Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
County Program Profile: Contra Costa
Time Period: 2019–2020
QRIS :: Quality Child Care Matters
Quality Child Care Matters, Contra Costa County’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), supports and incentivizes child care providers to offer the best care possible. First 5 Contra Costa and the Contra Costa County Office of Education implement the program.
Participating early learning sites are rated on their level of quality every two years and receive training, one-on-one coaching, financial incentives, and support to raise their rating. Participants also benefit from programs that First 5 Contra Costa funds at the county’s three community colleges. These programs offer academic advising, tutoring, and textbook loans to early care providers earning associate degrees in child development or early childhood education.
The Contra Costa County Office of Education, funded by the Contra Costa Local Planning and Advisory Council for Early Care and Education (LPC), supports the system through:
- child development permit processing,
- professional growth advising,
- technical assistance and consultation for directors of public centers, and
- reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs for teachers at participating state preschool programs for tuition fees, professional development registration costs, books and educational material costs related to early childhood education, and/or child development courses.
Since 2014, more than 125 sites have been rated and/or received support to improve quality. Quality Matters has three levels of quality and measures: (1) Child Development and School Readiness, (2) Teachers and Teaching, and (3) Program and Environment. Of the 83 programs that have been re-rated, 84 percent achieved the highest ratings possible, and only two did not meet quality standards.
County Contact Information
- First 5 Contra Costa
- IMPACT First 5 California
- CSPP Block Grant
- Infant and Toddler QRIS Block grant
- AB 212
- Contra Costa, Diablo Valley, Los Medanos Community Colleges
Process to Outreach/Onboard Programs and Providers
Outreach and recruitment for upcoming Quality Matters programs take place between May and August; we prioritize private centers and family child care homes who serve low-income families and children. We partner with our resource and referral agency (CocoKids) to outreach and recruit new sites, and to provide information sessions to interested participants. Our coaching team plays a key role in this process as well. Once sites express interest to participate in Quality Matters, they receive an application packet. When the application process is completed, sites are assigned a quality improvement coach. Assessments and ratings happen between six and nine months after programs apply to Quality Matters.
Quality Improvement Program Support Strategies
Coaching dosage for QRIS sites is determined by site tiers, program type, and individual needs as follows:
- New programs—Minimum of two on-site coaching visits monthly.
- Title V sites at Tiers 4 and 5—Consultation via email, phone calls, and/or group meetings to support the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) completion, rating visits, and linkages to professional development resources. In case of extenuating situations, such as significant staff changes and/or change of leadership, then coaching visits may be required.
- Private centers (Title 22) and family child care homes at Tiers 4 and 5, and newly rated sites at Tier 4 (regardless of program type)—Once a month or bi-monthly (every other month) on-site coaching visits depending on programs’ needs.
- Sites at Tiers 2 and 3—One to two on-site coaching visits per month.
Quality Improvement System (QIS) sites will be assigned a Quality Improvement Navigator (QIN) and are required to participate in communities of practice (CoPs). The QIN will provide technical assistance to sites to support them on the development of the site’s QIP, provide professional development training resources, and provide linkages to county-wide general resources. The goal for QIS sites is to become a QRIS within one year of participation in Quality Matters. First 5 Contra Costa, Contra Costa County Office of Education, and CocoKids collaborate to offer a wide array of professional development opportunities for Quality Matters providers. Training offerings and descriptions are available at www.plan4kids.org.
Local Approach to Offering Financial Incentives and Stipends
Finance incentives to Quality Matters providers are calculated based on their tier rating. In Contra Costa, we leverage funds to ensure that we implement an equitable QRIS for state-funded, public sector, and Title 22 programs. Quality Matters participants have priority in participating in our local Professional Development Program (PDP), which constitutes a partnership between AB 212 and Local First 5 Contra Costa funds. The goal of the program is to incentivize workforce degree attainment. The Quality Child Care Matters link (http://www.qualitychildcarematters.org/providers/) includes a rubric for calculation of grant disbursements for Quality Matters programs, as well as financial incentives for PDP participants.
How Children Are Served by QCC
Children Served by Setting
Overall Child Characteristics and Services Provided
Children’s Races and Ethnicities
QCC Tier Rating Distribution
Language Spoken with Children
Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) Goals
QRIS has changed our child care program completely.Large Family Child Care Home Owner
An Owner of a Large Family Child Care Home shared: If I had to summarize what has been the most significant change, I would say the environment and curriculum are much more appropriate to the children’s specific developmental needs. It has made me more aware of developmentally appropriate practices and setup to meet all their needs. The program has helped the children we teach by allowing us to have an environment that allows them to experience, explore, and create while having fun and learning at the same time. It has helped my professional development because even though I have taken many ECHD classes it is very different to have an actual coach come and personalize all the things you learn in a classroom and help you put them into practice in your school. I would tell new potential families that QRIS is a very difficult program to participate in the first time around; however, it is totally worth it in the long run. It has great marketing potential, in that families love to hear that you participated in a voluntary training from the state because you want to offer better care.
Learn more from the videos below.