Monday, January 14, 2008

I saw this in The Richmond Palladium-Item for today: State develops new child care ratings Plan is part of effort to boost early childhood professionals.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration's Bureau of Child Care is pushing ahead this year with a new rating system for licensed child care providers.

The state is adopting the program because a higher quality early-learning experience helps prepare children for a brighter future. Research has shown that the first years of a child's life are some of the most important times for brain development.

The program is voluntary and free. It also includes small incentives to centers that meet certain benchmarks.

"Parents don't always understand what they are getting. This is one way to let them know what type of service to expect," said Melanie Brizzi, a child care consultant to the Bureau of Child Care.


Paths to Quality is currently offered in 17 Indiana counties. The program will expand in May to 40 counties primarily in southern Indiana. It will add Hamilton, Marion, Hendricks and Johnson counties in Central Indiana in October, then remaining counties, mostly in Northwest Indiana, by Jan. 1, 2009.

State officials said they hope 50 percent of child care centers, about 20 percent of home-based services and a lower percentage of ministry-based centers will register in the program during the first year.

FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob has said about $14 million in federal child-care block grant funds will go toward expanding the program statewide.

Child care centers now must meet certain thresholds to maintain their license.

Paths to Quality will rank a center on a scale from 1 to 4 based on its having met certain criteria, including offering a planned curriculum and achieving national accreditation.

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