Alabama Quality STARS
Alabama Quality STARS, Alabama’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), is a “systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care and education programs.” Similar to restaurant rating systems, Alabama Quality STARS awards quality ratings to child care programs that meet a set of defined program standards that represent an early care and education program’s quality above Alabama’s Minimum Standards.
Alabama Quality STARS is a “building block” system of a total of five star ratings where centers must meet all requirements at one STAR level before moving to the next level. The requirements at 1 and 2 STARS help the program and administrator start the process of quality improvement, while the requirements at 3, 4, and 5 STARS reflect higher indicators of quality. Overall the standards are based on the following components: staff qualifications and professional development, management and administrative practices, learning environment and curriculum, and family involvement and community partnerships.
While program types will include center-based care, family/group home care, and school-age care, Alabama Quality STARS only grants ratings to licensed child care centers at this time. However, child care centers that cannot be licensed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR), such as military, public school, or Alabama Community College System, are also eligible for participation. In 2016, DHR announced it will begin statewide implementation of Alabama Quality STARS by offering orientation sessions for program directors.
Why should programs participate in Alabama Quality STARS?
- To identify a program as being above Alabama’s Minimum Standards
- To showcase a program’s commitment to higher quality
- To increase parent and public awareness of a program’s quality
- To receive program enhancement support and resources
- To have priority consideration for training and educational scholarships
- To make connections with agencies and organizations that provide services to achieve higher quality
For more information, visit the Alabama Quality STARS website at alabamaqualitystars.org