Continuing Quality

Lowest-Level Support

Continuing Quality

Programs that achieve and maintain a 4-to 5-star rating will be assigned to Continuing Quality. Programs at this level are focused on maintaining their high-quality practices. The goal of this level is to provide an ongoing level of support to help programs sustain their quality.

All Head Start programs will be assigned to Continuing Quality. Head Start programs at this level receive embedded supports as part of the Head Start model and will focus on increasing and maintaining quality practices.

Participants with existing internal quality supports (e.g., coaching, health and safety support, etc.) that have achieved a 3-star or higher rating may opt in to Continuing Quality.

Who Qualifies?
Quality First participants with a 4-star or 5-star rating
Head Start participants
System of Support:
Child Care Health Consultation
Financial Incentives
Programs have access to a team of experts to support them along their quality journey. This team will learn about each individual program and work together to help them succeed.

At the Continuing Quality level of support, coaching is available upon request, but coaching hours are not required. As you work to continue your quality practices, you can request additional help from a coach when you need it.

Learn more about Coaching


Coordinators will help along the way as programs participate. They will assist with:

Welcome and onboarding to Quality First
Paperwork, forms and general technical assistance
Help finding resources
Learn more about Coordination

Child Care Health Consultation (CCHC)

Achieving Quality programs will receive ongoing support from a specially trained health professional. CCHCs provide recommendations and technical assistance in areas like nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and more.

Health and Safety Assessment
Health and Safety Action Plan
3 hours of consultation quarterly (or 1 hour per month)
Depending on their regional area and the population, programs may also have access to additional specialists in the areas of early childhood mental health and inclusion for children with special needs.

Financial Incentives

Participants at the Continuing Quality level of support receive funding for staff recognition.

Available to all program types and capacity
Focused on staff employed at the program
Direct payment to program following star rating achievement (approximately every 2 years)
Based on star rating
Star Rating + Incentive amount per staff*


$1,000 per staff


$500 per staff

*The number of staff in the following roles are used to calculate total incentive amount: Director, Assistant Director, Teacher and Assistant Teacher.

Learn more about Financial Incentives

Opt-in Option for 3-star Programs

Some 3-star programs with existing internal supports may be eligible to opt-in to the Continuing Quality level. Programs that have been approved for the opt in will maintain the same financial incentives as the Achieving Quality level.


Approximately every two years, programs will receive an assessment and star rating. Assessment defines a clear picture of each program—what is great and opportunities to do even better.

On-site assessment tools used to measure quality care:

Environment Rating Scales (ERS)
Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)
Written feedback reports to help set goals
Learn more about Assessment
Still have unanswered questions?

Check out our FAQ page