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Rising STARS

Keystone STARS is one of the largest and most mature quality rating and improvement systems in the nation.  

Since 2012 and the 10th anniversary of Keystone STARS, the program began to reach new heights in continuous quality improvement, just as it expects of the participating child care providers.  

The Rising STARS initiative focuses on access to the highest quality services for hard to reach / hard to serve children and families by providing supports to providers as they move up the quality scale to STAR 3 and 4 levels. Rising STARS is a two-pronged approach which redesigns: 1) the STARS grants and awards structure; and 2) the STARS subsidy add-on or tiered reimbursement rate.  Current add-on or tiered reimbursement rates went into effect 8/1/15.   

Rising STARS Support Grants For Eligible Providers

All active Keystone STAR 1 child care certified early care providers who are actively working on a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) plan that includes moving up to a STAR 2 in a reasonable amount of time. Also eligible are active STAR 2 providers who received the Rising STARS Support Grant and successfully moved from STAR 1 to STAR 2 as well as STAR 2 providers who have received the maximum amount of Merit Awards (five) but who now are positioned to move to a STAR 3 or 4. Finally, SACC only certified providers WILL also be included as an eligible program.  To be eligible, providers may not receive more than two previous support grants (including the 14-15 Rising STARS Support Grant) unless they successfully moved from STAR 1 to STAR 2 using the Rising STARS Support Grant.  Eligibility exclusions include STARS Head Start, PA Pre-K Counts, Private Academic Schools (PDE licensed preschool) and School District Pre-K.

Family child care programs may apply for up to $2,000 and centers and group child care programs may apply for up to $5,000. 

WHEN IS MY APPLICATION DUE? All Rising STARS Support Grant Applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, September 9, 2016 for eligibility and consideration.

If you have questions regarding the Rising STARS initiative, please send an email to ra-ocdearlylearning@pa.gov or contact your Regional Key.

For information about the Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program, the CDA Assessment Fee Voucher Program and/or T.E.A.C.H., please visit the Financial Assistance page on the PA Key website.

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