Quality is the Benchmark for Early Child Care and Education

What is Quality Counts California?


Quality Counts California is the new statewide quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) that supports local and regional agencies in raising the quality of early learning and care. QRIS provides early care and education settings a consistent method to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality they provide and gives parents and families information on what different quality levels mean for the child.


About Early Quality Matters (EQM)

The QRIS in Nevada, Placer and Sierra County is called Early Quality Matters (EQM). As part of Quality Counts California, EQM supports all licensed family child care, center-based and alternative sites serving children birth through age five enhance the quality of early learning and care programs they provide and inform parents and families on what different quality levels mean for the child. 


EQM is designed to support and recognize child care programs for implementing research-based practices to provide high-quality environments and experiences for our community’s children. 

By joining EQM, you will make lasting improvements in the quality of care and education you provide the children in your program while being part of the process of systemic change for the field of early childhood education programs.


Ways to join EQM!!!


EQM offers child care programs TWO options to join Nevada County’s track to quality. Within each track, EQM provides a step-by-step level of support based on an assessment of the child care program’s needs and readiness for quality improvement.:

Track 1: Quality Improvement (QI)

QI is an easy way to start quality improvement work. Child care programs can choose to begin at Step I Quality Improvement (QI) or Step II Quality Improvement – System (QI-S). 

In this track, programs receive professional development training and resources, educational support and incentives, help developing a site improvement plan, and participation stipends. 

Track 2: Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS)

The Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS) Track provides enhanced support, higher participation stipends and onsite coaching to help programs improve their overall program quality, environment, and teacher-child interactions. Programs in QRIS will also receive support and recognition of their commitment to quality care through rating publications.

QI Track


QRIS Track

Step 1: Quality Improvement (QI) 

Build foundations essential to positive child development, including health and safety best practices, engaging families as partners, and understanding different ways to support children’s learning and social-emotional development.

Step II   Quality Improvement – System (QI-S)

Strengthen the foundations and develop further teacher skills that lead to higher quality interactions with children. This level is geared towards assisting eligible child care programs to qualify for the Quality Rating Improvement System.

Step III    Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS)

Enhance teacher skills and sound business practices on an advanced level. Assessment and accountability measures are used to increase teacher effectiveness.

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