STARS Evolution Update

09 October 2019

The Child Development Division used Race to the Top, Early Learning Challenge Grant funds to evaluate STARS. As part of that evaluation, child care providers and community partners were surveyed about what is working and what is not working in STARS. The Division also surveyed families to learn about their impressions of STARS. Using all this information and working with the STARS Evolution and Oversight Committees, the Division is proposing changes to STARS in two phases.

We have made changes in phase 1 that went into effect 9/1/2019. For details on those changes please go to our evolution webpage: https://dcf.vermont.gov/childcare/providers/stars/evolution

The phase 2 changes include changes to how STARS works, and what programs need to do to achieve STARS.  CDD went out to the field in spring 2019 with a draft of those changes for feedback.

We want to thank everyone that took the time out of their busy schedules to give us feedback on the draft STARS Phase 2 changes. We received hundreds of comments and the evolution committee and CDD have been working hard all summer to use your feedback in making changes to the draft.  

In order to ensure we are considering and responding to each piece of feedback, this process is taking us longer than anticipated. We have extended the timeline for the phase 2 changes with an anticipated effective date of January 2022. To see the timeline you can go to: https://dcf.vermont.gov/childcare/providers/stars/evolution.

This Fall, the STARS Evolution committee will be wrapping up its work on drafting the structure and criteria for the evolved STARS system. Then we are forming five work groups to help us develop the supporting information for the next phase of STARS evolution. These work groups are an opportunity for more people working with children and families to engage in the development process. We are seeking representatives of different groups (such as someone to represent afterschool programs) for each one. Those work groups will be:

  • Guidance Manual Work Group: This work group will develop the content of the guidance handbook. The handbook will provide clarity for criteria and evidence, provide templates, resources, etc.
  • Application Work Group: This work group will recommend what needs to be included and format for the new STARS applications.
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Plan Work Group: This work group will define and clarify expectations for all aspects of CQI requirements and evidence for criteria related to CQI – including templates that programs could use.
  • Recommending Supports for Programs about Phase 2 Changes Work Group: This work group will identify both existing support systems and resources as well as new support systems/resources that programs may need to meet the new STARS program.
  • Recommending Incentives for Child Care Programs Work Group: This work group will make recommendations for incentives for child care programs including incentives for participating at higher levels of STARS.

We anticipate groups meeting and working starting this fall through the Spring of 2020.  The place and schedule for the meetings of each group will be determined once the group membership is formed. If you are interested in participating on one of the groups, please sign up on this form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Phase2-Workgroup-Signup. Please note, you are not making a commitment by signing up on this form, someone will contact you with more details and the opportunity to join and commit to a group.

We recognize there has been a blip in communication about our process since we were out in communities last spring.  As we move through these next two years, it is our intent to provide regular updates to you on the progress being made to develop the evolved STARS system. Thank you for your patience with us!