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States across the nation are using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) to improve the quality of child care, preschool, and school-age programs.  Paths to QUALITY™ is the QRIS system for early care and education programs in Indiana. Like other QRIS across the country, Paths to QUALITY:

  • Assesses the quality of care and education within a program
  • Helps professionals improve the quality of their program through professional development opportunities, one-on-one coaching relationships, and other free resources
  • Gives families an easy to recognize symbol that makes the difficult decision of choosing a program easier, much like a star rating system for restaurants and hotels
  • Makes quality programs affordable for families through tiered CCDF reimbursement based on Paths to QUALITY level
  • Recognizes and awards professionals for quality improvement efforts
  • Provides an accountability measure for funding
  • Aligns State licensing, child care subsidy, and quality across child care, preschool, and school-age programs
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Each level of Paths to QUALITY builds on the foundation of the previous one, resulting in significant quality improvements at each stage and in national accreditation at the highest level, level 4. The system validates early care and education programs for ongoing efforts to achieve higher standards of quality and provides incentives and awards for success.

The Scientific Basis for Paths to QUALITY™

In 2007, Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning, a division of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, contracted with Purdue University to complete a four-year scientific review of the Paths to QUALITY system. The overall goal of this review was to conduct an external evaluation of the scientific validity of the Paths to QUALITY standards. Between March, 2009 and June, 2011, the researchers:

  • Completed independent assessments of the quality using research-validated measures in a statewide random sample of 312 licensed child care classrooms, registered child care ministry classrooms, and licensed family child care homes
  • Interviewed more than 1800 parents and 270 child care providers
  • Completed developmental assessments with more than 550 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in Paths to QUALITY centers and homes

Looking for more data and informaiton?  Email datahelp@iaccrr.org

High quality early care and education programs are essential to everyone. Studies have shown that high quality early childhood programs increase the graduation rate, reduce the future crime rate, and can save up to sixteen dollars for every one dollar invested.

The Experts Agree

ptq-aboutResearch shows that high quality early childhood programs prepare children for future success in school, work and life. From birth through age 5 is the most important time for growth of the human brain. A child’s brain develops in response to the child’s experiences by building neurological networks in reaction to the environment. A child’s experiences in a child care program can significantly contribute to that brain development and the future success of the child. High quality child care programs are essential, not only to Hoosier children, but also to their families and to the communities in which they live. Parents need stable, high quality care in order to be productive at work. They count on their child care provider to ensure that their child is safe, healthy and learning during those hours they must be at work. Our school systems need children who are entering school prepared and ready to succeed. Businesses need a high quality work force both now and in the future. In fact, studies have shown that high quality early childhood programs increase the graduation rate, reduce the future crime rate, and can save up to sixteen dollars for every one dollar invested. High quality child care programs are essential to everyone.

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