Quality Start Louisiana

You've given them the sun and the moon. Now give them the stars.

Glossary

Administration Practices – a component of the Quality Start Care Rating System which includes written personnel policies, job descriptions that include a list of qualifications on file and provided to all staff and staff benefits for all full-time staff.

Approved Courses - courses that are deemed approved by the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Assistant Directors - must be on site for a minimum of 20 hours per week for centers with an enrollment of 101 or more.

Assistant Teachers – any staff who cares for children in a classroom setting that can be assessed using the ITERS-R/ECERS-R and works at least 16 hours per week in the center.

Center Improvement Plan – used by a center that has completed the Center Self Assessment to set program improvement goals. This is a requirement to request a rating of two to five stars.

Center Self Assessment - a checklist of information and documentation completed by a center which includes a review of Administration Practices. Family & Community Involvement, Program, ERS self-assessments and Staff Qualifications for the director and lead teachers required to request a rating of two to five stars.

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) - A program administered by the Office of Family Support that determines the household eligibility for Child Care Assistance, and makes payments for child care services to eligible providers.

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) – Funds used to operate the child care programs conducted under the provisions of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, as amended. The Fund consists of Discretionary Funds authorized under section 658B of the amended Act and Mandatory and Matching Funds appropriated under section 418 of the Social Security Act.

Child Care Assistance Program System (CAPS) – System used by the Child Care Assistance Program to determine the eligibility/continued eligibility of applicants/participants, to generate payments for child care services to eligible providers on behalf of eligible clients.

Child Day Care Center - any place of facility operated by any institution, society, agency, corporation, person or persons, or any other group for the primary purpose of providing care, supervision, and guidance of 7 or more children, not including those related to the caregiver, unaccompanied by parent or guardian, on a regular basis for at least 12 ½ hours in a continuous 7-day week. Related or relative is defined as the natural or adopted child or grandchild of the caregiver or a child in the legal custody of the caregiver.

Child Care Licensing and Regulatory Section (CCLRS) - conducts a licensing program for DCFS as mandated by the different licensing laws that give a measure of protection to the children of the state who are in care on a regular of consistent basis. This measure of protection covers the health, safety, and well-being of the children being care for in licensed child care facilities.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential – a nationally recognized credential which can be used to meet staff qualification requirements.

Class A Child Day Care Minimum Standards - Class A licensing criteria established in the Louisiana Administrative Code, Title 67, Sections 7301 – 7350.

Class A Child Day Care Center – a child care facility that meets Louisiana Class A licensing requirements, and provides care to 7 or more children, not including those related to the caregiver.

Class A Licensing Survey – a licensure survey conducted by the Child Care licensing and Regulatory Section to verify compliance with all Class A child day care minimum standards.

Class B Child Day Care Minimum Standards – Class B licensing criteria established in the Louisiana Administrative Code , Title 67, Chapter 73, Sections 7355 – 7385.

Class B Child Day Care Center – a child care facility that meets Louisiana Class B licensing requirements, and provides care to 7 or more children, not including those related to the caregiver. Class B child care centers are prohibited by law from receiving state or federal funds.

Class B Licensing Survey – a licensure survey conducted by the Child Care Licensing and Regulatory Section to verify compliance with all Class B child day care minimum standards.

Director – an administrator who meets the director qualifications and is on-site a minimum of 30 hours per week. This requirement can be met by having one or more persons on site who meet these qualifications.

Division of Child Development and Early Learning (DCDEL) – Division within the Office of Family Support that manages the Child Care Licensing and Regulatory Section which is responsible for licensure of Class A and Class B child care centers; Child Care Provider Directory which is responsible for registration/certification of all child care providers participating in CCAP; the Louisiana Head Start Collaboration Project which supports statewide partnerships among Head Start, child care, and pre-k programs; and the Quality Improvement Unit which includes responsibility for Quality Start, Louisiana’s child care rating system.

Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale – REVISED (ECERS-R) – a research-based assessment tool that measures environmental indicators of quality in preschool classrooms with children ages 2.5 – 5 years of age.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS) – the assessment tools developed at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina that measure environmental indicators of quality. They include the Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R), as well as the School Age Care Environment Rating Scale (SACERS) for school age programs, and the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale – Revised (FCCERS-R) for family child care homes. Only the ITERS-R/ECERS-R apply for purposes of the Quality Start Child Care Rating System at this time.

ERS Anchor – meets the same definition as the ERS assessor and is responsible for supervising the ERS assessors in their regions. Serves as contact for the Child Care Quality Start Specialist. Responsible for reviewing, approving, and disseminating assessment reports; conducting reliability checks and monitoring assessor performance; scheduling assessment with providers; and providing quarterly trainings for providers in the ERS.

ERS Assessor – a trained observer who is contracted by DCFS, has participated in the intensive training on ERS, maintains reliability on the scales, and is responsible for conducting ERS assessments.

Family and Community Involvement – a component of Quality Start which includes criteria such as parent provided pre-enrollment visit, center tour, and furnishing every parent enrolling a child a list of community resources including, but not limited to, LaCHIP, Medicaid, child care assistance, housing assistance, food stamps and information on a child’s medical home.

Foundations Up Program – a one-time statewide project that consisted of an 18 hour training series designed to communicated and provide information about the components of Quality Start and the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). The Foundations Up Program was conducted in the Spring of 2007.

Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale – Revised (ITERS-R) – a research-based assessment tool that measures environmental indicators of quality in infant/toddler classrooms with children 0 – 2.5 years of age.

Initial Rating - The star level achieved by a child care center that has applied for two to five stars and received a decision though the quality start rating verification process in the calendar year that is first participating in Quality Start. If a one star center has not applied and been awarded or denied a higher star by December 1 of the year of receipt of one star, or the center chooses not to apply for two to five stars, then the center’s initial rating will be one star.

Lead Teacher – a teacher who has primary responsibility for a designated classroom that can be assessed using the ITERS-R/ECERS-R including planning and supervising and spends at least 25 hours a week in that classroom. All classrooms must have a lead teacher.

Louisiana Pathways Child Care Career Development System (Louisiana Pathways) – the state practitioner registry maintained by DCFS and/or its contractor. Louisiana Pathways registers child care providers according to requirements based on training and education, experience, and professional activities, as approved by the DSS. Categories are established for child care staff, child care assistant teacher, child care teacher, child care assistant director and child care director. Information on Louisiana Pathways can be found at the Louisiana Pathways Web site or www.dss.state.la.us. Any individual working or planning to work in the child care industry is eligible to enroll in Louisiana Pathways by completing an application and forwarding the required documents.

Midpoint Review - A Midpoint review is required for star-rated centers 12 months prior to the star-rating end date. The purpose of the Midpoint Review is to ensure that the provider continues to meet the standards for their current star rating.

Points – points given in the program and Staff Qualifications areas and the additional Quality Point (Administration Practices and Family and Community Involvement). All items within a point must be verified to receive credit. The total points earned will determine the 3, 4, or 5 star rating awarded to the center.

Practice ERS Assessments/Scores – a practice ERS assessment can be requested by a child care center and is conducted by an ERS assessor contracted by DCFS. The classroom is chosen by a standardized random selection procedure. A center may choose to retain the practice score as the official score for the specific classroom assessed. If the center chooses to sue the score the score earned will be sued as part of the overall center score. Practice scores are good for a period of six months from the date of the assessment. Practice assessments can only be scheduled if all other quality verification requests in the region have been met.

Program – a component of Quality Start. At the two star level a center must make a certain number of activity areas available daily such as art and creative play, children’s books, blocks and block building, manipulatives, and family living and dramatic play; complete a self assessment of the center’s program; and develop an improvement plan. At least one point must be earned in Program for a center to be considered a three to five star rating.

Resource and Referral Agencies – Organizations contracted by the agency to provide specific services to families, child care providers, early childhood professionals and communities statewide. Examples of services include information and consumer education for parents about available child care services, training and other technical assistance to child care providers.

Quality Point - in addition to points in Program and Staff Qualifications, one Quality Point can be earned by meeting additional requirements in both the Administration Practices and Family/Community Involvement areas.

Quality Rating Verification Process - conducted by the Quality Improvement Unit to determine a center’s eligibility for a two to five star rating. Centers that have been licensed for six months and have achieved one star may apply for a higher star rating after receiving their one star award. Centers with more than one star may apply for a higher star rating six months after the date of their current rating award.

Quality Start Child Care Rating System – Louisiana’s voluntary quality rating system for child care designed assess levels of child care, quality, support improvements of child care centers, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs to parents and funders. Quality Start began awarding stars in November 2007.

Rating Review – Centers that have achieved a star rating may have their rating reviewed and modified if, at any time, it becomes known to DCFS or DCFS receives information or has actual knowledge that the child center no longer meets the standards for the center’s current star rating.

School Readiness Tax Credits (SRTC) - A package of tax credits designed to encourage higher quality child care. The SRTC’s include incentives for programs and businesses to participate in Quality Start, incentives for directors and teachers in child care programs who attain higher levels of education and training, and incentives for families with a child enrolled in a 2-5 star center participating in Quality Start.

Social Emotional Subscales of the Environment Rating Scales – a subscale of the ECERS-R and ITERS-R generated by the scores earned on the Language –Reasoning, Interaction and Program Structure subscales of the ECERS-R and the Listening and Talking, Interaction and Program Structure subscales for the ITERS-R. This new subscale score will be used to determine the ERS score for Program Points 1-4.

Staff Qualifications – a component of Quality Start. At the two star level all directors and all teachers must enroll in and maintain a current record with Louisiana Pathways. At least one point must be earned in Staff Qualifications for a center to be considered for a three to five star rating.

Star Rating – the method used to rate a center based on five star levels. Star rating is valid for a period of two years from the date of the star rating award which is the first day of the month following the month in which the eligibility decision is made. The center must also have a Midpoint Review. The star rating must be earned biannually through the quality rating verification process.

Tiered Bonus Payments – bonus payments issued automatically by CAPS after the end of each calendar quarter to qualified Class A centers have earned at least a two star rating and that care for CCAP children of children in foster care in accordance with the star level ratings(s). for that quarter. The payment is equal to a percentage of all CCAP payments made to the licensed Class A center for services provided during the service period. The service period refers to the three months within the calendar quarter for which a child received care.

Verification Visit – a scheduled onsite visit conducted by the DCFS Child Care Quality Start Specialist when a child care center has applied for a rating of two to five stars, at Midpoint Review, or renewal to review and verify documentation and information for the purpose of determining the centers eligibility or continued eligibility for a two to five star rating.

Waiver – The Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services, in specific instances, may waive compliance with a requirement if it is determine that the economic or adverse impact is sufficiently great to make compliance impractical, as long as the health and well-being of the staff and/or children are not imperiled. If it is determined that the facility or individual is meeting or exceeding the intent of a requirement, the requirement may be deemed met. The decision to grant or deny a waiver rests with the sole discretion of the Secretary.

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