(1) A four-star rating system for registered family child care homes and a four-star rating system for all licensed programs, including family child care facilities and child care centers, to easily communicate to consumers four progressively higher levels of quality child care. One star indicating meeting the minimum acceptable standard and four stars indicating meeting or exceeding the highest standard. The system shall reflect the cumulative attainment of the standards at each level and all lesser levels: Provided, That any program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children or the National Association for Family Child Care, as applicable, shall automatically be awarded four-star status;
(2) Program standards for registered family child care homes and program standards for all licensed programs, including family child care facilities and child care centers, that are each divided into four levels of attributes that progressively improve the quality of child care beginning with basic state registration and licensing requirements at level one, through achievement of a national accreditation by the appropriate organization at level four. Participation beyond the first level is voluntary. The program standards shall be categorized using the West Virginia State Training and Registry System Core Knowledge Areas or its equivalent;
(3) Accountability measures that provide for a fair, valid, accurate and reliable assessment of compliance with quality standards, including, but not limited to:
(A) Evaluations conducted by trained evaluators with appropriate early childhood education and training on the selected assessment tool and with a demonstrated inter-rater reliability of eighty-five percent or higher. The evaluations shall include an on-site inspection conducted at least annually to determine whether programs are rated correctly and continue to meet the appropriate standards. The evaluations and observations shall be conducted on at least a statistically valid percentage of center classrooms, with a minimum of one class per age group;
(B) The use of valid and reliable observation and assessment tools, such as environmental rating scales for early childhood, infant and toddler, school-age care and family child care as appropriate for the particular setting and age group;
(C) An annual self-assessment using the proper observation and assessment tool for programs rated at two stars; and
(D) Model program improvement planning shall be designed to help programs improve their evaluation results and level of program quality.
(b) The rules required pursuant to this section shall include policies relating to the review, reduction, suspension or disqualification of child care programs from the quality rating and improvement system.
(c) The rules shall provide for implementation of the statewide quality rating system effective July 1, 2011, subject to section four of this article.
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