Star Rating System & Your Child

The Revised Star Rated License, from (in part) http://ncchildcare.nc.gov/parents/pr_sn2_ov_sr.asp

In 1999, the Division of Child Development (DCD) began issuing star rated licenses to all eligible child care centers and family child care homes. (Note: Religious-sponsored child care programs continue to operate with a Notice of Compliance and will not receive a star rating unless they choose to apply.)

Facilities can receive one to five stars. A rating of one star means that a child care program meets North Carolina’s minimum licensing standards for child care.

Programs that choose to voluntarily meet higher standards can apply for a two to five star license. The star rating was initially comprised of a facility’s scores in three quality components:

  1. Staff Education
  2. Program Standards
  3. Compliance History

In 2005, the way facilities are evaluated was changed in order to give parents better information about a program’s quality. The new rules make a 75% “compliance history” a minimum standard for any licensed facility. Because it is now a minimum requirement, all programs earn their star rating based only on the two components that give parents the best indication of quality:

  1. Staff education
  2. Program Standards

In addition, under the two-component license, programs can earn a “quality points” for enhanced standards in staff education and program standards.

Why a Star Rated License?

North Carolina’s earliest licensing system didn’t offer enough information to parents about the quality of care their program was providing so North Carolina moved to the star-rated license system. For example, under the previous system, a center that received an “A license” was meeting only minimum requirements, but parents may have thought this was the highest rating. To minimize confusion and to maximize understanding, a five star licensing system was developed because this type of rating system is typical for many products and services.

An additional benefit of the star-rated license system is that it recognizes providers for the higher quality care that they provide.

Lastly, the star-rated license acts as a roadmap for providers to follow as they strive to improve the quality of their care.

Here is an overview of the North Carolina Star Rated License System for families:

For more information on the North Carolina Star Rating System, click here.