Oklahoma

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

Approaches to Implementation

Oklahoma Makes Adjustments in Response to Feedback

The first QRIS was launched in Oklahoma in 1998. Reaching for the Stars included two star levels. One year later, the State funded a three star level for programs that met two star standards and were also nationally accredited. After 2 years and lagging participation levels, program designers identified that the gap between one star licensing and two star standards was greater than most providers could accomplish. They created a midpoint and time-limited One Star Plus level that provided financial incentives and recognition for providers that needed more support to progress to higher star levels. Additional information is available at http://www.okdhs.org/programsandservices/cc/stars/.  

Quality Assurance and Monitoring

Oklahoma Responds to Unintended Consequences in Its QRIS

Oklahoma’s Reaching for the Stars QRIS policy and procedures are specific and detailed so that staff and providers understand the process. This is essential because of the significant financial consequences of star status on tiered reimbursement rates. Because it is difficult to evaluate a program when it first opens, the QRIS policy initially stated that a program could not apply for a higher star level until it had a full license, generally after 6 months of operation. This imposed a hardship on new programs as well as on existing child care centers, particularly if there was a change of ownership. Under new ownership, the tiered rates dropped dramatically, jeopardizing the continued quality of the center. As a result, the policy was changed to allow new programs with an initial permit to participate. Additional information is available at http://www.okdhs.org/programsandservices/cc/stars/

Provider Incentives and Support

Oklahoma Created the Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Initiative

Oklahoma has created its own scholarship program, the Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Initiative, to help early and school-age care and education providers continue their education and meet Reaching for the Stars QRIS criteria. To qualify for the Scholars for Excellence initiative, providers must work in one-star plus or above child care facilities that are licensed and care for subsidized children, i.e., at least 10 percent of children in care must receive subsidies. Through this program, a scholar coordinator is placed at each community college to recruit, advise, and support students as they are often entering the higher education system for the first time. Central office and community college coordinators assist providers with career counseling and obtaining financial assistance including Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) funded scholarships for Child Development Associate or Certified Childcare Professional credential assessments, career tech, or community college coursework. Scholarship funds can be used to pay for tuition, fees, limited release time, and books. Scholar coordinators make at least two onsite technical assistance visits with the provider each semester to provide classroom assistance or career advisement. Additional information is available at http://www.okhighered.org/scholars/.

Consumer Education

Oklahoma's Public Awareness Strategies

Oklahomadelayed the launch of its Reaching for the Stars public awareness campaign for parents until most counties had a program above the one-star level. To inform parents, the State used television and radio public service announcements, advertisements before movies in theatres, brochures and posters in many public places, and billboards. When child care providers attained a higher level, they were given a certificate, window decal, and newspaper article template to submit to their local newspaper. Some licensing staff loaned them yard signs and banners to proclaim their achievement. Providers’ Star status is clearly displayed when a parent uses the on-line Child Care Locator to obtain a list of licensed facilities at http://www.okdhs.org/programsandservices/cc/prnts/docs/cclupdates.htm. For providers, all staff received a lapel pin reflecting their program’s star status, and they were recognized at early childhood State conferences. .