THE CNMI QUALITY AND RATING IMPROVEMENT SYSTEM (QRIS)
The QRIS is a star rating system to help parents and families make informed choices about the childcare programs available to them. Think of the ratings given to restaurants on our islands. Sometimes the local news will publish the results of these ratings. Without them, you wouldn’t know whether or not the establishment passed the sanitation standards set by our government. Well, the QRIS works the same way. Child care programs must meet a set of standards that will let the public know the facility is:
1) Meeting basic Health and Safety requirements to keep our children safe and thriving.
2) Qualified to provide services through their Staffing and the Professional Development they participate in.
3) Providing developmentally appropriate practices in child care through their knowledge and application of Child Growth and Development.
4) Supporting families of Children with Disabilities.
5) Making the effort to involve the community and parents through their Family Engagement and Strengthening programs.
6) Being run efficiently and making continuous quality improvements under an effective Leadership and Management.
WHAT DO THE STAR LEVELS MEAN?
The CNMI QRIS has 5 star levels. Just like a restaurant rating or grade tells you information about the sanitary practices of that restaurant (for example, you might expect to get sick at a Grade “C” restaurant, compared to one with a Grade “A”), the QRIS star level lets parents and families know the quality level of the child care facility. A star level rating lets the public know to what extent the facility is meeting quality standards in the six areas we described above. The higher the star level, the higher the quality of the child care program:
1) Star Level 1 – The facility is still Learning About Quality. The program is meeting the most basic health and safety standards as set by the Child Care Licensing Program (CCLP) and the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Star Level 1 is not yet considered high quality.
2) Star Level 2 – The facility is Moving Into Quality. That means the staff and management are starting to take steps to prepare their program to become a higher quality program.
3) Star Level 3 – The facility is Committing to Higher Quality. Quality takes a lot of hard work and effort! Programs at Star Level 3 are seriously committing to improving their programs at a higher quality.
4) StarLevel4–The facility is Growing Into Higher Quality. Star Level 4 programs are already doing things above and beyond basic child care. There is still room to grow, but you can tell the program cares more about helping your child learn in developmentally appropriate ways than just providing babysitting services.
5) Star Level 5 – The facility is Thriving in Higher Quality. Programs at Star Level 5 are doing the daily challenging work of providing high quality care for your children. Because they acknowledge that there is no such thing as a perfect program, the staff and management continuously look for ways to improve the services and care they offer.
WHAT DOES A PROGRAM LOOK LIKE AT EACH STAR LEVEL?
The star levels are a block system. That means a program must meet all the standards at their current star level plus all the standards before that level. So if a program is at Star Level 2, it has met all the standards at Star Levels 1 and 2. A program at Star Level 3 has met all the requirements of Star Levels 1, 2, and 3. Imagine how much work a Star Level 5 program must be doing in order to meet all the standards at Star Levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5! That’s commitment to your children!
To find out what kind of quality to expect from a facility at each star level, click the link to the QRIS Standards. Each column represents the required standards for a star level. Remember: “Block system” – at each star level, the program has to meet all the standard requirements in that column and all other columns before it.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT THE CNMI IS IN A PILOT QRIS?
A “Pilot QRIS” means that the CNMI CCDF, its partner agencies, and its child care programs are currently “trying out” and “practicing” the procedures and systems needed to make a QRIS work for our community.
The Pilot QRIS began in July 2016. Keep in mind that while the QRIS is in this phase, CCDF, its coaching team, and your center’s director and teachers are working hard to get their programs up to quality. Do your part to support your children’s child care providers. Don’t hesitate to ask them how, and please be patient. They are putting in tons of resources and effort to make sure our children get the quality care they deserve.
HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE?
To learn more about the CNMI Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), the CNMI Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, and the CNMI Child Care Licensing Program (CCLP) please contact the following:
Gordon Salas, CCLP Supervisor at 664-2572
Maribel S.D. Loste, CCDF Administrator at 664-2575