CHOOSE QUALITY CARE
The first five years of a child's life are critical learning years. 90% of a child's brain is developed by the age of 5. Positive and secure relationships between caregiver and child, including parents and child care providers are an important aspect to successful child development. Early learning experiences can have an effect on life-long successes.
QUALITY INDICATORS IN CHILD CARE
WHAT IS LICENSED CHILD CARE?
Licensed child care means that a child care provider is licensed or registered through the state of Montana's Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and has met all the health, safety, and program requirements. There are two types of licensed child care:
1. Licensed child care center
2. Registered family or group home child care
In both cases, the facility is required to be inspected by Child Care Licensing within the Early Childhood Services Bureau. Licensed child care centers are also required to be inspected by their county health department and fire marshal.
Unannounced inspections are conducted annually by Child Care Licensing for both types of licensed child care to ensure the facility continue to meet all requirements.
*EXCEPTION: Preschool Programs are not required to be licensed or registered in the state of Montana, but may still follow similar guidelines and provide a quality learning environment.
LICENSED OR REGISTERED BY THE STATE OF MONTANA
PARTICIPATES IN THE BEST BEGINNINGS STARS TO QUALITY PROGRAM
What is STARS to Quality?
Montana’s Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program builds upon the foundation of the state’s child care licensing requirements. STARS to Quality provides the opportunity for child care programs to demonstrate achievements that exceed licensing requirements.
Upon review and verification, programs are awarded a star rating from 1 to 5 (with 5 being the highest quality level). A program that is awarded a rating at any level, including becoming a participant, demonstrates a program’s commitment to continuous quality improvement. It is also referred to as a Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS).
Voluntary participation for licensed child care providers
Free STARS approved professional development
Free fingerprinting service for STAR 1 and above
5 star system with research based and national best practice standards
Professional coaching and consulting
Who benefits from STARS ?
All children and families in participating programs
Children with high needs
The Montana early childhood workforce