2017 Quality Initiatives and QRIS Peer Learning Group

The National Center for Early Childhood Quality Assurance, in partnership with the BUILD Initiative, worked with teams in the process of reexamining the structure and operation of their quality initiatives system, including Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS).

All States have quality initiatives, and most States use a QRIS as their primary strategy to coordinate and align all their quality activities.  The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) encourages States to design systems of quality activities that lead to cross sector improvement of program quality and to create communication systems that inform families of the value and availability of quality programs  Even though QRIS is a time tested and understandable strategy for managing systemic quality improvement, there is new and emerging research, including the ELC-RTT validation studies, that has much to offer states as they work to move their system of  quality initiatives, including QRIS, to the next level.  States were also supported in their design work by the Early Childhood Policy Statements and Initiatives released by the Office of Early Childhood at the Administration for Children and Families.  States focused on moving beyond a framework of coordinated quality initiatives, including QRIS, as a management strategy, toward a conceptual framework of quality initiatives and QRIS as a lever to create an integrated, cross sector system of early care and education that help programs embark on a journey of continuous quality improvement.  

Learning Outcomes:

States who participated have the research-based knowledge and skills to do the following upon completion of this Peer Learning Group.

  • To re-examine the State’s approach to quality improvement of early care and education programs and identify opportunities to make positive changes.
  • To create a system of quality initiatives, including QRIS, that is based on a cross sector collaboration and works effectively to support broad based participation.
  • To develop creative and achievable pathways to quality for programs that can be clearly communicated. 
  • To create a quality improvement system that engages providers in a statewide early care and education continuous quality improvement process that provides individualized/targeted technical assistant support, professional development, resources and key data to inform practices.
  • To examine participation rates in quality initiatives, identify strategies for increasing those rates and projecting the impact of those increases.
  • To create a community of stakeholders who are engaged in the process of revision and who can advocate for the new and/or re-branded system of quality initiatives including QRIS. 
  • To understand how to create effective communicate strategies that engage families in using the system of quality initiatives including QRIS and provide them with the knowledge to access high quality early learning services that prepare children for school and life success.
  • To examine and discuss sustainable financing strategies and participant incentives and supports
  • To create a process for assessing the impact of quality investments.