to introduce parents to the QRIS.