Throughout the country, states have developed and implemented Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) in response to research which has proven that young children experience positive life-long effects when exposed to excellence in early childhood. Systems of accountability have been instrumental in maximizing the use of state resources in order to prepare children for success in school and life, evidenced by greater school outcomes, less remediation, higher graduation and job placement rates, and reduced crime rates. The federal government has acknowledged the role that quality rating and improvement systems make, and it stands ready to invest in states that demonstrate an ability to implement these approaches.

In January 2010, New York State embarked on a field test of its QRIS - QUALITYstarsNY. In the initial phase, approximately 200 programs from 13 communities across the state participated in a field test. There were eight participating centers in the Buffalo community.  The field test data is being analyzed and the next bridge phase of the project has been developed.

The WNY Women's Fund has awarded a $35,000 grant for the bridge phase to support the current eight local centers in the program as well as to provide capacity for eight new centers. The grant will continue and expand the work of the field test.

The funds will support local centers but will be leveraged by public funds, private funds and in-kind contributions of more than $900,000.

To learn more about QUALITYstarsNY visit http://www.qualitystarsny.org/