Quality Rating & Improvement Systems Powerful Policy for Improving and Unifying Early Care and Education Karen Rainville CT Association for the Education of Young Children CT Head Start Association DSS Director’s Forum From Judy Goldfarb Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative From Louise Stoney & Anne Mitchell Alliance for Early Childhood Finance Forum to Explore A QRIS for Connecticut March 20, 2008
Our Goals • Overview of what a Quality Rating & Improvement System may look like • Where CT is in the development of a QRIS • Gather feedback from you as providers
So what is it?? • QRIS is a system to easily identify quality levels of programs using an identifying symbol (usually stars), as well as offering incentives and supports to help programs improve quality and move through the various levels.
So What Is Its Purpose?? • Helps to benchmark quality for consumers • Provides incentives and resources to programs • Creates stronger infrastructure to support and sustain the quality of programs regardless of setting or funding stream
A Guide for States and Communities Developing QRS • Designed as a hands-on, practical resource • Organized as a planning tool to use as States consider how to develop a new QRS or improve an existing one • Outlines the common elements and State and community examples Available at www.ecpolicycouncil.org
Financing QRIS Designed to provide guidance on QRIS funding, including: • Planning • Administration • Technical Assistance • Financial Supports and Incentives for programs and practitioners • Engagement & Outreach
QRIS Starts from the perspective of ECE being Market-Driven • Providers offer services for a price • Consumers choose and pay • Tuition is the largest source of revenue
ECE is a Unique Market because itserves both public & private needs • Enables parents to work (private) • Prepares children for school & life (public) • Enhances productivity of educational system (public) • Strengthens future workforce (public)
Good Outcomes = Higher Standards Higher Standards = Higher Costs Higher Costs = Higher Prices When consumers pay most of the bill, the result is CONFLICT!
So Where Does QRIS Fit In?? QRIS isn’t just about ratings, it is a market intervention. It includes: • Quality Assurance – standards, assessment & monitoring • Supply Side Interventions – program and practitioner supports (TA and PD) and financial incentives • Demand Side Interventions – ratings, consumer education and financial incentives
The Five Common Elements of a QRIS • Standards • Accountability (assessment & monitoring) • Program and practitioner outreach and support • Financial incentives specifically linked to compliance with quality standards • Family/consumer education Source: Mitchell (2005.
Within the Standards Category ▪ Staff Qualifications & Professional Development ▪ Environment ▪ Curriculum and Learning Included in most QRIS and backed by research
Often Included in the Standards Category ▪ Family Engagement ▪ Leadership and Management Included in some QRIS Research not available or not strong
National Accreditation and QRISWhere does it fit? In all but 1 state QRIS, accreditation is: ▪ the highest rating (top level), or ▪ accreditation + extra criteria is top level, or ▪ accreditation is one way to reach the top level, or ▪ in points system, accreditation = points.
Supply Side: Program and Practitioner Support • Technical assistance • Quality Improvement Plans • Mentoring and Coaching • Accreditation Facilitation • Professional development • Training, workshops • College courses leading to degrees, distance learning • Financial incentives
Supply Side: Financial Incentives • Grants, bonuses and awards • Scholarships • Wage supplements • Tax credits for ECE programs, practitioners and investors All linked to QRIS levels Source: Mitchell (2005)
Demand Side: Financial Incentives • Tiered reimbursement rates (or other 3rd party tuition subsidy) • Tax credits – higher, refundable state income tax credits for parents (DCTC) • Be creative!
Consumer Engagement: a Demand Side Strategy • Symbols - establish a QRIS indicator (usually star) as a consumer guide • Education and Outreach – ensure that consumers, funders, practitioners, the general public understand QRIS symbols and rating system • Multi-faceted – communication in many forms; many messengers If we don’t fundamentally change consumer behavior we won’t change the system!
Broad Participation is Key to Effective Demand • All states include child care centers and family child care homes • Most include school-age programs and Head Start • Some QRIS include Pre-K • None include unregulated family, friend, and neighbor care High participation (among the many types of programs parents use) is key to success!
Bottom Line, What Have We Learned From Other States??Does QRIS Work? • Yes! • Quality is improving • Better child outcomes in higher quality centers (NC) • Evaluations in NC, OK, PA and TN
Trends & Implications QRIS is: ▪ an accountability system ▪ a framework to unify sectors of ECE system ▪ a finance strategy that addresses market failures • a fast growing trend It’s a SYSTEM!
So What Do These Things Look Like??Block/Step System • Level 1: all the Level 1 criteria must be met. • Level 2: all the Level 1 and Level 2 criteria must be met. • Level 3 : all the Level 1 and Level 2 and Level 3 criteria must be met • Level 4: all the Level 1 and Level 2 and Level 3 and Level 4 criteria must be met • Level 5: all the Level 1 and Level 2 and Level 3 and Level 4 and Level 5 criteria must be met
Point System Each level determined by number of points earned in each set of common standards • Program administration • Family support/engagement • Staff qualifications/Professional Development • Compensation • Program Evaluation • Licensing/Compliance
Combination System • Level 1: all the Level 1 criteria must be met. • Level 2: all the Level 1 and Level 2 criteria must be met. • Levels 3-5: all the Level 1 and Level 2 criteria must be met, and then the program must earn a minimum of one point in each of the Level 3-5 categories. For levels 3-5, the level is determined by the total number of points earned.
National Lessons Learned ▪ Make it simple - older QRIS are being revised, for simplicity & cost-effectiveness. ▪ Make it dynamic – QRIS standards can change, based on new knowledge. ▪ Align with child outcomes – QRIS can effectively incorporate child assessments. ▪ Align QRIS Standards and Finance – programs can’t succeed without funding; funding won’t produce results without standards.
Legal/Regulatory Standards • Funding Standards • Voluntary Standards Quality Standards for Programs and Practitioners Programs: Technical Assistance & Support Practitioners: ProfessionalDevelopment Support/Infrastructure to Meet Standards for Programs & Practitioners Monitoring & Accountability (to ensure compliance with standards) Engagement & Outreach (Selling the Vision) for Programs, Practitioners, & Consumers Engagement & Outreach (Selling the Vision) for Programs, Practitioners, & Consumers On-going Financial Assistance (Linked to Meeting Standards) A Standards-Based ECE System Design Quality Early Care & Education System
to meet /maintain standards Professional/Program Development Monitoring & Accountability to ensure compliance with standards linked to meeting standards On-going Financial Assistance QRIS = the Framework for the Early Care and Education System for programs and practitioners aligned to Early Learning Standards Quality Standards Aligned with Early Learning Standards For consumers, programs practitioners Engagement & Outreach
What’s Connecticut Doing • CT Government Structure • Law • Work group • Timeline
CT’s ECE Government Structure ECE Cabinet Established by the Governor in 2005 EC Research & Policy Council Established by the Governor in 2006 Governor’s Office • Subcommittees: • Accountability • Family/Community • Subcommittees: • Research • Management/Infrastructure • Finance/Cost Modeling QRIS
Why Connecticut? • This work is specified in Connecticut statute 07-03 section 20 which states: • “The ECE Cabinet established under section 10-16s of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall develop minimum standards and a range of higher standards of quality for all early care and education programs receiving state funding. Not later than December 31, 2008, and annually thereafter, the cabinet shall report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-14a of the general statutes, on the plan developed in accordance with this section to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and the budgets of state agencies, education, human service and higher education and employment advancement.”
Mary Budrawich Devon Conover Christine Devine Marta Diez Dona Ditrio – Head Start Nanci Dower - CAEYC Rita Esposito Deb Flis Amparo Garcia Judy Goldfarb George Hensinger Dawn Homer-Bouthiette Shaun McNally Mary Jane Newman – DSS Centers Joan Parris Gerri Rowell Jessica Sager Gwen Samuels Kim Sandor Carlota Schechter Joyce Staples Sherri Sutera Myra Jones Taylor Amy Watson Sue Wilson Work GroupA QRIS workgroup under the auspices of the Early Childhood Research & Policy Council was convened to deliberate on the core components of a QRIS in the CT context and provide recommendations to the Early Childhood Education Cabinet.
2008 Timeline • February-September: monthly Work Group meetings • September: recommended plan presented to the Governor’s Early Childhood Research & Policy Council (ECRPC) • October: recommendations to Early Childhood Education Cabinet • QRIS WG will communicate regularly with the ECRPC throughout the process via Janice Gruendel.
There are 4 sub-groups of the QRIS Work Group, each working on specific pieces Standards & Accountability • Establish & recommend Program Standards and criteria • Develop & recommend accountability measures and monitoring system • Recommend strategy for selecting administrative entity
Program & Practitioner Supports & Outreach • Develop & recommend model for responsive program and practitioner support (building strategically on current resources) • Create & recommend outreach plan to recruit & retain providers in QRIS
Financing & Incentives • Develop & recommend model for incentives and rewards • Identify financial needs of recommended CT QRIS • Assist in costing out components of QRIS in CT • Identify & recommend current and potential resources & strategies for financing
Consumer Education & Outreach • Develop & recommend identity and “brand” for CT QRIS • Create & recommend outreach plan to inform families and fundamentally change consumer behavior
QRIS Work Flow & Internal/External Communications • Issues • Proposal • Consideration/Discussion • Confidentiality • Recommendations
Decision-making • Thumbs Up = Yes, I agree and support this • Thumbs Sideways = this is OK; I can live with it. • Thumbs Down = No, I have a serious problem and cannot support this. • Majority thumbs up on important matters • Voters are committed to explaining the reasons for their votes • All votes are thumbs up or sideways, a decision is made • If one or more thumbs are down voter and group will try to reach acceptable agreement
The CT QRIS will be a voluntary system for Early Care and Education (ECE) and School Age (SA) programs that provides strong incentives to draw all programs into the system and help all programs continuously improve quality. State agencies will require participation for funded programs. Draft Recommendations
Draft Recommendations • Programs serving all children B-12 • Phase 1 = Birth to 5 • Phase 2 = 6 - 12 • All center settings (licensed and exempt) • All regulated home-based settings • Voluntary • Five steps
Resources • http://ecpolicycouncil.org/ • http://nccic.org/topics/topic/index.cfm?topicId=44 • Sign up for QRIS Network List to obtain information going forward: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Zmn0b7FYbBfLSyIkoItayg_3d_3d • www.naeyc.org • www.ctaeyc.org
Connecticut Association for the Education of Young Children 2321 Whitney Avenue Suite 501 Hamden, CT 06518 Ph: 203.287.3914 Fax: 203.287.3915 www.ctaeyc.org