We Strengthen Early Education to Support Children
Quality Counts California (QCC) is a statewide effort to support young children and their families by strengthening California’s early learning and care system.
To do this, QCC:
- Supports a statewide system of locally implemented Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs)
- Educates families about the importance of quality early learning and helps them identify quality early learning and care environments (i.e., family child care home or child care center)
- Provides access to tools and resources for quality partners like QRIS administrators, coaches, trainers, and higher education faculty
QCC focuses on quality early learning experiences because those experiences build the foundation for skills children need in school, work, and life. (Reference: Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child).
Early Childhood Education Matters: Merced County Preschools Earn Top Marks
Because of how the brain develops between zero and five, it’s like the window of opportunity. The sooner that you receive intervention, the better. We like to say in our program, when children attend preschool, we’re putting them on the road to success.
QCC Collaboration and Funding
A graphic shows three boxes all with arrows pointing up to a fourth box at the top that is labeled “Quality Counts California.” The box at the top shows the Quality Counts California logo: the words “Quality Counts California” and a picture of five young children, standing in a line and holding hands, with a bright sun shining behind them. The first box at the bottom shows three logos and is titled “State”. The First 5 California logo has a picture of a hand and the words “First 5 California.” The next logo is the seal of the Department of Education for the state of California. The last logo is the California Department of Social Services. This logo has a side profile of 3 faces.The second box is called “Regional” with a map of California color-coded into the different regions, and a blue circle behind it. The third box is called “Local” with blue shapes of California’s counties zoomed in.
QCC is a collaboration between First 5 California, the California Department of Education, and the California Department of Social Services.
Collaborative state and local efforts, including early learning and care workforce, families of young children, advocates, and agencies, to improve the quality of early learning and care programs for California’s children have been underway for many years.
As of July 1, 2021, California’s QCC is a collaboration between three state agencies: First 5 California, the California Department of Education and the Department of Social Services. The multiple funding streams provided by the agencies support the continuous quality improvement of all early education throughout the state.
California’s QRIS Block Grant and First 5 investments provide QCC the opportunity to serve a full spectrum of early learning programs, expand the reach of the QRIS, and effectively increase early education quality throughout the state.
Federal grant funding expired, so leaders from across California took the initiative to consolidate these efforts into QCC, with funding from the California Department of Education’s QRIS Block Grants and First 5 California’s IMPACT (Improve and Maximize Programs so All Children Thrive) initiative.
California secured a federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant, which provided funding to develop a statewide, locally driven QRIS.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Policymakers about QCC and QRISs