Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
County Program Profile: Tuolumne
Time Period: 2018–2019
QRIS :: Quality Counts Tuolumne County
Tuolumne County’s voluntary Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), Quality Counts, serves programs in the county of Tuolumne and is administered by First 5 Tuolumne. Since July 2015, 22 QRIS/Quality Improvement System (QIS) sites have received support to improve quality, and 7 of these have been rated. Quality Counts Tuolumne County has five levels and measures several elements of program quality, including: (1) Child Development and School Readiness, (2) Teachers and Teaching, and (3) Program and Environment. Programs may be eligible to receive site stipends, training opportunities, coaching, and teacher stipends for professional development and progress toward a permit or child development degree.
County Contact Information
- Region 3 HUB Resources
- Infant Child Enrichment Services
- Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools
- Columbia College
Process to Outreach/Onboard Programs and Providers
The Quality Counts Coordinator does annual outreach to enroll all the sites that are rated (Head Start/California State Preschool Program, Early Head Start, State Preschools, Special Education PS), as well as to alternative sites (family resource centers and home visiting programs). We have full participation at this time. First 5 Tuolumne has a contract with our resource and referral agency to do outreach and program coordination with licensed private preschools, license-exempt preschools, and family child care homes. Every one of these sites is contacted in the beginning of the year with a letter explaining the program, and then calls are made for follow-up to the providers who serve primarily age birth to 5. Most sites that have signed up return each year. Some sites drop for a year, then return. We work hard to make the options feasible for sites to participate. At this point, we are only working with licensed or license-exempt sites but plan to expand this to family, friend, and neighbor providers for the next round of funding. We accept all applications up to the end of December of each year. We encourage late applicants to apply the next year.
Quality Improvement Program Support Strategies
We have one full-time coach, funded through local First 5 funds (Small County Augmentation Funds). Although the main focus of this contract is on assisting teachers in addressing social–emotional issues that are impacting classroom dynamics, the coach is also available for other QRIS-related coaching, including virtual coaching. The key staff person at the resource and referral agency, who is also the Child Care Initiative Project Coordinator, also serves as a coach for IMPACT, in terms of providing access to training opportunities. The coaches provide teachers with online resources for training. Most of the in-person training that teachers currently utilize is offered through the local community college (units), the resource and referral agency, other local entities, neighboring counties, or the Hub. Our Quality Counts program does not have the staffing resources to offer training events but will help support other entities when the training aligns with the QRIS Rating Matrix and when the target audience is early childhood education teachers.
Local Approach to Offering Financial Incentives and Stipends
We offer both site stipends and individual stipends. We have a seamless system for providers in providing these through four different funding sources (IMPACT, AB 212, CDE CSPP Block Grant, and CDE QRIS Block Grant). This has been very successful and has eliminated the inherent unfairness of the AB 212 stipend system available only to teachers at state-funded sites. The teachers do not know the funding source when they receive their stipend check.
Site stipends include Block Grants and Quality Improvement Stipends. Sites must have a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and show progress made at year end in order to earn the stipend. The QIP is specific to each site and reflects an area of QRIS focus that they want to work on that year. For a Head Start site it could be for all teachers to work toward permit requirements, while for a private child care center it could be a focus on health and safety or ASQ training and implementation for the majority of the staff.
Site stipend amounts (or Block Grants) are set at the beginning of the year, depending on the budget. The funds utilized for these are IMPACT and California Department of Education Block Grant funds. Teachers/staff who work at sites enrolled in IMPACT can also earn individual stipends. These can be earned for eligible college units, professional development (in person or online), or coaching hours/assignments outside of paid work time. Individual stipend amounts are set at the beginning of the year, depending on the budget. The funds utilized for these are IMPACT and AB 212. We have teachers input these hours (and certificates or transcripts) into iPinwheel, and they are approved by coaches, supervisors, or the Quality Counts Coordinator. Family child care providers only earn one stipend. The stipends have proven to be a major motivation for teachers to remain engaged in the Quality Counts program. We hope that IMPACT 2.0 funds will be available for stipends for individual teachers who are not AB 212 eligible, but whose sites are funded with public funds, such as Early Head Start teachers, or special education preschool teachers.