MomTrusted on Parenting, Kids, and Early Education

Ohio Child Care Center Quality Rating System

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) has a voluntary Child Care Quality Rating System called Step Up To Quality. Licensed child care centers can opt-in to this program and achieve up to three stars when they work toward goals above and beyond the ODJFS child care licensing requirements.

According to ODJFS,

Step Up to Quality means:
- fewer children per classroom
- better trained teachers
- a more comprehensive early education experience for your child
- a focus on continuous improvement

One-Star Centers
Have these teacher/child ratios
- Infants 0-12 months – 1:5 or 2:10; 12-18 months – 1:6
- Toddlers 18-36 months – 1:7; 30-36 months – 1:8
- Preschoolers 36-48 months – 1:12; 48-60 months – 1:14
- School-Agers 5-15 years – 1:18
• Teachers and the administrator receive 10 hours of specialized training per year. This shows a commitment to expanding their knowledge and skills in order to support your child’s development and learning.
• Teachers are familiar with the Infant and Toddler Guidelines and Ohio’s Early Learning Content Standards. This
supports your child’s development and learning.
• The program provides at least one employee benefit to staff members. This means employees are valued, which in turn reduces staff turnover and provides continuity of care for your child.

Two-Star Centers
Have these teacher/child ratios
- Infants 0-12 months – 1:5; 12-18 months – 1:6
- Toddlers 18-36 months – 1:7
- Preschoolers 36-48 months – 1:10; 48-60 months – 1:12
- School-Agers 5-15 years – 1:16
• Half of the lead teachers have an AA Degree in Early Childhood Education or Career Pathways Level 3.
• Teachers and the administrator receive 10 hours of specialized training per year. This shows a
commitment to expanding their knowledge and skills. In order to
support your child’s development and learning, teachers utilize these skills in their curriculum planning.
• The program provides at least two employee benefits to staff members. This means employees are valued and treated as professionals, which in turn reduces staff turnover and provides continuity of care for your child.

Three-Star Centers
Have these teacher/child ratios
- Infants 0-12 months – 1:4 or 2:8 or 3:10; 12-18 months – 1:5
- Toddlers 18-36 months – 1:6
- Preschoolers 36-48 months – 1:10; 48-60 months – 1:10
- School-Agers 5-15 years – 1:15
• Staff/child ratios in all classrooms meet national high-quality early care and education standards.
• All lead teachers have an AA degree in early childhood education or
Career Pathways Level 3.
• Teachers and the administrator receive 10 hours of specialized training per year, above licensing requirements. Specialized training on Infant and Toddler Guidelines
and Ohio’s Early Learning Content
Standards gives teachers the ability to assess children’s progress and prepare them for kindergarten.
• The program provides at least three employee benefits to staff members. This means employees are valued and treated as professionals, which in turn reduces staff turnover and provides continuity of care for your child.

Learn more about Ohio’s early care and education quality standard program here.

A short while ago, we had the pleasure of talking to Sallie Westheimer, of 4C for Children, about Ohio and Kentucky’s Quality Rating Programs (Ohio’s quality rating system is Step Up to Quality and Kentucky’s quality rating system is Stars for Kids Now). She tells us that when evaluating licensed child care centers these programs take a look at teacher and director training, number of children each adult cares for (the fewer the better), among other things. She urges parents to ask about the quality rating system when visiting centers…are they participating, how many stars do they have, are they working toward a star? Check out the video to learn more.

In this video, Sallie makes an important distinction between the child care quality rating systems and a restaurant or hotel rating system. Generally, rating systems run the spectrum from bad to good (for example, a hotel with a 1 star rating in a 3-5 star system is thought of as a bad rating), however in the Ohio and Kentucky Quality Rating Systems even one star is going above and beyond what is required of them for state licensing.

For additional information please visit:
Ohio Jobs and Family Services
Kentucky Department of Education
4C for Children

Also be sure to visit 249smiles.com to talk with quality rated child care providers* in your area, find important information, and get recommendations from parents like you!

*note: not all child care providers on 249smiles.com are quality rated.

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