Quality Initiatives

Children’s brains are growing most quickly during their first years of life, and their experiences during these critical early years lay the foundation for the rest of their lives.

A child with a toy guitar

Quality care – care that provides a loving, safe, stable and age-appropriate stimulating environment – provides the basis for healthy nurturing relationships, and helps children enter school ready to learn.

In addition to providing subsidies to offset the cost of child care, DHS funds a variety of initiatives that support early care and education for providers to enhance the quality of their programs. DHS also provides workforce development opportunities for the current and future child care entrepreneurs and teachers.  


BrightStars is the statewide quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) for state licensed child care centers, family child care homes, public preschools, and school age programs in RI. BrightStars helps programs to access and improve quality, and also helps parents choose quality in child care programs.

DHS contracts with The Rhode Island Associating for the Education of Young Children (RIAEYC) to manage Rhode Island’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) known as BrightStars. Brightstar’s is designed to increase access to high-quality early learning programs for all RI families and children. Participating providers receive professional development and technical assistant support to evaluate their program and meet research-based quality benchmarks based on a scale of one to five.

Additionally, BrightStars helps families in Rhode Island access quality child care, early learning, and school-age programs through their referral program. 

The Early Childhood Education and Training Program

DHS contracts with CCRI to operate the Rhode Island Early Childhood Education and Training Program (RIECETP), one of several early care and education quality initiatives developed to support the Birth-5 workforce to obtain the requisite knowledge, competencies and skills to provide optimal learning environments where children thrive.

The RIECETP is a comprehensive and unique education and training program that strengthens the knowledge and skills of both seasoned and novice early childhood educators by providing formal academic course work and training using a cohort model to optimize the experience for the adult student.

RIECETP offers two stackable pathways to achieve credentialing and/or college credits. Students have the option to enroll in one of three Child Development Associate (CDA) programs of study, (FCCP, Infant Toddler and PreK) which leads to a nationally recognized early childhood credential. The second pathway is a four-course sequence where students can earn up to 12 college credits in early childhood education over the duration of a 16-month period. Each program of study is aligned to the state’s QRIS system and complimentary to the RI ECE workforce pathway.

Center for Early Learning Professionals (CELP)

DHS contracts with the Education Development Center, to manage and operate the CELP, Rhode Island’s professional development and technical assistance (PDTA) hub where the early care and education workforce can access  professional development training and continuous quality improvement to obtain state approved and required PD and TA aligned to Rhode Island’s early care and education systems, including advancement  within the quality levels as outlined in the BrightStars, quality rating and improvement system.

Rhode Island Early Learning and Development Standards (RIELDS)

The standards outline early learning expectations at key benchmarks, from birth to 60 months of age. They are designed to guide early childhood educators and families to support a child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, and to provide a framework for implementing high-quality early childhood programs.

Child Care Facilities Fund

DHS contracts with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to manage the Rhode Island Child Care and Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF). The fund helps early learning programs develop safe, high quality learning environments – both indoor and outdoor. Services include, low interest capital and technical assistance to improve the existing child care facilities as well as the development of new facilities. Read some of the reports that led to the fund in our Research, Reports and Newsletters page. 

Supporting Children’s Competencies in Emotional and Social Skills (SUCCESS)

Supporting Children’s Competencies in Emotional and Social Skills, or SUCCESS, is a statewide infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) program for early care and education settings.  IECMHC promotes nurturing relationships and enhances the capacity of staff, families, programs, and systems to prevent, identify, and intervene with the social, emotional, and behavioral health needs of young children (0-5 years).  SUCCESS is staffed by early childhood clinicians at Bradley Hospital and provides the following supports at no charge:

  1. Child-focused IECMHC supports the needs of individual children whose development or behavior is of concern to families or early care and education staff.  In this model, a SUCCESS consultant helps children’s caregivers understand, contextualize, and address the child’s social and emotional needs by developing and implementing an individualized plan. This service is available to DHS-licensed and RI Pre-K center-based programs. Enrollment forms can be downloaded from this website.  
  2. Classroom and program-focused IECMHC promotes classroom and program-wide social, emotional, and behavioral support via Coordination of Care teams.  In this model, a SUCCESS consultant facilitates reflective discussion and problem-solving about the social, emotional, and behavioral needs within whole classrooms and programs. This service is offered to DHS-licensed and RI Pre-K center-based programs. 
  3. The Early Childhood Mental Health Workshop Series includes didactic content, reflective discussion, and collaborative problem solving focused on early childhood mental health topics. This series is offered to DHS-licensed Family Child Care Providers. Professional development credit via The Center for Early Learning Professionals is offered.  Additional IECMHC services for the family child care community are under development. 
  4. The Rhode Island Reflective Supervision Series includes an eight-hour foundational training and a monthly workshop focused on enhancing supervisors' reflective supervision skills and competencies. Supervising professionals within DHS-licensed early care and education programs are eligible to participate. Professional development credit via The Center for Early Learning Professionals is offered.  

For additional information on any of the above services, please call at (401) 793-8700 or send us an email at success@lifespan.org.

Child Care Health Consultation

DHS works with Meeting Street to operate the Child Care Health Consultation Model (CCHC), in which registered nurses who are skilled in child and pediatric healthcare support early childhood education providers and the families they serve to understand and implement basic health, safety, wellness, development, and nutrition guidelines for young children served in group-based care. The CCHC provides three basic functions:

  1. Provide customer service and support to child care centers and family child care homes on public health questions and/or questions about child care licensing regulations, as it relates to health and safety.
  2. Deliver ongoing, targeted professional development and technical assistance to the early learning workforce on the best practices and requirements associated with maintaining a healthy environment for children and families in group-based care.
  3. Update the Child Care Outbreak & Response Playbook (during COVID-19) and the Child Care Health Consultation Curriculum (post COVID-19) and educate providers on the updates.

For more information on Child Care Health Consultation, please call 401-533-9178 or email cchc@meetingstreet.org. English and Spanish translations are available.