Local News

Day Care Centers Receive A Five-Star Rating System

Posted September 29, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Choosing a day care is one of the most difficult decisions parents have to make. Wednesday, the state unveiled a new rating system that makes it easier for parents to make the right choice.

Currently, there are only two ratings for day care centers, double "A" and single "A", double "A" being the best. But the state is introducing a new five level rating system. The goal is to give parents more information and more choices.

The state is giving people a chance to rate its new day care rating system at a public hearing. Now day care centers are either rated double "A" or single "A," depending on what they provide. The new system would give centers one to five stars, five being the best, again depending on what they offer children.

Parent Shelly Cowen said, "I think the five-star rating is something parents can look at and say where does my day care center right now fall, and what do I want, is this something I want to continue or do I want to look for something better?"

Some day care center operators are concerned that the new system will create a more competitive atmosphere between centers. Others say competition is good and will give them an incentive to improve.

"With the five-star rating system there will be a lot of choice for parents and it will be very clear which centers are providing the quality child care," center operator Anne Carver said.

The new rating system takes into account things like staff/child ratio, staff training and the track record of the center.

"What we're hoping is that it gives parents more information and more of a knowledge base so they can make better decisions for their children," said Stephanie Fanjul of the Division of Child Development.

From Oct. 15 to Nov. 15 the state Division of Child Development will be taking public comments on the new rules. If the general assembly does not object to the idea, centers may begin applying for the new rating in April of 1999.