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Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) and Family-Sensitive Caregiving in Early Care and Education Arrangements: Promising Directions and Challenges

Published: October 15, 2011
Child Care
Child Care and Early Education Policy and Research Analysis Project, 2005-2018 | Learn more about this project
Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium (INQUIRE) Briefs

More than half of states now have Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) in some stage of development—operational, recently launched, or piloted. These systems have two primary goals. One goal is to improve child outcomes across a range of early care and education settings (center-based including Head Start and pre-kindergarten as well as family child care, including licensed family child care and legally-exempt family, friend, and neighbor care) by encouraging providers to meet higher standards related to higher quality. Another primary goal is to help parents choose arrangements that meet their needs based on the quality ratings that programs have achieved. QRIS offer a variety of financial incentives such as tiered reimbursement or awards for providers to achieve higher standards.

Most QRIS include standards related to the environment, curriculum, professional development and staff qualifications, and program administration. Many also include standards for family partnerships, sometimes identified as “family involvement” or “families and community.” Of the 26 states with QRIS reviewed in a recent Compendium, 24 include family partnership standards for centers, and 21 include these standards for family child care homes.

Last Reviewed: April 29, 2019