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What It Is

Studies show that children who attend programs with high-quality early learning environments have better math, language and social skills.  Kentucky All STARS is Kentucky's expanded five-star quality rating and improvement system for type I, type II and certified family child care homes.

All STARS level one is achieved by meeting regulatory requirements. STARS level two is achieved by completing a set of required domains and standards. STARS levels three through five feature a range of points providers must meet in order to move up on the rating scale. While there are required domains for these three STARS levels, program can choose from a menu of standards to fulfill the requirements. To receive a level 3 rating or higher, programs also must participate in an environmental observation visit by a Cabinet-approved rater. More information on the requirements for each All STARS level can be found below.

The unified All STARS system serves all early care and education programs including child care centers, Head Start and public preschool. Quality ratings for all type I, type II and certified family child care homes are administered by the Division of Child Care of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

All STARS providers are encouraged to review the administrative regulation 922 KAR 2:270 for guidance and understanding of the operational policies and procedures governing the All STAR program.

Families seeking All STARS rated providers can view quality ratings and additional details such as physical address, ages served and subsidy acceptance in the Benefind Child Care Provider Search.

Parent Information

What does a Kentucky All STARS rating mean for your child?

STAR rated centers and family child care homes are showing their commitment to quality by participating in Kentucky All STARS.

  • Kentucky All STARS domains and standards are based on quality indicators: Family & Community Engagement, Classroom & Instructional Quality, Staff Qualifications & Professional Development, and Administrative & Leadership Practices.
  • Any provider participating at a Level 3 or higher has completed an evaluation of the program using a nationally standardized tool, the Environmental Rating Scale (ERS). (by Harms, Cryer and Clifford)
  • All STARS providers have access to technical assistance coaches who provide guidance in the areas of health & safety, quality improvement, professional development, and training.

 What difference does quality make?

  • Better parent-child relationships
  • Greater thinking skills
  • Better attention skills
  • Enhanced academic performance
  • Better relationship with peers
  • Greater chance for finishing school and attending college

What's in a STAR?

All participants in Kentucky All STARS meet specific indicators of quality. Below are the requirements for each STARS level.

All STARS Quality Ratings for all active Licensed Type I & II child care programs and Certified Family Child Care Homes can be found in the Benefind Child Care Provider Search

All STARS Levels

All STARS Level 1

All child care providers with a regular or preliminary license in good standing are automatically enrolled at a Level 1.  Programs with a preliminary license must remain at a Level 1.

All STARS Level 2

The following standards are required for Level 2 providers:

  • 50% of teaching staff have professional learning activities in developmental screening.
  • Complete an environmental self-assessment using a valid and reliable tool appropriate for ages/settings of children served.
  • Program/site administrator /director receives 10 hours of professional learning in curriculum, instructional practices, and/or teaching and learning OR has an approved early childhood credential or degree.
  • 50% of teaching staff receives 10 hours of professional learning in curriculum, instructional practices, and/or teaching and learning OR have an approved early childhood credential or degree.

No additional points are required for a Level 2 rating.

All STARS Level 3

The following standards are required for Level 3 providers:

  • All required standards as outlined for Level 2
  • Participate in an environmental observation on a valid and reliable tool. No minimum required score.

In addition to the required standards, providers can select from the Standards of Quality  to compile 21-30 points to complete the Level 3 Quality Rating:

  • 8 points from Classroom and Instructional Quality
  • 2 points from Family and Community Engagement
  • 2 points from Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
  • 2 points from Administrative and Leadership Practices
  • At least 7 points from any domain

All STARS Level 4

The following standards are required for Level 4 providers:

  • All required standards as outlined for Level 2
  • Participate in an environmental observation on a valid and reliable tool. Must have a minimum score of 4.0 in all rated classrooms.

In addition to the required standards, providers can select from the Standards of Quality to compile 31-40 points required to complete the Level 4 Quality Rating:

  • 8 points from Classroom and Instructional Quality
  • 2 points from Family and Community Engagement
  • 2 points from Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
  • 2 points from Administrative and Leadership Practices
  • At least 17 points from any domain

All STARS Level 5

The following standards are required for Level 5 providers:

  • All required standards as outlined for Level 2
  • Participate in an environmental observation on a valid an reliable tool. Must have a minimum score of 5.0 in all rated classrooms.

In addition to the required standards, providers can select from the Standards of Quality to compile 41-50 points required to complete the Level 5 Quality Rating:

  • 8 points from Classroom and Instructional Quality
  • 2 points from Family and Community Engagement
  • 2 points from Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
  • 2 points from Administrative and Leadership Practices
  • At least 27 points from any domain

Level 5 providers are considered Highest Quality. They are eligible for initial, annual, and subsidy enrollment monetary incentives while funding is available.

If you have questions about Kentucky All STARS, please contact the Division of Child Care at kyallstars@ky.gov or call (844) 209-2657.

Documentation