Revised February 12, 2013
The Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) planning and redesign process includes representatives from many organizations who have come together to review Colorado’s current QRIS, identify how to improve QRIS based on what has been learned from research and best practices, and develop recommendations for an improved system that meets Colorado’s needs. This effort, QRIS: The Next Generation began in February 2010. The large stakeholder group was made up of over 50 partner organizations whose charge was to review the current Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and develop recommendations to improve upon the current system and take it to the next level. Draft recommendations were completed at the end of 2010 in the following areas:
In 2011 the planning and redesign work continued under the Design Team to further develop recommendations. In 2012, the Division of Early Care and Learning contracted with Oldham Innovative Research to fully develop the draft recommendations in the areas of standards and indicators, accountability and monitoring, provider supports and incentives, a guidance document for providers, and a consumer engagement plan.
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Colorado is committed to improving the quality of early learning and school-age programs for families and children. Many quality initiatives have been developed over the years to support early learning and school-age programs in strengthening their programs. Some of these initiatives include: professional development, school readiness, coaching and mentoring, child care resource and referral services, the Early Childhood Councils and the Qualistar Rating™. Many of these initiatives are the result of partnerships with various state, county, and local organizations working together toward the same goal - to improve early learning and school-age programs.
QRIS: The Next Generation is not a stand-alone initiative; it builds upon the numerous quality initiatives in the state and connects with state and local committees such as the Early Childhood Leadership Commission and Early Childhood Councils. One of the targeted focus areas in 2011 are to establish formal strategic linkages with the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, ensure that the statewide Professional Development Plan developed in 2010 is embedded in the QRIS standards, align and incorporate the work from various ongoing initiatives related to data systems, child outcomes and measurements, supports and financial incentives for providers, and financing strategies.
National importance is being placed on QRIS development and is a priority for the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Please see http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ/news/qris-cost-estimation-model-and-resource-guide for a comprehensive national resource guide on QRIS.
To develop a Quality Rating and Improvement System that is inclusive, accessible, and available to all providers, is embedded in licensing, and is reflective of evidence-based practices for successful outcomes for all children and families.
The QRIS planning process was organized in February, 2010. Four Work Groups were formed to develop recommendations and the Governance Infrastructure Committee was established as a steering committee. The Work Groups included:
Final draft recommendations from the Work Groups and Governance Infrastructure Committee were submitted to the Department of Human Services in December, 2010 and included in the HB 11-1027 Legislation. Since 2011, the recommendations have been further developed to include the following elements:
The QRIS system will be based on five levels.
Parts of the QRIS rating and quality improvement activities may be contracted to another organization.
Communication and outreach efforts will seek ongoing input from multiple stakeholders as the planning process continues.
Phase II of the planning process began in March 2011. Most of the stakeholders engaged during 2010 in the Work Groups and Governance Infrastructure Committee continued their participation in 2011 and 2012 under the Design Team.
The Division’s contract with Oldham Innovative Research concluded in December 2012. Work under this contract has resulted in the development of the following elements:
Marketing and Outreach efforts will continue throughout 2012 to reach stakeholders throughout the state with updates, discussions, and presentations.
|Q:||Why was the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) planning process started?|
|A:||Research and best practices show that Quality Rating and Improvement Systems have been actively evolving across the country in the last ten years. We've learned about the characteristics of effective QRIS systems and about what doesn't work so well. It's time to examine what's working well in Colorado, review what other states are doing, review the research, identify needed improvements, and make recommendations for improvements. Another reason for beginning this planning process is that early learning and school-age programs have voiced concerns about the high costs of quality ratings - it's more than they can afford. One of the goals is to make QRIS available and affordable to many more programs.|
|Q:||What is the scope of responsibility of the QRIS planning process?|
|A:||The participants in the four Work Groups and Governance Infrastructure committee have developed a set of recommendations in 2010. Under Phase II of the planning process, the first priority is to fully develop the Standards, followed by developing plans for Provider Supports and Financial Incentives and Financing and Sustainability. This work continued through 2012 under the Design Team, with assistance of national experts and a contractor, Oldham Innovative Research. In 2013 the focus will shift to implementation planning.|
|Q:||When will the recommendations be finalized and approved?|
|A:||It’s anticipated that the recommendations will be finalized during 2013.|
|Q:||What role does Qualistar Colorado have in Colorado's Quality Rating and Improvement System: The Next Generation?|
|A:||Qualistar Colorado is responsible for conducting ratings and providing quality improvement activities now and will continue to do so until final decisions are made. Qualistar representatives provide experience and expertise to the planning process and are active participants in this process.|
|Q:||Has a recommendation been developed about who will govern QRIS?|
|A:||The Department of Human Services, Division of Early Care and Learning will govern and has authority over QRIS, with the possibility of contracting certain components of QRIS to a contractor.|
|Q:||Has a recommendation been developed that identifies what contractor will operate portions of QRIS?|
|A:||No. This will not occur until the recommendations are approved and an implementation plan is developed.|
|Q:||School-age programs are not currently part of the Quality Rating and Improvement System, how will they be involved?|
|A:||A recommendation has been developed to include school-age programs in the Quality Rating and Improvement System.|
|Q:||How were the standards selected?|
|A:||The Standards and Accountability Work Group conducted extensive research on all States who have QRIS systems, reviewed national research on QRIS standards, and considered Colorado’s framework and needs in identifying the standards. During 2012 Oldham Innovative Research, along with the Design Team, further developed the standards and identified indicators.|
|Q:||Why will Child Care Licensing conduct assessments and monitor Level One in QRIS?|
|A:||The revised Family Child Home and upcoming revised Center regulations include standards that translate into Level One. Since Licensing staff already monitor child care programs, the additional function of assessing programs at QRIS Level One is an effective way to link Licensing with QRIS.|
|Q:||What is a hybrid approach to assessing levels?|
|A:||The recommendation to use both Blocks and Points in assessing programs is a hybrid approach that requires programs to meet all the indicators in the five standards’ areas for Levels One and Two, while assigning Points to indicators in the five standards’ areas for Levels Three and above. The Points system provides more flexibility for programs in attaining higher Levels, based on ranges of points; while the Blocks approach ensures a standardized, building-blocks approach to meeting the important quality indicators at the lower levels.|
|Q:||What is a rated license?|
|A:||A rated license means the QRIS ratings achieved by child care facilities will be indicated on the child care license issued to child care centers, homes, and school-age programs.|
|Q:||How can I provide feedback?|
|A:||You can use the following link to e-mail questions or make comments and we will respond to your e-mails. Also, any upcoming surveys will be posted on the website. Throughout the year members of the Design Team will be attending meetings and conferences during which we will be seeking your input.|