Policy Resource

Parent Aware, Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System

Feb 9, 2016

Parent Aware was originally available statewide to programs eligible for Accelerated Pathway to Rating (Accredited child care centers, accredited family child care providers, Head Start, Early Head Start, Early Childhood Special Education and School-Based Pre-K programs).

Parent Aware began a gradual statewide expansion in 2012 to - licensed, non-accredited child care centers and family child care providers. On December 31, 2013, Parent Aware was available to licensed, non-accredited programs in 22 counties and 7 Reservations. On January 1, 2014, Parent Aware rolled out to an additional 23 Minnesota counties and 1 additional Reservation. As of January 1, 2015, Parent Aware was available statewide to all types of programs.

Parent Aware is a hybrid block/point system in which programs are rated in four categories: Physical Health and Well-Being, Teaching and Relationships, Assessment of Child Progress and Teacher Training and Education.

Minnesota’s Quality Improvement and Registry Tool, Develop replaced the Professional Development Registry in 2014. The online tool contains multiple features to support both professional development and quality improvement. First, early learning programs can apply for a Parent Aware Rating through Develop rather than submitting via mail. All programs are eligible to submit documentation for each indicator online. Second, Develop is the data system used by Parent Aware Rating staff to manage the rating process and document rating decisions. Develop provides raters with a system and queue for managing workflow and tracking the progress of individual programs within that workflow. Finally Develop is the data system used by multiple technical assistance and coaching entities for Parent Aware case management.

Recruitment of programs has been an ongoing challenge for Parent Aware. To combat this issue, recruiters were hired between April and July 2014. As many of the recruiters had backgrounds in marketing, communications, and sales “ and not necessarily early childhood “ the orientation and training period for the recruiters focused on early childhood education and development along with Parent Aware Ratings and QRIS. Recruiters have been the primary force behind building partnerships, identifying gaps in recruitment and messaging strategies, and leveraging existing activities within and across agencies.

Finally, in an effort to ensure that the states most vulnerable families would use high quality care, the Weekly Authorization for High Quality Providers policy began in August, 2014. Under this policy some children attending high quality providers can be authorized for more hours and their providers can be paid up to the applicable weekly maximum rate, not to exceed the providers charge. Children ages zero to five who qualify for at least 30 hours of care per week can be authorized for 50 hours of care with a high quality provider. High quality providers are defined as providers with a Three- or Four-Star Rating, providers accredited by certain organizations, and family child care providers with certain credentials. Nearly 1,900 early care and education programs in Minnesota (19%) have a Parent Aware Rating as of December 31st, 2014.

For additional information visit the Parent Aware website www.parentawareratings.org.

A 3 year evaluation report can be found here.

Updated February 2016.

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