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Commitment to Quality

STARS for KIDS NOW is Kentucky's voluntary quality rating system for licensed (Type I and Type II) child care centers and certified family child care homes. The STARS for KIDS NOW program is part of the KIDS NOW Initiative (Kentucky Invests in Developing Success NOW) and is administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. This system uses a scale of 1 through 4 STARS to identify levels of quality. All STAR levels surpass the minimum licensing requirements that all programs must meet. Early care and education programs that receive public funding are required to participate in the STARS for KIDS NOW rating system.

Early care and education programs work to meet standards associated with quality care that result in positive outcomes for young children. Programs are assessed in the following areas: staff/child ratios, group size, curriculum, parent involvement, training/education of staff, regulatory compliance, and personnel practices.

STARS for KIDS NOW standards are based on research that demonstrates what combination of criteria are essential for quality early childhood environments. The recommendations for the content of each level were constructed by a representative group of consumers, childcare providers, non-profit group representatives, and others who work and live with young children.

STARS for KIDS NOW represents a collaborative effort to ensure that young children in Kentucky are in early care and education settings that are seeking ever-increasing quality.

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STARS for Professionals

Early care and education settings that choose to participate in STARS for KIDS NOW may receive free technical assistance through the Quality Enhancement Initiative.

Upon receiving a STARS rating, programs are eligible for a cash STARS Achievement Award. Additional quality incentive dollars are available, on a quarterly basis, based on the size of the program, the number of subsidy children served, and the level of STARS attainment.

Assistance with staff training and education is offered through the Early Childhood Development Scholarship Program.


Looking for more information on STARS? Start by checking out the STARS frequently asked questions below: