Quality Child Care: What Families Need to Know

November 6, 2018

Infant Child Care

Having affordable, reliable child care is so important to families in our community—it helps children get the best start in life by providing beneficial early learning experiences and it allows the adults who care for them to go to work each day with the knowledge that their children are safe, taken care of and learning.

Kids of working families may spend eight or more hours each day in the care of someone else—maybe at a child care center, preschool or a family child care home. To ensure all these child care professionals provide the best care and learning experiences possible, the State of Ohio and the State of Kentucky each created quality rating systems. The system in Ohio is called Step Up To Quality, and the system in Kentucky is called Kentucky All STARS. These five-star rating scales recognize early education and child care programs that exceed minimum health and safety standards and promote children’s learning and development.

Why does quality matter?

Star-rated programs demonstrate higher levels of quality in a variety of ways:

  • Highly trained teachers
  • Development of school readiness skills
  • Commitment to continuous improvement
  • Focus on family engagement

Research has confirmed that when a program increases quality, the children in their care are better prepared for the future. Children display more confidence and are eager to learn!

Ohio’s 2020 Deadline

Big changes are underway in the Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) system that will impact families. There’s a mandate from the state that ALL unrated child care providers must earn at least one star in the Step Up To Quality system by June 30, 2020, in order to serve children receiving child care subsidy from the state. Unless the number of SUTQ rated child care programs is rapidly increased, our community is facing a dramatic child care shortage for families.

What can families do?

  1. Look for programs that have a sign or a banner out front with their star-rating displayed. When you see something like this, congratulate the provider and help the staff celebrate their success! Child care providers work hard to care for our most precious citizens, and we need to celebrate all of the successes that they have! 
  2. When you don’t see a sign or a banner, ask what they are doing to improve their quality. Are they aware of what SUTQ is? Let them know that having a quality environment is important to you and that you and your children count on their care and their expertise.

 This article was written for the November 2018 edition of Parent Source.

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