Colorado Shines 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 Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) that is embeded in state child care licensing and builds upon these best practices.


Colorado Shines 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. 


Colorado Shines 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. 


Colorado Shines 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.


Colorado Shines QRIS WILL NOT:

  • Threaten the licensing of those facilities already licensed; or

  • Require providers to adjust their educational philosophy.

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

Colorado Shines QRIS Implementation and Next Steps

Colorado has recently contracted with Qualistar Colorado to assist in the rating process, through an open and competitive bid process. Qualistar Colorado will work directly with the Department of Human Services staff to launch the Colorado Shines QRIS.


Implementation is slated for a Fall 2014 launch, please see our timeline for more details on our phased approach. 


For More Information, Please Contact

Karen Enboden

Child Care QRIS Manager


Data Use

Information about Data Use