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QRIS Resource Guide

Tennessee

The voluntary Star-Quality Child Care Program recognizes child care providers that meet a higher standard of quality. Once qualified for this program, providers can receive one, two, or three stars to place on their licenses. Each star shows that a provider meets increasingly higher standards.

Tennessee Contacts

QRIS Name: Star-Quality Child Care Program

Organization: Tennessee Department of Human Services

Web Site: http://www.tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/ccrcsq.html

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

Tennessee Approach to QRIS Is Both Mandatory and Voluntary

Tennessee's QRIS includes a mandatory report card and a voluntary rated licensing component (Star-Quality program).   All licensed child care providers receive a report card evaluation annually.  This evaluation requires an on-site visit. . During the process of renewing a license, the State evaluates a provider on several key indicators of quality. Family and group homes are evaluated on five areas and child care centers are evaluated on seven areas. The Star-Quality Child Care Program and the report card program are assessed on the same criteria. These programs recognize child care providers that meet a higher standard of quality. Providers that qualify for the Star-Quality program can receive a one, two, or three star rating. Additional information is available at  http://www.tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/ccrcsq.html.  

Quality Assurance and Monitoring

Tennessee's Use of Unannounced Monitoring Visits (UAV)

Unannounced visits are conducted annually because Tennessee recognizes that a program can change quickly. All licensed agencies must receive one announced visit and a minimum of four unannounced visits each year.  The number of UAVs each agency receives is determined by its “star rating.” The UAV schedule for agencies operating year round is as follows:

  • New agencies and agencies eligible for 0 stars = six UAVs/licensing year
  • Agencies eligible for one star = five UAVs/licensing year
  • Agencies eligible for two or three stars = four UAVs/licensing year

Additional information is available at  http://www.tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/ccrcsq.html.

Tennessee's Appeals Process

Tennessee tries to anticipate situations that may lead to an appeal by making post-assessment calls to all providers participating in the Report Card and Star-Quality Program. These calls, which are handled by CCR&R Specialists, help to keep the number of disagreements low. Following each call, a provider receives a copy of the assessor’s notes and a Profile Sheet that summarizes all of its scores. If there is an issue with the assessment piece, the provider has 20 business days to file an appeal. The Level 1 appeal is handled by the local unit, which works with the CCR&R staff. The Level 2 appeal is conducted by contract staff. If a provider completes both levels of the appeals process and still has an issue, it may then request an administrative hearing. Additional information is available at  http://www.tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/ccrcsq.html

Data Collection and Evaluation

Tennessee QRIS Data Collection System Provides Monthly Geographic Data

Tennessee uses the State Regulated Adult & Child Care System (RACCS) to maintain QRIS data. The system includes the provider’s Star-Quality Child Care Program rating and Child Care Report Card System component scores by program year. Users can request provider QRIS information for the entire State or by specific geographic region. The data system automatically generates monthly reports on ratings by provider type and county. The RACCS system also includes various provider-specific program data, updated annually, that can be queried by accreditation, curriculum, enrollment, environment, fees, meals, program, rates, rate policy, schedule, staff, and transportation. Additional information is available at http://www.tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/ccrcsq.html.

The University of Tennessee Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS) created an automated system to maintain statewide data on early childhood program assessments. When SWORPS receives the completed observation score sheets from Department of Human Services’ assessors, the assessment data are entered into the Star-Quality Child Care Program database along with supplemental data (teacher and classroom/family child care home characteristics). The system generates a provider profile sheet that contains assessment information, including item, subscale, and observation scores) and an overall program assessment score. The system also generates a “Strengths Page” for the provider that details the indicators that the assessor scored positively. The provider receives a copy of the profile sheet, the Strengths Page, and the assessor’s notes. Copies of these documents are also mailed to the relevant licensing unit for completion of Report Card scoring and entry into RACCS.  A duplicate copy of the assessment results are mailed to the relevant CCR&R site. The Stars database generates monthly, quarterly, yearly, and ad hoc reports, and analyzes the data in a multitude of ways. Additional information is available at http://www.tennessee.gov/humanserv/adfam/ccrcsq.html.