Logo for Quality Counts California: Children standing in front of a sun


    Quality Counts California – Raising the Quality of Early Learning and Care

    Quality Counts California is a statewide system of locally-implemented quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS), which helps to connect parents and families to high quality early learning and care programs, and ensures that infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children have quality early learning experiences in their local communities. Quality Counts California also provides resources and support to early learning and care providers so they can create nourishing and effective early learning and care programs that will help children to grow and thrive.


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    Quality Counts California is a statewide quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) that supports local and regional agencies in their support of early learning and care providers. Quality Counts California helps these agencies improve the quality of early learning and care programs and inform parents and families on what different quality levels mean for the child.

    Quality Counts California is a collaborative effort

    Quality Counts California is a collaboration between First 5 California and the California Department of Education, Early Education and Support Division, and is implemented at the county or regional level through locally tailored and operated QRISs. Using a common set of early learning and care program standards and general guidance developed collaboratively through a state and local partnership, each QRIS assesses and rates voluntary participating programs in its own geographic area.

    What are the quality ratings?

    The ratings are based on how well the programs meet the five-tiered set of program standards, which cover three core areas:

    • Child Development and School Readiness
    • Teachers and Teaching
    • Program and Environment

    Quality ratings help parents choose child care and help providers sustain quality

    QRIS ratings can help parents choose the best early learning and care program for their child. At the same time, a QRIS rating helps programs identify areas for potential quality improvement and provide incentives and supports to help programs sustain quality and success.

    Local QRISs provide support and resources to parents and providers

    Local QRISs across California are in various stages of development, with some established more than a decade ago and others more recently underway. As a result, the needs of individual QRISs are likely to vary. Thus, this site offers a range of resources, some of which will be more useful than others to individual programs. Marin Quality Counts is our local QRIS and has been in operation since 2015.