Policy Resource

California's Locally Driven QRIS

Feb 9, 2016

Due, in part, to regional diversity and the importance of local control over improvement processes, California implemented a unique Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) approach that built upon the state’s local and statewide successes to create sustainable capacity at the local level to meet the needs of early learners.

Quality Counts California supports a locally driven quality improvement process that encourages regional assessment, goal setting, and monitoring of progress that leads to tangible change.

Quality Counts California was framed through the state’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant Award (RTT-ELC) with the lion’s share funding being spent at the local level to support a voluntary network of 17 Regional Leadership Consortia (Consortia). Each consortia was led by an established organization that was already operating or developing a QRIS. An additional 14 mentee counties were added with supplemental RTT-ELC funding in 2013. As part of this structure, the Consortia brought together organizations in their region with the same goal of improving the quality of early learning and has since expanded to 42 QRIS consortia operating across all 58 counties, with several multi-county consortia in 2020.

This local approach to QRIS was formalized in 2014 with the passage of SB 828 through the creation of QRIS Block Grants within the California State Preschool Program (CSPP). Thirty-two counties or regions originally received funding through the block grants to implement a locally determined system for continuous quality improvement. Additionally, Infant/Toddler QRIS grants were added in 2015 to provide training, technical assistance, and resources to help infant and toddler child care providers meet a higher tier of quality as determined by their local QRIS rating matrix. Awards were distributed to 38 consortia members in 2017-2018.

Updated June 2020

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