Home/Resources/Iowa Quality Rating System

Iowa Quality Rating System

Adult playing with babies and toddlers

Iowa Quality for Kids (IQ4K) is a voluntary rating system for registered child development homes, licensed child care centers and preschools, and child care programs that are operated by school districts. It provides a rating of between one and five stars for providers endeavoring to offer exceptional child care.

Created in 2006, the quality rating system (QRS) was developed to:

  • raise the quality of child care in Iowa
  • increase the number of children in high-quality child care settings
  • educate parents about quality in child care

Since its implementation, the QRS has continued to evolve to better align with nationally recognized quality standards. In SFY18, a QRS Oversight Team completed a review of Iowa’s QRS and rebranded as IQ4K. The oversight team developed and released finalized drafts of newly designed categories for homes and centers. Those can be found here.

By participating in IQ4K, providers demonstrate to parents and the community that they are committed to providing quality child care and to working towards improving the quality of the care provided. Achievement bonuses are available for participating programs.

A provider who achieves level 1 has met Iowa’s registration or licensing standards. A provider who achieves Level 2 has received additional training and made the first steps toward improving quality. Providers in levels 3-5 have made significant steps in meeting key indicators of quality in the areas of:

  • Professional development
  • Health and safety
  • Environment
  • Family and community partnership
  • Leadership and administration

Revised April 2020


Related Resources


We need your support now more than ever to ensure all babies have access to the quality care, services and support they need to thrive.