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QUALITYstarsNY is a project of the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), whose mission is to provide strategic direction and advice to the State of New York on early childhood issues. By monitoring and guiding the implementation of a range of strategies including QUALITYstarsNY, the ECAC supports New York in building a comprehensive and sustainable early childhood system that will ensure success for all New York's youngest citizens.
The Quality Improvement Workgroup, a committee staffed by members of the ECAC and other professionals in the Early Childhood field, manages the development of policies and procedures –from establishing quality standards and aligning them with existing state accreditation systems, to determining methods for assessing QUALITYstarsNY's effectiveness.
The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (PDI) coordinates the many different administrative aspects of QUALITYstarsNY. PDI manages staff and subcontractors that contribute to the various project processes including assessment, rating and quality improvements. Meet our QUALITYstarsNY Administrative Team here.
Quality Improvement Specialists, highly experienced early childhood professionals who live around the state, work directly with the QUALITYstarsNY participants to help them achieve their quality improvement goals.
QUALITYstarsNY is funded with a combination of federal and private funds. Approximately 97% of the work to implement QUALITYstarsNY has been funded with federal dollars through the NYS Education Department (SED) and the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC). The remaining 3% of funding comes from private foundations, specifically The Rauch Foundation and the Western New York Women's Foundation, which supports the implementation of QUALITYstarsNY in their local communities.
Through its Federal Race to the Top grant, SED has allocated $4 million over three years to QUALITYstarsNY. The Early Childhood Advisory Council also allocated $535,000 of its federal grant to support QUALITYstarsNY. The federal funding for QUALITYstarsNY is time-limited: ECAC funding will expire in 2013 and SED funds will decline in 2013 and end in August 2014. Thus, New York's Quality Improvement Workgroup (QIWG) is working diligently to secure the state investment necessary to continue and to expand the reach of QUALITYstarsNY.
Exploration of a Quality Improvement System (QIS) in New York State began in March 2005. The New York State Child Care Coordinating Council, now known as the Early Care and Learning Council (ECLC), with support from several private foundations, convened a group of about 50 diverse stakeholders representing child care, Head Start, prekindergarten providers, professional associations, academics, researchers, business, advocates, state and local government, public education, and child care resource and referral agencies. The committee explored how other states had approached QIS and discussed the opportunities and challenges in developing a QIS in New York.
The committee met several more times in 2005 and 2006 to receive reports and plan next steps. The efforts of the Work Groups fed into the Design Group, which developed a proposal for the program standards and rating scale to be tested with parents, providers and policymakers. The Design Group brought together representatives of different sectors of early care and education with people who had considerable experience working to improve quality at the community level and those who were well-versed in research on quality and child outcomes. During 2007, focus groups were conducted in locations across the state with parents as well as child care center and family child care providers. The focus groups were used to inform small groups of parents and providers about the proposed QIS, to share the draft rating scale that had been developed by the Design Group and to obtain feedback from these critical stakeholders.
The Governor's Children's Cabinet Advisory Committee Subcommittee on Quality agreed in November 2007 that implementation of a QIS would be the focus of its work. The Design Group was reconvened and expanded in January 2008 and successful proposals to several private foundations provided financial support for its work along with in-kind support from the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).
A Field Test of the QUALITYstarsNY Standards was conducted in 2010, with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), under the auspices of OCFS and with funding from various private funders.
QUALITYstarsNY has been supported in the past by the Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), the New York City Council, the NYS Education Department and various private funders including the Rauch Foundation and the Western New York Women’s Foundation.