What is a QRIS?


Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) is a systematic approach to assess, improve and communicate the quality in early and school-age care and education programs. A QRIS awards quality ratings to early and school-age care and education programs that meet a set of defined program standards. By participating in the Pilot QRIS, early and school-age care providers embark on a path of continuous quality improvement. Even providers that have met the standards of the lowest QRIS levels have achieved a level of quality that is beyond the minimum requirements to operate.


How does it work?

Similar to rating systems for restaurants and hotels, QRIS awards quality ratings to early and school-age care and education programs that meet a set of defined program standards that include:

  • Health and Safety

  • Staffing and Professional Development

  • Child Growth and Development

  • Children with Disabilities

  • Family Partnership and Family Strengthening

  • Leadership and Management

In order to assess a provider’s ability to achieve each standard of quality, onsite observations will be conducted using the Environmental Rating Scale (ERS) Instruments. Reviewers will be looking to see how well providers measure on the indicators for each standard of quality, and from that evaluation issue the provider a QRIS-Star rating. The most successful providers will be those who not only demonstrate ability to meet quality standards, but also maintain and continuously quality.


Incentives will be given to providers based on what rating is received, however the process does not stop there. Feedback and resources will be available to assist providers in quality improvement efforts in the hopes that providers may continue to improve their star rating as well as overall quality of care.

Why Develop a QRIS?

QRIS is intended to improve the quality of early and school-age care and education programs through the alignment and coordination of systemwide initiatives. A QRIS will benefit the CNMI by offering several opportunities:

  • Increase quality of early care and education services by ensuring that programs provide an environment where children are safe, healthy, and happy and where learning happens in an environment that appropriately fosters development.

  • Increase parents’ understanding and demand for higher quality early care and education.

  • Increase program staff competencies through professional development opportunities, benchmarks, and rewards for a range of early care and education practitioners and providers.

  • Create a cross-sector framework that can link standards, technical assistance, monitoring, finance, and consumer engagement for programs in a range of settings, including family child care homes, child care centers, school-based programs, Head Start programs, early intervention, and others.

  • Develop a roadmap for aligning many pieces of the early care and education system, such as child care licensing, prekindergarten and Head Start program oversight, national program accreditation, early learning guidelines, subsidy administration, technical assistance, training, quality initiatives, professional development systems, and others and ultimately improving education opportunities for the children attending these programs.

  • Form a mindset not only for quality maintenance, but continuous quality improvement.



 For questions or to request more information please contact

Name I. Name,

DCCA-Child Care Development Fund at

Phone: 670-xxx-xxxx