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Child Development Resource Center

What is QRIS?

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The Quality Rating and Improvement System, QRIS, provides a national framework for building strong early care and education systems within each state. In Santa Cruz County, 65 early care and education sites are already participating—from small, family child care homes, to large California State Preschools and Head Start programs.


QRIS provides the training and coaching early educators need to expand their skills, improve classroom environments and build strong relationships with families. Using a 5 Tier Rating System, QRIS helps programs measure how well they're doing in meeting the social, emotional and cognitive needs of young children.


5 Tier Rating System


Image of teacher and child clapping hands QRIS uses a 5 Tier Rating system that is based on scientific research and best classroom practices QRIS makes sure every moment counts in the life of a young child.


  • Tiers 1 & 2 - Participating in Quality Efforts: Sites are licensed and in good standing, as well as meeting health and safety standards.
  • Tiers 3 & 4 - Achieving Quality Standards: Sites meet all the standards of Tiers 1 & 2, as well as meeting additional quality standards defined by the Quality Rating and Improvement System.
  • Tier 5 - Exceeding Quality Standards: Sites meet all the standards of Tiers 1-4, and are exceeding the quality standards defined by the Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Click here for the quality ratings of participating sites as measured between December 2013 & December 2015


What Does Quality Looks Like...


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    through the eyes of children?
  • You feel safe & accepted for who you are
  • It's a place to be with friends and caring adults
  • You get to do lots of fun, interesting activities

    through the eyes of families?
  • The program is easy to get to & affordable
  • Your family's culture and child's abilities are respected
  • Your child is happy and learning new things

    through the eyes of educators?
  • The program is thriving & committed to quality
  • The work environment is safe and well organized
  • You get a chance to earn better pay and benefits