Skip to main content

QRIS Resource Guide


The goal of Kentucky’s KIDS (Kentucky Invests in Developing Success) NOW is for all young children in Kentucky to be healthy and safe, possess the foundation that will enable school and personal success, and live in strong families that are supported and strengthened within their communities. To reach this goal, Kentucky implemented the STARS for KIDS NOW voluntary child care quality rating and improvement system.This system uses a scale of 1 through 4 STARS to identify levels of quality. All STAR levels surpass the minimum licensing requirements that all programs must meet. Programs are assessed in the following areas: staff-child ratios, group size, curriculum, parent involvement, training/education of staff, regulatory compliance, and personnel practices. 

Kentucky Contacts

QRIS Name: STARS for KIDS NOW Child Care Quality Rating System

Organization: Division of Child Care, Kentucky Department of Community Based Services

Web Site:

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

Standards and Criteria

Providers Reach Up to Four Levels in Kentucky

The Kentucky STARS for KIDS NOW Child Care Quality Rating System has four levels of quality standards. Provider license/certification must be in good standing at all levels. To attain higher levels, providers must meet the requirements of that level and those of previous levels. Kentucky’s standards address ratios, curriculum, training, regulatory compliance, personnel (for centers only), and business practices (for FCC only). Accreditation is one of the criteria for the level 4 curriculum standards. Additional information is available at

Provider Incentives and Support

Kentucky QRIS Incentives Include Grants and Subsidy Bonus

Providers that participate in Kentucky’s STARS for KIDS NOW QRIS are eligible for several incentive awards.

  • The STARS Initial Achievement Award is granted once a licensed/certified program attains a Star level and varies by level and number of children served from $100 to $5000. It is also granted one time as each subsequent higher star level is achieved.  If a program achieves a Level 3 the first time they are rated, they will receive payment for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
  • An Annual Achievement Award is granted to licensed/certified programs that maintain their STARS Level 3 or 4 status and varies by level and number of children served from $250 to $2500.
  • The Quality Incentive Award is available to STARS Level 2–4 licensed and certified programs serving children participating in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). It is based on the percentage of subsidized children served, level, and age of children.
  • The Annual Enhancement Award is paid to STAR level 4 licensed centers that pay at least 50 percent of the cost of a single health insurance plan for each employee or to certified family child care homes that achieve an average score above 5.5 on the environment assessment.

Additional information is available at

Consumer Education

Kentucky Has an App for That

Kentucky has two (2) portals available for assistance in locating STARS rated programs.

  • The Division of Child Care’s Kentucky Integrated Child Care System (“KICCS” Portal) helps parents find STARS-Rated Centers in their area searching by county or find their child’s current center’s STARS rated at
  • Kids Matter is a smart phone app for finding child care in Kentucky. Users are able to search for a subsidy eligibility specialist or a child care program, and the app includes a child care checklist, an “ask the experts” feature, and links to additional resources.