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March 4, 2010

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More about the new daycare star rating standards.

February 26, 2010


“Quality Star Rating Systems for daycare”

When I first started into daycare, way back in 1982, my licensing agency was called “The Office for Children.”  They were the State of Massachusetts childcare licensers. Back then daycare was new and there were only a few regulations to get started.

  1. You needed to have experience with children. Babysitting and or/ being a mother was enough to qualify.
  2. I am not sure how much the fee was, but I’m thinking it was around 15.00.
  3. You needed 3 references.
  4. Be at least 18 years of age
  5.  Have a High School diploma or a GED.

It was so easy! Then as they always do, the State got more involved. They said they did it for the welfare of the children. We all agreed that the children in our care should be safe. After all, who wouldn’t want to make the health and safety of the children a priority? So more rules and regulations were formed. Of course the desk jockeys making the new regs have never had any real daycare experience. And they were NOT interested in our input. They created more bureaucracy, more revenue, and more justification of THEIR own work. Bigger government and bigger headaches for us. They also promised us more respect as professionals. Back then we were still referred to as babysitters.  They convinced us that more training would bring us more respect. So…we got CPR and First Aid Certified on our own time, and with our own money. We spent more money on trainings and weekend seminars and conferences. Some of us even earned our CDA’s in order to stop the hemorrhaging of our 2.9ers  into preschools. We did all this while the regulations became more complicated and idiotic! But again…they never asked us. We did all these things to stay in business. We never did it to increase our income. After all, daycare is a sticky floor job. It has no raises, bonuses, or promotions. The State regulates our income, by regulating the number of kids we can care for!

A year ago the “Office for Children” or as we called them the OFC renamed themselves. They are now called the EEC, which means Early Education and Care. Wow! I didn’t see that coming either!! They used to be concerned about the care and safety of the children. Now their main purpose is EDUCATION. Why the change? I’ll tell you why…it is because of the new rating system!

Now, after 30 years of ridiculous rules and regulations, the State of Massachusetts is in the process of implementing a new star rating system for in home providers. It is called “QRIS”

The new “Quality Rating and Improvement System” is designed to drive in home providers out of business and replace us with centers. Have you ever wondered why we are losing our 2.9er to preschools? Why do the parents think they need 2 years of preschool? What will happen to these preschools when they lose their 2.9ers to a public school system when they implement K-3 and K-4? That is where this system is headed. Who will care for the babies? Not us, especially if we have a low rating. The centers will be stealing our babies instead of our 2.9ers. They will have no choice. I know what you are thinking. There are parents who would never choose a center for their baby. They want the in-home loving, caring mommy provider. Right? Well, think about this. The mommy provider has a low rating because she doesn’t have an education. She is only a 2 star (if she works hard at getting one) or she is just a provider in compliance with a license in good standing. Do you consider the star rating of a hotel when you go on vacation? I do. I assume that the 2 star hotel is dirty or the food isn’t good. If you do choose a 2 star hotel, is it because the price is cheaper? Is it a bargain price? Do you think Parents will feel this way about 1 or 2 star rated daycare providers? Will they be looking for a bargain? Will it drive our prices down?

Massachusetts QRIS Standards are organized into 5 categories.

  1. Curriculum and learning
  2. Environment
  3. Workforce qualifications and Professional Development
  4. Leadership, Management and Administration
  5. Family Engagement

Several of the categories encompass sub categories. For example in Curriculum and Learning there are 5 sub categories.

1A. Curriculum

1B. Assessment

1C. Teacher Child Relationships and Interactions.

1D. Special Education.

1E. Serving Children with diverse Languages and Cultures.

The levels are built as a series of blocks. Therefore you must meet ALL the criteria in ALL of the catagories in Level 1 before you can apply to level 2 and so on!

Are you starting to see that is will be very difficult, expensive and time-consuming just to reach a 2 star level. And there is no promise of making any more money than we do now! I have boycotted the CDA certificate because after I completed all the courses (at my own expense, about 325..00), They wanted me to pay another 325.00 bucks to have someone come out and observe me. The observing part was fine with me, it was the additional 350.00 bucks that I objected to! What a scam! And after that, there are renewal fees! Maybe I’m too radical, but the CDA wasn’t going to help me earn a raise! And this whole rating system is designed to take more money out of our pockets and put it into the pockets of those who are making the rules and making us miserable! Our only defense is to expose them, and reveal the truth to parents. We need to educate them about this scam that is threatening us. Imagine that…us educating them! Now that is an oxymoron! 

What exactly do I need to do to become a level 2 (or a 2 star provider) Let’s say I am willing to give it a try. How hard can it be?

Let’s start with CURRICULUM and LEARNING.


Provider uses a written developmentally appropriate curriculum that is aligned with the “MA Guidelines for Preschool Learning and Experiences” and reflects the diversity of the children served.

This basically means that I have to use curriculum from an approved list or submission, and have it ready to be reviewed. It makes me wonder who is profiting from this curriculum that I am mandated to use. This is not as easy as it sounds. Follow the link to the MA EEC website that explains everything I need to do to comply with these standards. It is insane!

 Schedule includes specific times to read to children in a group or individually.

Piece of cake! I do this already. Bring it on, I can do this. Don’t be fooled…they are not all this simple!

 Materials are sufficient, in good condition, and reflect the language and culture of the children in the program.

Upon inspection I will need to provide evidence of using the Materials Checklist in NAFCC as my guide. Who is the NAFCC and why do I need to use THEIR materials? Hmmm? Maybe this is do-able. But I am still concerned about the cost of the materials. Here is a link to the NAFCC website. They are selling kits to help you in the accreditation process for 325.00! WOW!  You can fill out an online application for 35.00. Then, after you have passed all the requirements and have been approved, you get to pay 495.00 to join. But no worries, you can make the payment in two easy installments! This membership is good for 3 years and then you get to do this whole process over again! How cool is that?!   This does NOT seem so simple anymore!!  I can see now that they are out to make money off me.

 Use of the FCCERS-R as a self assessment with a written program improvement plan.  I’m beginning to realize that this is going to cost me some serious moulas. And take up a lot of my time. I am already putting in 55 hours a week. And without any monetary incentives, I’m not sure I want to do this. They are turning me into a preschool teacher! It was never my intention to become a preschool teacher.

Congratulations if you have made it this far and you are willing to forge ahead!  Let’s move on…



Provider completes a written progress report on children at the beginning, mid year and end of the year and share them with parents.  Now I have to meet with the parents 3 times a year on my own time and provide written documentation of the meetings.

I am responsible to record and provide proof of the Children’s files, and include documentation of the progress notes.  More of my free time and lots more paperwork!


I also have to provide evidence that I use the FCCERS-R as a self assessment tool with a written program improvement plan. This means that I have to be observed by an approved outside observer and document the report.  Really??! More paperwork? Are you serious? Plus, do you really think this will be accurate? I will be on my best behavior during observation. This is a total waste of my time and money. Umm..let me think about this..NO! I am not going to do this.  

Teacher Child Relationship and Interactions

Program has a written policy that addresses the importance of positive teacher child relationships and interactions that are shared with parents.  OMG…more paperwork! Has anyone considered the children in this plan?

I have to provide a review of my policies and training (more documentation) and my program has to use a self acessment tool such as the Arnett Scale to monitor the climate of the home and develop improvement plans. Follow this link to see what the Arnett Scale is.  The Arnett Scale is also recorded and measured by an outside source. After all, if we could rate ourselves, we would all do great!


Provider has participated in training on how to support positive relationships and interactions with children.     More training!  Are you worried about your future yet? I know I am!

I also have to provide evidence that I use the FCCERS-R as a self assessment tool with a written program improvement plan.   Again…another written assessment plan… WOW! I am beginning to think we are being treated like an employee who has written evaluations and revues. Like a big company would do. Except the big difference here is that when we do great on a review or evaluation, there is no reward for us. No raise! No promotion! Where is my incentive? This is only the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t get better from here.


Massachusetts New Quality Rating System for Daycare.

February 25, 2010

Why is the State of Massachusetts always “making changes and improvements” to our regs? I was so upset by the “QRIS” rating system in Massachusetts, that I decided to do some investigating. What I found out is even more upsetting. This is world-wide!! This is not only in Massachusetts…it’s everywhere! It originated in the UN and has been slowly introduced into the system. Sneaking its way in like an uninvited guest.

I have been an in-home daycare provider for 28 years now, and I didn’t see this coming. This new star rating system is designed to put us all out of business. And the only way we can fight it is by speaking out and spreading our own propaganda…which is actually the truth…and that is how we can overcome!  I have found a decline in home daycare in North Carolina and a rise in center based care since their new rating system has been implemented. This is only the beginning.

I have seen a trend in my daycare over the past few years. I am losing my 2.9ers to preschool. Parents in the Boston area think their kids need 2 years of preschool. Years ago I kept kids until they went to kindergarten. Not anymore! I am not smart enough to do that now. And when the new star rating system goes into effect, I will need a degree to have a great rating. Just to receive a 2 star rating will cost me far too much time and money! And I won’t increase my earning potential…I have to do this to try to stay in business! I will elaborate in future blogs just what I have to do to become a 2 star daycare. The best rating is a 4+ star rating, with a 5 star to be determined. If you were a parent looking for the best possible daycare, would you even consider interviewing a no star or even a 2 star provider?

I am considered a 1 star provider at the moment. That means I am a provider in good standing and in compliance with my licensing. In my next blog I will tell you exactly what I need to do to achieve a 2 star rating.  Thanks for following!


January 28, 2010

Times have changed, people have changed, as of this writing in Jan of
2010, the child care industry has gone though dramatic transformations
since I had started in the business 23 years ago. Now, instead of stay at home
moms providing child care to others, mothers to others as it were, medium to
big size business have seized the moment creating a new lucrative industry
that now can demand franchise ownerships with minimum investments of
up to 3 million dollars. So much for mothers to others.
Now that parents have more options to consider when choosing childcare, this is just one trend that has dramatically effected in-home
day care businesses across the country.

Not only has big business impacted childcare, but also State and Federal
Governments have regulated it to death, as they have done everything else
they take control of. The airways are filled with rhetoric, propaganda,
studies, and scientifically unproven facts that little children need a
structured Pre-K experience to better prepare them for education.
For about a decade now, this has been a contributing force that we
in-home day care providers are up against when dealing with parents and
the new perception of government mandates that they are succumbing to.
Many family day cares are just starting to feel the effects of the Childcare
Center based industry and new 2.9 Pre-K propaganda.
What is best for a toddler whose mommy can’t be at home with him?
Today’s childhood experience is very different from the way children of
the 60’s and 70’s generation were raised. Was it better then or is it better
now? That’s a very important question that every parent should consider
and research before making a childcare decision.
One thing’s for sure, this new generation of children being raised from infants to kindergarten in structured learning centers, has never had a
predecessor in history to have learned from. We are experimenting with a
whole generation of children and it will be several years before we know
what this social reengineering has brought upon our children.
What is most frightening is that the same leadership of government
educators that have done so poorly with our children’s education and
social engineering over the last 30 years, are the same ones tasked to
create curriculums for all stages of child development in structured
learning environments from infancy to pre-k. God forbid, but I think
it’s only a matter of time before all childcare facilities and licensed
home family day cares will be mandated to follow a socialized centered
curriculum and to report on each child’s progress. If the powers that be
wish to marginalize the early childhood socialization the family has been
responsible to render since the beginning of mankind, this would be a
great way to get it done.
Today, I believe the next best thing to the mommy being at home and
raising her own child is in home day care. I am convinced, it’s not the best
for the child, but, if you as a parent have no choice, it is the lesser of two
evils. With an in home day care, you have a long term loving relationship that
develops between the provider and your child from infancy to kindergarten. In most childcare centers and preschools, your child will most likely be raised by many underpaid childcare workers who are there today and
gone tomorrow. Children are cared for like stall fed calves that are just
merchandise to their owners, and just a job to their handlers.
This book is about the experiences of real in-home day care providers.
The good, the bad, and the ugly. Heartfelt honesty from day care providers
across this great and troubled nation.
If you really want to know what you face when starting up a day care,
or what others like you are going through, or what you as a parent should
know about what your day care provider thinks of you and your child,
then be prepared to be enlightened through the “Message Board”!