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IDCFS Licensed Child Care Centers and Licensed School-Age Programs and Quality Counts QRS
For Illinois DCFS Licensed Centers and School-Age Programs, there are four QRS Star Levels to achieve. A program must be currently licensed to apply at any Star Level. Programs meeting eligibility requirements and achieving a Star Level receive a QRS Star Level Certification. Providers serving children eligible for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) receive a quality bonus of 5%, 10%, 15% or 20% to the standard payment rate for CCAP children in care. QRS Certification recognizes achievement above State minimum standards. Completing any Star Level is an accomplishment to share with families served and the community.
Where does my program start?
The first step in the QRS process is for the site program administrator to attend a free QRS Orientation. Here you learn the specific requirements at each Star Level that your program needs to complete to achieve QRS Certification. You will learn what supports are available to help you through the QRS process. You also need to attend an Environment Rating Scale training that is conducted by your local Child Care Resource & Referral Agency (CCR&R). There is a $15 fee to attend this training.
What is required of my program at each Star Level?
Your child care program must be licensed for one year before applying to Quality Counts QRS. Center programs must also care for children full day (defined as operating 8 or more consecutive hours) and a minimum of 9 months per year. School-Age only programs must care for children a minimum of 9 months per year.
There are various indicators of quality that need to be achieved at each Star Level. For each Star Level, the child care learning environment is evaluated by an independent assessor. In addition to the learning environment assessment, a percentage of center staff will need to exceed IDCFS licensing standards for formal education at each Star Level.
At higher Star Levels, the quality of program management is evaluated by an independent assessor. National Accreditations are recognized at these levels. A site administrator needs to attend the Program Administration Scale (PAS) training before application at Star Level 3 or 4. There is a $15 fee for this training. Your local CCR&R coordinates PAS training.
When should my program apply for Quality Counts QRS?
Providing quality care is an on-going process. When to apply for the Quality Counts QRS will vary for each program. You need to complete the QRS required trainings. Using assessment tools or an accreditation process, you need to do a self-evaluation of your program. Make the program improvements you can based on your self-evaluation. Apply for the Quality Counts QRS at the Star Level you feel your program can achieve. Remember, each Star Level requires and recognizes quality of care above minimum DCFS Licensing Standards.
How do I apply to QRS if I am a Center Based provider?
You submit a Quality Counts QRS application to the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (INCCRRA) . There is no fee to apply for QRS. Applications may be obtained by downloading the form below or calling 1-866-697-8278. Once your application has been received and documentation approved, an on-site evaluation will be scheduled, if required. Programs accomplishing a Star Level receive a QRS Star Level certificate and an add-on bonus for any CCAP children in care.
QRS Certification is effective for a 3-year period. INCCRRA will notify a program when it is time to re-apply to QRS. An annual report is also required to ensure a program is continuing to meet quality indicators such as maintaining a current IDCFS license and provider training/qualifications.