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QRIS Resource Guide


Maryland EXCELS is a voluntary Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that recognizes early care and education programs that provide quality care, encourages providers to increase the level of quality provided in their programs, and provides families with information and choices about quality care. Implementation of this revised QRIS system began in July 2013. While participation is voluntary, for programs accepting Child Care Subsidy, participation will be required by 2015.

Maryland Contacts

QRIS Name: Maryland EXCELS- Excellence Counts in Early Learning and School-Age Care

Organization: Division of Early Childhood Development, Maryland State Department of Education

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

Maryland's QRIS Uses Block Approach

Maryland EXCELS is a five-level system. To meet the standards for Level 1, programs must be fully licensed, open, and operating for at least 6 months and demonstrate compliance with specific licensing requirements. With each higher level, a program is required to meet increasingly higher quality standards in the following categories: Licensing and Compliance, Staff Qualifications and Professional Development, Accreditation and Rating Scales, Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice and Administrative Policies and Practices.  Additional information is available at

Provider Incentives and Support

A Variety of Financial Supports in Maryland's QRIS

Statewide participation in the new Maryland QRIS, EXCELS, was launched in July 2013.  With the redesign of the program there was also redesign of the awards, bonuses and incentives.  They include the following:

Program Bonuses – awarded to participating programs based on the Check Level rating and assigned capacity of the facility.  These bonuses range from $50 to $1000 for family child care and from $50 to $4500 for centers.

Credential Bonuses – full amount bonuses available to staff in participating programs.  Staff bonuses are based on the Credential Level, and range from $200 to $500 at Levels 2, 3 and 4 and from $600 to $1000 for Staff Levels 4 Plus, 5 and 6.  The bonuses at the lower levels (2 – 4) are one time only, while the bonuses at the higher levels (4 plus – 6) are annual.  There are also bonuses for the Administrator Credential, with Level 1 amount of $400, and a one-time only award, and Levels 2, 3, and 4 can receive $750, $1000 and $1500 respectively on an annual basis.

Incentives, Grants and Supports – participating programs and their staff have access to quality improvement incentives, grants and supports including but not limited to:

  • Accreditation Fund Support
  • Curriculum Fund
  • Child Care Quality Incentive Grants
  • Training Vouchers and Reimbursement
  • Child Care Career and Professional Development Fund
  • Increased Subsidy Reimbursement Rates by Check Levels (Levels 3, 4 and 5)
  • Infant Toddler Expansion Grants

Additional information on Maryland EXCELS and their financial supports can be found at

Consumer Education

Maryland QRIS Marketing Video

Maryland developed a marketing video for a variety of audiences - early childhood and school-age programs, families choosing child care or early education for their children and for community/public awareness.  The video was released six weeks ahead of the QRIS opening for statewide participation to draw attention to the initiative and the importance of high quality programs for children.  The video was distributed to their agency’s public relations office where it will be featured on their Facebook page and Twitter feed.  Partners were asked to add it to their websites and distribute it further to their associations, resource and referral networks, other state agencies, and partners.