Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
County Program Profile: Tulare
Time Period: 2018–2019
QRIS :: Tulare County Early Stars
Tulare County’s Quality Rating and Improvement System is known as Tulare County Early Stars. The program is administered by the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) under the umbrella of the Early Childhood Education Program. Tulare County Early Stars receives funding from the California Department of Education and First 5 California.
In 2013, Tulare County participated as a mentee county of Fresno County’s Early Stars Program through funds received from the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge Grant (RTT-ELC). In 2015, Tulare County applied and received funding from the California Department of Education’s Quality Rating and Improvement System–California State Preschool Program (QRIS-CSPP) Block Grant. The purpose of this grant is to help raise the quality of California State Preschool Programs. Later that year, the Tulare County Office of Education applied and was awarded funding through First 5 California’s IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) Grant. The IMPACT Grant supports a variety of programs serving children 0–5. Additional funding was received from the California Department of Education to help support our earliest learners (infant and toddlers) as well as Migrant Programs.
The mission of Early Stars is to serve, advocate, train, and support early care and education programs. Tulare County Early Stars strives to create a lifelong path of learning and success in early care and education for our children and improve the future for all. Since 2014, a total of 46 early education programs and family child care homes have been rated and assessed in Tulare County. Furthermore, an additional 80 sites have participated in quality improvement efforts.
Tulare County offers three different steps of participation for our early care and education programs with the intention to help the program grow in three specific areas. We assess and rate programs, services, and locations by looking for specific factors and qualities, which include:
1. Child Development and School Readiness
2. Teachers and Teaching
3. Program and Environment
Sites that participate as a Step 1 are eligible for trainings and technical assistance and coaching. Sites that participate as a Step 2 are eligible for trainings, supplies, and coaching and technical support, and receive a site action plan to help guide coaching. Programs that participate as a Step 3 are eligible for all the above and may be eligible for a block grant if they receive a high-quality rating. We assign a rating of 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the highest quality. This makes it easy for parents to identify quality providers, while giving providers the opportunity to promote their programs with Early Stars validation. It also gives providers areas to improve and celebrate strengths, which will lead to a strengthening of the entire early care industry in Tulare County.
County Contact Information
- California Department of Education and First 5 California
- Tulare County Council on Child and Youth Development
- First 5 Tulare County
- Tulare County Resource and Referral
- State Migrant Family Child Care Network
- Fresno Pacific University
Process to Outreach/Onboard Programs and Providers
Outreach is conducted via the State Migrant Family Child Care Education Network, resource and referral agency, private center-based provider meetings, resource fairs, and standing relationships with state-subsidized contractors.
Quality Improvement Program Support Strategies
All sites receive a coach for coaching and technical support. The coach develops a Quality Improvement Plan based on baseline assessments in CLASS and ERS observations. All participating staff are offered professional development trainings (available in English and Spanish).
Local Approach to Offering Financial Incentives and Stipends
Early Stars provides reimbursement for continuing education and environmental materials (based on need from ERS scores). Sites also receive ASQ kits and ERS book, Pre-K foundation and frameworks, and, if rated 4 or 5 stars, a block grant.