STARS (STep Ahead Recognition System)

STARS is Vermont’s quality recognition system for child care, preschool, and afterschool programs. Programs that participate in STARS are stepping ahead — going above and beyond state regulations to provide professional services that meet the needs of children and families.

Find a STARS Provider

Find out about a child care provider's STARS status, accreditation, and more by:

  1. Searching our online database; or
  2. Talking to your local child care referral specialist

Benefits of STARS to Parents

  1. You can look to STARS as one indicator of quality when choosing child care.
  2. If you use a provider that is accredited or has 3, 4, or 5 stars AND you meet the income guidelines, you may qualify for a low-income child and dependent care tax credit on your state income tax.
  3. You may pay less for child care if you receive child care financial assistance AND use a program that has stars. This is because the Child Development Division pays a higher rate to programs with stars. Financial assistance payments are made directly to providers.

What Each STAR Means

The more stars a program has, the more it is involved in a wide range of practices that support children, families, and professionals.

One-star programs are examining their practices to enhance the services they provide. They may be fairly new, just starting on a path of improvement and growth, or be stronger in one area.

Two-star programs are making a commitment to strengthen their practices. They may have made some progress in many areas or more progress in one or two areas.

Three-star programs have made improvements and are working to reach specific goals. They have either made substantial progress in two or three areas or have made some improvements across all five areas.

Four-star programs are established programs that have met several standards of quality in all five areas. Many four-star programs are also nationally accredited.

Five-star programs are outstanding in all five areas. Many five-star programs are also nationally accredited.

More Information

Download the STARS: Information for Parents and Programs brochure.

For general questions about STARS, please contact CDD at 1-800-649-2642, Option 8.


Contact Us

Reeva Murphy, Deputy Commissioner
Child Development Division (CDD)
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1040
Phone: (802) 241-3110 or 1-800-649-2642
Fax: (802) 241-0846

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