A Systems Approach to Improving the Quality of Child Care
In the delivery of child care and development services, certifying providers that meet the TRS Provider Criteria, awarding quality improvement equipment and materials, and offering training for those in the early care and education field are all part of a systematic approach to addressing the quality of life for all young children in care outside their homes.
A continuum of quality child care may be described in the following manner:
- Regulatory Requirements (Minimum CCL Standards): Defines the minimum acceptable level of care.
- Self-Assessment: Enables an individual facility to evaluate its own progress in improving the quality of care.
- TRS Provider Certification: Provides measurable indicators of quality child care practices that exceed the state’s Minimum Child Care Licensing Standards.
The continuum of quality child care represents a systematic progression in the quality of early childhood programs. Data about a provider’s performance are collected in partnership by state agencies, the child care contractors, and child care providers. Measurable data include the structural dimension that can be counted such as director and caregiver qualifications and training, group sizes, a facility’s physical space (indoor and outdoor), and a program’s policies for nutrition, staff orientation, and parent education. Other data, such as child-staff ratios, activities, curricula, and caregiver-child interactions, must be collected by observation in individual programs. Based on the data collected, a provider’s performance may be improved by training, technical assistance, and resource linkages; and the outcome is enhanced physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of the children in care.
Texas Rising Star provides professional development resources and mentoring to sustain and improve the quality of early childhood environments at TRS certified programs. TRS certified providers may have access to three types of assistance: technical assistance (TA) plans, Service Improvement Agreements (SIAs), and probationary assistance. Please note that non-TRS certified providers may also access technical assistance resources to help them prepare for certification. A summary of these three types can be found below.
- Technical Assistance Plan
WHY? TA plans are initially generated from scores on TRS measures at the initial certification assessment to provide a roadmap for continued quality improvement
HOW? Technical assistance is targeted toward TRS measures the mentor/ provider feel will help the provider maintain or improve their star level rating
HOW LONG? TA plans are voluntary, ongoing, and continually updated by mentor recommendations and provider goals
RESULT? TA plans may result in a Star Level Evaluation Assessment, a full provider assessment that may be requested if the provider and mentor feel a new star level rating is earned.
- Service Improvement Agreement (SIA)
WHY? SIAs go into effect if deficiencies are found in TRS categories at the annual monitoring visit. SIAs give providers an opportunity to correct TRS deficiencies before potentially losing a star level of TRS certification at the next recertification assessment.
HOW? Technical assistance is targeted to the TRS deficiencies that led to the SIA.
HOW LONG? 6 months
RESULT? A category assessment will be conducted on the TRS categories found deficient to determine the new star level. Note: The SIA, with a TA plan, is mandatory. Using TRS resources for technical assistance is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged; however, providers may choose to use external resources to correct TRS deficiencies.
- TRS Probation
WHY? TRS providers are placed on probation when 10-14 total CCL licensing deficiencies are cited within a 12-month period
HOW? Technical assistance is available to the TRS provider to address CCL licensing deficiencies, but is not mandatory
HOW LONG? 6 months
RESULT? If the provider is recited for the same deficiencies while on probation, the provider loses a star level (2-star loses certification). Provider is eligible for reinstatement to former star level at the end of a 6-month period if deficiencies are not re-cited. If any new deficiencies are cited while on probation, a second 6-month probationary period for that deficiency begins. If any new deficiencies are cited during this second probationary period, the provider will lose TRS certification. Providers losing TRS certification due to licensing deficiencies will not be eligible to reapply for certification sooner than 6 months following the loss of certification.