Designing Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Inclusive of Infants and Toddlers
This paper offers suggestions for the inclusion of quality indicators for infants and toddlers within Quality Rating and Improvement Systems being implemented in states, tribes, and territories.
Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) are being implemented in States to establish a means to both define and promote quality in child care settings. These rating systems include five common elements: 1) standards, 2) accountability measures, 3) program and practitioner outreach and support, 4) financial incentives, and 5) parent/consumer education. A comprehensive focus on QRIS can be found in Issue 32 of the Child Care Bulletin including a description of these key elements.
Many of the elements included in 18 state QRIS are program-wide in scope, and apply to the care of all children. Given the developmental needs of babies and toddlers, however, specific aspects of care can be defined that speak to quality for the very youngest children in child care. Program policies and standards are the backbone of QRIS. They are the metrics by which child care settings are measured and rated. Although at this time the inclusion of such policies is limited across QRIS, some States have included substantive standards related to infants and toddlers. For example, Indiana includes specific infant/toddler standards at each level of their QRIS. This document offers suggestions for the intentional inclusion of quality indicators for infants and toddlers in State QRIS.
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This paper offers a framework and approaches to strengthen professional development opportunities for the infant/toddler workforce.