Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
County Program Profile: Alameda
Time Period: 2018–2019
QRIS :: Quality Counts
Alameda County’s QRIS, Quality Counts, seeks to be a single point of entry for early care and education programs seeking support to improve quality. Quality Counts aspires to integrate a variety of quality improvement programs and funding streams into a seamless quality support system for the full range of licensed early childhood education programs inclusive of family child care, centers receiving state subsidy, school districts, Early Head Start and Head Start, and private programs. Quality Counts also provides quality support to family, friend, and neighbor caregivers through training opportunities at AP agencies. As of July 2017, 218 licensed early childhood education programs are participating in Quality Counts, 180 of which have current ratings. More than 90 percent of our state preschools, Early Head Start programs, and Head Start programs are participating.
Participating sites may utilize a robust menu of quality improvement supports driven by individualized Quality Improvement Plans. These supports range from support at community colleges to professional development such as CSEFEL and DRDP training, to site-based coaching, mental health consultation, business and fiscal consultation, and consultation to implement universal screening.
Participating programs receive quality improvement awards to support implementation of Quality Improvement Plans and stipends for teachers who complete 21 hours of professional development, and those programs with high-quality ratings receive quality rewards meant to sustain high-quality practices. In addition, rating programs receive marketing materials, and comprehensive rating reports are available to consumers at www.alamedakids.org.
County Contact Information
- CSPP Block Grant
- Infant Toddler Block Grant
- First 5 IMPACT
- Local First 5
- BANANAS – 4C’s
- Jewish Family and Children’s Services
- Alameda County Early Care and Education Program
- First 5 Alameda County
- Alameda County Office of Education
Process to Outreach/Onboard Programs and Providers
We utilize child care voucher data and other neighborhood statistics to help identify providers who serve a high proportion of high-need children and who are ready to take on the activities required by the QRIS. We have not had sufficient funding to do a great deal of outreach, so we have focused on including programs that are required to be part of QRIS and new sites at programs we already serve. We provide a comprehensive orientation to the program or site and assign them a coach to support the process. Participating programs and providers sign an MOU and provide liability insurance.
Quality Improvement Program Support Strategies
Coaches are housed at First 5 Alameda and the three local resource and referral agencies. Coaching is tailored to each program through both specialty coaches, who provide coaching in specific topics such as developmental screening practices, and general coaches, who focus on supporting the Quality Improvement Plan. We train and supervise all coaches similarly throughout the agencies and hold monthly meetings to support additional training, integration, and problem solving. We run a county-wide Professional Development Workgroup that includes representatives from all training agencies. Together they identify training needs based on Quality Improvement Plans and develop a yearly training calendar that is responsive to topics of interest, geographical variety, and language needs across our diverse county. We are committed to offering a variety of learning opportunities, including traditional workshops, learning communities, and conferences, as well as play groups for family, friend, and neighbor and family child care providers and training-of-trainer experiences that increase our internal capacity and reach.
Local Approach to Offering Financial Incentives and Stipends
Our consortium believes strongly in providing incentives and stipends to both sites and providers, as participation in QRIS can be extremely time consuming and requires considerable investment from teachers and administrators alike. We offer professional development stipends to providers who complete 21 hours of professional development through both AB 212 and local funding sources. Friend, family, and neighbor and family child care providers are eligible for tiered stipends after completing 7, 14, or 21 hours of professional development activities, including attending play groups and storytimes at local libraries. Grants for sites that achieve Tiers 4 or 5 comprise the bulk of California State Preschool Program (CSPP) funding, but some funds remain available to developing sites (Tiers 1–3). We have used other funding sources to reward non-CSPP–eligible sites for participation in QRIS, tier increases, and/or maintenance.
How Children Are Served by QCC
Children Served by Setting
Overall Child Characteristics and Services Provided
Children’s Races and Ethnicities
QCC Tier Rating Distribution
Language Spoken with Children
Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) Goals
I have a wonderful experience each time [I attend] the FCC LC meeting. I love the opportunities that I can connect with my coach … and other experienced FCC providers. I feel it is a wonderful way that I have been supported. Without the LC meeting, most likely I would not study the materials or have [the] chance to learn from each other, because I am so busy every day.Family Child Care Learning Community Participant
A Family Child Care Learning Community Participant shared: I love the idea of visiting other provider[s’] home[s]. It was a wonderful and inspiring experience when I visited [a fellow FCC’s] house. I love to see the actual FCC home environment and teaching materials. It is a great opportunity to ask questions, and get ideas and help. It is also very powerful to connect [with] one … another.
A Title 22 Center Director shared: As a teacher, [coaching] empowered me because it guided me and allowed me to make changes … Now, as Center Director, I am glad that [coaches] are able to support the teachers to do the same … I feel as Center Director seeing how you coach and how much it helped me, I really want to help the teachers … I see them a lot more open to learning new things and going to a lot more trainings.