Quality First, Arizona’s Quality Rating and Improvement System
Child Care, Quality Improvement, Quality Rating Systems
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ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
In June 2011, Arizona rolled out its quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), Quality First, as part of its commitment to an interconnected early learning system. Quality First is a voluntary rating system that assesses child care centers and home-based providers on safety, environment, curriculum, credentialing, and teaching style. The program is carried out by First Things First, a state government initiative for early childhood development and services. After the initial evaluation, coaches work with providers on a plan to improve the quality of their services. By participating in Quality First, child care providers may access funds for equipment, environmental improvements, and teacher training. In addition, providers, based on their star rating, are assigned a certain number of student scholarships intended for low-income families with the goal of raising standards while closing the achievement gap. For fiscal year 2013, 14,121 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers have received scholarships to access early education. This is a substantial increase from fiscal year 2012, in which only 8,972 children received student scholarships.