New Hampshire’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) recognizes programs for their efforts to improve the quality of care for young children and rewards programs that strive to improve their practices and staff qualifications. It also allows families to identify programs with higher quality. Levels in the QRIS build from a foundation of minimum standards for licensing to full national accreditation. New Hampshire is in the process of revising its QRIS.
New Hampshire Contacts
QRIS Name: New Hampshire's Quality Rating and Improvement System
Organization: New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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
Facilitator Leads Timely Development Process in New Hampshire
New Hampshire received a grant from a private agency to fund a facilitator to convene a broad group of stakeholders—providers, advocates, and State agency staff—to develop Licensed Plus, a tiered reimbursement system. After the initial meeting, a small steering committee was created and began meeting weekly. After each meeting, the committee communicated with the bigger group on any issues that needed feedback. This process resulted in a quick development process, just over 3 months. The success of this process led to its use for other work in the State. Additional information is available at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/licensedplus/quality.htm. In the fall of 2011, New Hampshire launched a new, facilitated, inclusive planning process to develop recommended revisions to the QRIS. The current QRIS Task Force has developed a goal, guiding principles, a statewide definition of Quality Early Childhood Programs, and a logic model to guide their work.
Standards and Criteria
Incorporating Inclusion into New Hampshire's QRIS
New Hampshire was concerned about the number of children with special needs being expelled from and denied admittance to child care programs. Programs cited their lack of expertise in caring for children with special needs and inadequate staffing levels as the primary reasons for these decisions. The result was inadequate child care for parents who participated in the welfare-to-work program. The New Hampshire Child Development Bureau contracted with a private nonprofit agency to provide technical assistance to child care programs with the goals of prevention of expulsion, provision of a service incentive, and creation of more inclusive child care programs. When the Licensed Plus QRIS was created, the State saw an opportunity to add another incentive to serve children with special needs. One of the required standards in Licensed Plus is that programs must provide written documentation of an inclusion policy that welcomes children and families of all abilities, makes modifications and reasonable accommodations, and supports staff in professional development. Additional information is available at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/licensedplus/index.htm. In the revised QRIS, the emphasis is on embedding individualized instruction to meet the needs of each child into the various standards.
Licensed Plus Standards in New Hampshire
The QRIS in New Hampshire, Licensed Plus, includes two levels above licensing, with two options for achieving the first level (Licensed Plus). Licensed Plus Option 1 requires providers to meet 11 required standards and select an additional 5 standards, for a total requirement of 16 standards. Option 2 is for programs engaged in a national accreditation process but have not yet achieved that accreditation. Documentation of meeting Licensed Plus standards is done through submission of paper documentation. The level above Licensed Plus is Accreditation, which includes the following national accreditation organizations: National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), and the Council on Accreditation’s (COA) After School Accreditation. Additional information is available at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/licensedplus/index.htm. The revised QRIS will continue to be voluntary with licensing as the first level, followed by a level that is preparatory to achieving one of three higher rated levels based on points. The proposed revised system includes 14 required standards plus external evaluations using the Environmental Rating Scales (ERS) and the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS).