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IDCFS Licensed Family/Group Home Child Care Providers and Quality Counts QRS
For Illinois DCFS licensed family/group home child care providers, 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 Star Level Certification recognizes achievement above State minimum standards. Completing any Star Level is an accomplishment to share with families served and the community.
How do I get started?
The first step in the QRS process is to attend a free QRS Orientation. Here you learn the specific requirements at each Star Level that your program needs to complete to receive 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. 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 you can apply to QRS. Your program must also care for children full day (defined as operating 8 or more consecutive hours) for 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, providers will need to meet or exceed IDCFS licensing standards for training and/or formal education at each Star Level.
At higher Star Levels, the quality of business management is evaluated by an independent assessor. National Accreditation (NAFCC) is recognized at these levels. You will need to attend the Business Administration Scale (BAS) training before you can apply at Star Level 3 or Star Level 4. There is a $15 fee for this training. Your local CCR&R coordinates BAS training.
When do I apply for the 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 Licensed Family/Group Home Child Care 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 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.