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QRIS Resource Guide

Illinois

The Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) was implemented in State Fiscal Year 2008. It helps Illinois child care programs provide quality care for children and their families. This voluntary system is available to license-exempt family child care providers and  licensed family child care providers. The Quality Counts QRS offers levels that providers can achieve, depending on the type of care they provide. The Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies administers the QRS, and local resource and referral agencies offer technical assistance, training, consultation and support to all types of providers.

As of July 1, 2013, licensed child care centers are transitioning to a new QRIS—ExceleRate Illinois. The new System is cross-sector and includes: licensed child care centers, HeadStart/Early Head Start, and State-funded prekindergarten programs. All licensed centers are recognized at the first level, the Licensed Circle of Quality. Bronze, Silver and Goald Circles of Quality are voluntary for licensed child care centers. Head Start and State-funded prekindergarten programs will participate at the Silver and Gold Circles of Quality. Awards of Excellence are being developed for programs achieving Gold and will recognize quality in specific areas, for example, instructional quality. ExceleRate Illinois for licensed family child care providers will be implemented in 2015.

Both QRIS are under the joint direction of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Illinois Contacts

QRIS Name:

Quality Counts and ExceleRate Illinois

Organization: Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies

Web Site:

Illinois Quality Counts http://www.ilqualitycounts.com/quality-rating-system/overview

ExceleRate Illinois http://excelerateillinois.com/

QRIS State Profile

This profile is from the QRIS Compendium—a comprehensive resource for information about all of the QRIS operating in the U.S. and its Territories. It was developed by a partnership of the BUILD Initiative, the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative, and Child Trends.

QRIS Resource Guide Examples

Initial Design Process

Newly Implemented ExceleRate Illinois Includes Cross Sector Center-based Programs

ExceleRate Illinois was launched on July 1, 2013 for child care centers, Early Head Start/Head Start, Preschool for All (State-funded prekindergarten programs) and center based prevention initiative programs. Currently rated QRS centers will transition into this cross sector System which has a common set of quality standards that programs can meet through various paths of evidence. (ExceleRate Illinois for licensed family child care providers will be implemented in 2015.)

There are Circles of Quality which programs can attain:

  • Licensed- all licensed centers are included and recognized at this Circle. A program must prepare for and apply for a Circle of Quality above this level.
  • Bronze- focuses on a program’s efforts around training and education
  • Silver- signals that the provider has completed a rigorous self-assessment process and made the improvements indicated.
  • Gold- acknowledges the programs improvement efforts as verified by an independent assessor.

More information is available at http://www.exelerateillinois.com.

For licensed family child care providers, there are four Star Levels to achieve for Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS). At Star Levels 1 and 2, assessment is required, along with meeting provider/staff qualifications. At Star Level 3, there is a choice of assessment or state approved accreditation as the accepted path. At Star 4, both assessment and accreditation are required. Quality add-ons range from 5% at Star 1 to 20% at Star 4 for each subsidy child in care.

For license-exempt family child care providers, there are three tiers of training to achieve for the Illinois Quality Counts QRS. Training at each Tier includes modules from the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity ECE Credential Level 1, and covers topics such as, health, safety, nutrition, and child development. Providers completing Training Tiers receive a QRS Training Tier certificate. After completing the first tier, license-exempt providers get a quality bonus payment of 10 percent above the base subsidy rate; after completion of the next two tiers, bonuses are 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively. According to the Quality Counts Web site, as of September 30, 2013, 536 license-exempt providers had earned one of the training tier certificates, and 296 licensed family child care providers had achieved a Star rating. Additional information is available at http://www.ilqualitycounts.com/quality-rating-system/license-exempt-family-homes.

Newly Implemented ExceleRate Illinois Includes Cross Sector Center-based Programs

ExceleRate Illinois was launched on July 1, 2013 for child care centers, Early Head Start/Head Start, Preschool for All (State-funded prekindergarten programs) and center based prevention initiative programs. Currently rated QRS centers will transition into this cross sector System which has a common set of quality standards that programs can meet through various paths of evidence. (ExceleRate Illinois for licensed family child care providers will be implemented in 2015.)

There are Circles of Quality which programs can attain:

  • Licensed- all licensed centers are included and recognized at this Circle. A program must prepare for and apply for a Circle of Quality above this level.
  • Bronze- focuses on a program’s efforts around training and education
  • Silver- signals that the provider has completed a rigorous self-assessment process and made the improvements indicated.
  • Gold- acknowledges the programs improvement efforts as verified by an independent assessor.

More information is available at http://www.exelerateillinois.com.

Provider Incentives and Support

Illinois Quality Counts QRS and ExceleRate Illinois Orientations

Family child care providers , licensed and licensed exempt, interested in finding out more about the Illinois Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) can participate in a free QRS Orientation offered by their local Child Care Resource & Referral  (CCR&R) agency or online. The Orientation covers eligibility requirements, application process, and supports and resources available. Potential applicants must attend this session prior to submitting an application. Training on assessment scales is also required prior to application. Training on the Environment Rating Scales is required prior to application at any Star Level. Business Administration Scale (BAS) training is required if applying for Star Level 3 or 4. Both trainings are offered by the local CCR&R agency at a cost of $15 per 3- to 4-hour session. Additional information is available at http://www.ilqualitycounts.com/quality-rating-system/qrs-training-for-providers.

Prior to application to ExceleRate Illinois, licensed child care centers need to complete the free 2 hour ExceleRate Illinois Orientation in addition to other training depending on the Circle of Quality they have chosen to prepare for and achieve. The orientation covers ExceleRate Illinois cross sectors standards, eligibility requirements, application process, and supports and resources available. All licensed centers are recognized at the Licensed Circle of Quality, the System’s foundational level of quality. The Bronze Circle of Quality focuses on training around quality practices. The Silver and Gold Circles of Quality focus on continuous quality improvement and assessment of quality. Additional information is available at http://www.excelerateillinois.com