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Newly Approved Legislation Greatly Increases Number of Evaluations of Child Care Facilities

Flickr user Jerome Hawkins
Creative Commons

Legislation approved in the now completed 2015 Kentucky General Assembly means a major increase in the number of early child care facilities that are evaluated. Additional reviews will come over the next few years.The 'Star' rating system, one of the first of its kind in the country, has been in place in Kentucky for almost 15 years.

The number of early child care facilities evaluated is expected to almost triple from 1,000 to 3,000. Terry Tolan is director of the Governor's Office of Early Childhood.

"We've done a lot of work in the last few years to encourage more eligible programs to participate in the rating system and there has been a surge in voluntary participations," said Tolan. 

Added to the list of rated child care facilities are head start and public pre-school programs. Tolan says the rating system focuses on assessing learning and teaching techniques.

"We're working with the Department of Education and the Division of Child Care to make sure that quality is quality, no matter whether it's delivered in the school building or whether it's delivered in a community center or church," added Tolan. 

Tolan says the Star review has always been about learning strategies and not facility standards.

"Safety issues are really in the realm of licensing, so it is the job of licensers to make sure that children are in safe and healthy environments," said Tolan. The quality rating system is really about quality learning and teaching," explained Tolan.

Tolan says the vast majority, about 2,200 star rated facilities, are licensed day care programs.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.