The Center for Research on Children and Families (CFRC) recently received five separate 5-star Quality Assessment and Improvement System (QRIS) reviews at each of its facilities. The Child and Family Research Center (CFRC) offers premium child care programs for college students and faculty, as well as an Early Head Start program for eligible families in the northern Nevada area. In addition, the CRFC is a cutting-edge research center, serving as an important platform for researchers housed within the College of Education and Human Development.
Nevada’s Quality Assessment and Improvement System uses a unique set of criteria that serve as a universal benchmark for all child care centers in the state. 5-star ratings are incredibly exclusive, with only 12 5-star ratings existing statewide, meaning the five CFRC locations account for nearly 50% of all 5-star facilities in Nevada.
Nevada’s QRIS states that a rating as low as 3 stars would be considered to meet high quality standards. A 5 star rating far exceeds high quality basic child care. To achieve this rating, QRIS requires many criteria that measure the quality of the daycare itself and additional factors outside of what is happening in the classroom. For example, criteria include adherence to the appropriate staff-to-child ratios in each classroom, a very high score on observational assessments, enrollment in the Nevada Registry and Child Care Subsidy program, and the principal of the facility receiving an award. specific minimum score on the Nevada Registry Early Childhood Career Ladder.
CRFC Director Sherry Waugh credits the child care professionals working at the Center as the main component of what sets the CRFC apart from other child care centers. The staff of the CRFC consists of university students who serve as class assistants and experienced practitioners who have been at the Center for three decades or more. The CFRC also serves as a site for students of the College of Education and Human Development to observe young children and gain hands-on service-learning experience through internships and internships. Waugh said daycare teachers in the industry don’t get paid much and are rarely offered any benefits. Meanwhile, the CRFC pays above the industry average, supports faculty taking college courses, and offers full benefits to full-time employees.
“We are always looking for high quality staff,” said Waugh. “We found that we need to see a good fit between this person and the program. The provisions are important to start with and we want people who want to be here. “
Another feather in the hat of the CRFC is its national accreditation, the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, which is another requirement to achieve a 5-star QRIS rating. The accreditation process is separate from the process of obtaining a QRIS assessment and is a nationally recognized indicator of high quality child care. However, national accreditation is binary: an establishment is either accredited at the national level or it is not. The QRIS system uses different levels of scoring to show different levels of quality within different facilities, providing a stable benchmark for the entire state of Nevada.
“As a director, the 5-star ratings were being validated,” Waugh said. “It has shown that our caregivers and teachers are doing their jobs well. The education of young children is of crucial importance. We have learned this even more during this pandemic and it can set the tone for a child’s entire life. “