Policy Resource

Indiana's Paths to Quality Recognizes the Unique Developmental Needs of Infants and Toddlers

Jan 9, 2016

Learn more about Indianas QRIS, Paths to QUALITY, a voluntary statewide rating system for early care and education programs.

Indiana’s QRIS, Paths to QUALITY, is a voluntary statewide rating system for early care and education programs. It began as a local initiative in the 1990s and was implemented statewide in 2008 after an evaluation showed that participating providers made significant quality improvements over a 3-year period. Participating providers include licensed child care centers, licensed child care homes, and unlicensed registered child care ministries. The levels of Paths to QUALITY move providers from basic health and safety with licensure or voluntary registration at Level 1 to national accreditation at Level 4. Levels 2 and 3 are aligned with the states early learning guidelines and focus on environmental supports to children’s learning and a planned curriculum that guides children’s development and school readiness. Providers must meet all of the requirements for the previous levels (including those specific to infants and toddlers, if applicable) in order to advance or maintain a level rating.

Adding to the systems success is the way in which it differentiates the needs of infants and toddlers from older children by identifying particular requirements that must be met when caring for the youngest children. Specific infant-toddler standards are included at all levels of Paths to QUALITY, in recognition that infants and toddlers have different developmental needs than older children. Infant“toddler indicators cover continuity of care, provider“child interactions, materials, daily schedules, and language and literacy development. In addition, Indiana’s statewide network of Infant Toddler Specialists provides training and individualized technical assistance as needed, including to programs participating in Paths to QUALITY that care for infants and toddlers. Currently, more than half of licensed child care programs in Indiana that serve infants and toddlers participate in Paths to QUALITY.

This description of Indianas work is highlighted in ZERO TO THREE’s publication A Place to Get Started: Innovation in Infant and Toddler State Policies. Read the full brief at http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy.

Outline of 4 Levels: http://www.in.gov/fssa/pathstoquality/3731.htm

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