What Is Iowa's Quality Rating System?

The Quality Rating System (QRS) is a voluntary program that offers providers a guided way to improve the quality of child care they provide.

What Do the Levels Mean?

A provider who achieves Level 1 has met Iowa�s registration or licensing standards.  A provider who achieves Level 2 has received additional training and made the first steps toward improving quality.  Providers in Levels 3-5 have made significant steps in meeting key indicators of quality in the areas of:
  • professional development
  • health and safety
  • environment
  • family and community partnership 
  • leadership and administration

Who Can Participate?

  • Registered child development homes
  • Licensed child care centers, including preschools, Head Start, Early Head Start, and afterschool programs
  • Child care programs that are operated by school districts

How do programs renew their QRS?  

A QRS rating is in effect for two years.  At the end of the two year period, a program will need to re-apply and receive a new rating. 

Am I required to participate in the QRS?  

No, participation is voluntary; you can choose whether or not you want to participate in the QRS.

What are the benefits of participating in the QRS?  

By participating in the QRS, you demonstrate to parents and your community that you are committed to providing quality child care and to working towards improving the quality of the care that you provide.  In addition, achievement bonuses are available for participating programs. The chart below outlines the achievement bonuses.

Quality Rating System Achievement Bonus Schedule For Child Development Homes

1 $0
2 $400
3 $600
4 $800
5 $1000


Quality Rating System Achievement Bonus Schedule For Licensed Child Care Centers

*Center licensed to care for

2 $400 $800 $1200 $1600
3 $600 $1200 $1800 $2400
4 $800 $1600 $2400 $3200
5 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000


Achievement bonuses will be paid each time the rating is re-determined or renewed.  A quality rating level is in effect for two years.
Please Note: Programs that do not increase their level at re-application will receive half the bonus amount listed above in the bonus chart. 

How do I find Environment Rating Scale training?

Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency to get more information about this training, as well as other trainings that will help you advance through the QRS.  The attached map will help you locate the agency that serves your area.

How do I get an Environment Rating Scale assessment completed?

First, remember that in order to request an ERS assessment for the QRS, you must first complete ERS training (see above).  Once you have successfully completed the ERS training, you are encouraged to complete both the ERS self-assessment and the Child Development Home Improvement Plan.  Both of these forms will be provided to you at the training.  These tools will help you make improvements in your child development home before you have the assessment completed. 
ERS assessments are available at no cost to you.  Information about arranging your assessment is available through the QRS regional specialist.