The Quality Counts Network was designed to support center-based programs and their staff to achieve program quality improvement. Quality Counts staff and coaches provide an array of comprehensive support services to assist programs through quality "phases" that will result in children being educated and cared for in increasingly higher quality learning environments.
The Quality Counts Program is delivered in three components: Gateway to Quality, Steps to Quality and Mark of Quality. Programs enrolled benefit from professional support & financial incentives such as Leadership and Staff Development training opportunities; external assessment, consultation &validation; individualized improvement plans and mini grants to support implementation; and technical assistance & support with NAEYC Accreditation application and candidacy.
The Quality Counts Network is the direct result of a Program Quality Improvement Initiative supported by First 5 Santa Barbara County and the Orfalea Foundations. First 5 Santa Barbara also provides funding for the Family Childcare Steps to Quality Network which is administrated by Children's Resource & Referral of Santa Barbara County. Community Partners such as the Child Care Planning Council of Santa Barbara County and Pacific Coast AEYC also provide advocacy and support for Quality Child Care and Program Quality Improvement.
In California, 62 percent of children under 5 years of age spend at least part of their day in the care of someone other than their parents. Research shows that children in high quality care environments show more advanced language skills, do better in school and have fewer behavior problems and better social skills. 1
1 First 5 California, www.ccfc.ca.gov