Next Generation Quality Rating and Improvement System

Colorado is committed to improving the quality of early learning for families and children. For the past 20 years, early childhood experts, community stakeholders and Department of Human Services’ staff have been developing strategies in Colorado which support and strengthen early learning programs. Colorado is intentionally focused on lifting the quality of early education programs for all children; in particular, Colorado will focus on ensuring high quaility programs for more Children with High Needs. Colorado will use the Grant funds to accelerate the development and implementation of an enhanced and expanded Next Generation Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that is embeded in state child care licensing and builds upon these best practices.


Colorado’s Next Generation QRIS is a method to assess, enhance and communicate the level of quality in early education and care for all licensed providers in Colorado. This system provides standardized criteria for all child care providers in Colorado to be rated for quality, and provides incentives and supports to providers that wish to raise the level of quality care available at their facility. 


The system is a blocks and points system.  Levels 1 and 2 are "building blocks" tiers with movement to the next level based on completion of identified activities and standards.  To reach Level 1, programs/providers will need to be in compliance with licensing standards.  To reach Level 2, programs/providers will show they have established other aspects of care and education to promote positive experiences.  To receive a Level 2 designation, all indicators within this level must be met.  Designations for Levels 3, 4, and 5 will be determined by cumulative points plus a minimum number of points in each of the standard areas. 


This Next Generation QRIS WILL:

  • Embed quality ratings in the licensing process, providing a method to assess, enhance and communicate quality as a cirtical component of licensed child care;

  • Incentivize providers to strive for higher quality ratings; and

  • Improve outcomes for all Colorado children by increasing access to quality education and care.


This Next Generation QRIS WILL NOT:

  • Threaten the licensing of those facilities already licensed; or

  • Require providers to adjust their educational philosophy.

QRIS Timeline Click Here QRIS Fact Sheet QRIS FAQs QRIS Levels Click Here QRIS Alternate Pathways QRIS Informational Webinar

Next Generation QRIS Implementation and Next Steps

Colorado is currently seeking a contractor to assist in the rating process, through an open and competitive bid process. This vendor will work directly with the Department of Human Services staff to launch the Next Generation QRIS.


Implementation will focus on a 4 phase approach.  This phased roll-out approach ensures quality, sustainability and substance.  The application for accreditation and a new draft of the design guide is slated for an April/May 2014 launch. 


For More Information, Please Contact

Karen Enboden

Child Care QRIS Manager


Data Use

Information about Data Use