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Indiana’s QRIS Includes Indicators Specific to Infants and Toddlers




Child Care, Quality Improvement, Regulation & Standards

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ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates




Improving the quality of care for infants and toddlers is an intentional goal of Indiana’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). Paths to QUALITY differentiates the needs of infants and toddlers from older children by identifying specific requirements that must be met when caring for them. Infant-toddler indicators related to continuity of care, provider-child interactions, materials, daily schedules, and fostering language and literacy are included throughout the four-tier system.

The levels of Paths to QUALITY move providers from basic licensure or voluntary registration (level one) to national accreditation (level four). Levels two and three are aligned with the state’s early learning guidelines and focus on environmental supports to children’s learning and a planned curriculum that guides children’s development and school readiness. Some of the infant-toddler specific indicators at these levels include: infants are held and comforted when crying, caregivers engage in many one-to-one face-to-face interactions with infants and toddlers, individual napping schedules are respected, caregivers respond to sounds/speech of infants and toddlers, books are available for toddlers to explore on their own, and toddlers are offered opportunities for writing experiences each day.

Licensed child care homes, licensed child care centers, and unlicensed registered child care ministries are eligible to participate in Paths to QUALITY. The program is voluntary, and providers must choose to enroll to receive a rating. Providers that enter the program have the option of working with a mentor from their local resource and referral agency to achieve levels two and three. Those that want to pursue national accreditation for level four are eligible for financial support and additional technical assistance. Providers must meet all of the requirements for the previous level (including those specific to infants and toddlers if applicable) in order to advance to the next.

Paths to QUALITY began as a local initiative in the 1990s. It was implemented statewide in 2008 after an evaluation showed that participating providers made significant quality improvements over a three-year period. As of September 2013, there are 2,364 providers participating, 769 whom were at levels three or four. Purdue University released an evaluation of Paths to QUALITY in September 2011. A separate Baby Matters entry details the findings of the report:'&union=AND&viewby=50&startrec=1&tbl_Public_InitiativeYMGHFREStateTerritoryTribe=IN&tbl_Public_InitiativeYMGHFREDescription=&top_parent=164.

For more information about Indiana’s Paths to QUALITY please visit

Updated October 2013.


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