The Quality Counts Quality Rating System (QRS) assists Illinois child care programs in providing quality care for children and their families. A provider's participation in QRS means they have gone the extra mile to help make sure children are receiving an enhanced learning and care experience. Quality care can help children succeed in school and in life. QRS Certification recognizes a provider for meeting specific indicators of quality. It is an accomplishment to be shared with families served and the community.
The Quality Counts QRS offers levels which providers can achieve depending on the type of care they provide. Specific quality criteria must be met to achieve a level. Once a child care provider has met the required criteria for a level, they are awarded a QRS certificate. QRS Certification recognizes achievement above State minimum standards. Providers caring for children eligible for the IDHS Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) also receive a quality bonus above the standard payment rate.
Participation in QRS is voluntary. QRS Certification is available for:
- License-Exempt Family Child Care Providers - care provided by relatives, friends or neighbors for a small number or family of children (typically 3 children or less).
- Licensed Family/Group Child Care Providers - serve a limited number of children in a home setting. These settings have been transitioned into ExceleRate Illinois, the new quality rating and improvement system.
- Licensed Child Care, Head Start and Preschool for All - serve children in a classroom setting. These settings are being transitioned into ExceleRate Illinois, the new quality rating and improvement system.
License-exempt Centers need to become licensed to participate in QRS. The local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Agency provides licensing and QRS information.
This initiative is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).