Policy Resource

Iowa Quality Rating System

Jan 22, 2018

Iowa's Quality Rating System (QRS), is a voluntary rating system for child development homes, licensed child care centers and preschools, and child care programs that are operated by school districts.

Ratings reflect information provided by the program at their time of rating. If a program’s child care license or registration is revoked during the rating period, their QRS rating is also revoked. The QRS status of a program does not reflect other infractions that may occur during the certification period. A list of up to date QRS providers in Iowa can be found here.

By participating in the QRS, 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 even more. In addition, there are achievement bonuses available for participating programs.

The 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

There are five levels in the QRS. For a program to be rated at:

  • Level 1: all the Level 1 criteria must be met.
  • Level 2: all the Level 1 and Level 2 criteria must be met.
  • Levels 3-5: all the Level 1 and Level 2 criteria must be met, and then the program must earn a minimum of one point in each of the Level 3-5 categories. For levels 3-5, the level is determined by the total number of points earned.

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

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