What is the ABC Quality Rating & Improvement System?
ABC Quality is South Carolina’s statewide rating and improvement system (QRIS) for child care and early education. The purpose of this system is to:
- Connect families to quality early care and education programs with the support of an easy-to-understand rating system.
- Offer coaching, professional development, and resources to early care and education providers to improve the early education environment and teaching practices and to support each child’s learning and development.
- Enable child care providers to become eligible to receive payments from SC Voucher, so they can serve families that receive child care scholarships.
While licensing sets standards for health and safety, ABC Quality is voluntary for child care providers and promotes excellence in meeting the total needs of children.
Our Services for Parents & Providers
For parents, ABC Quality helps them do the homework to find the right child care providers. Using the ABC Quality online directory, families can search for and compare child care options and get ratings that show how well each provider is prepared to help their children grow and develop.
For providers, ABC Quality gives guidance and tools for continuous improvement—and helps them qualify for SC Voucher reimbursements at higher levels. ABC Quality provides grants and scholarships for training. And because parents use the ratings to make decisions, the directory can help providers connect with new families.
Benefits for Families
Families should make sound educational choices for their children and have options that will help children reach their full potential. ABC Quality helps child care programs increase their quality to make more quality options available to families. The benefits to families include:
- Supportive and developmentally appropriate environments for children that support their overall growth and development
- Clear letter ratings to help families find quality child care for their children
- Reliable quality child care that allows parents to work, have fewer absences and be more productive resulting in long-term earnings increases of up to 30 percent
- Inclusion of families in discussions about their children’s development and ways to support healthy development
- Assistance for families in advocating for their children, increasing the likelihood of families to stay involved as their children enter school, thereby increasing their children’s likelihood of graduating high school
- A quality education that prepares children in their first five years of life for school achievement and high school graduation.
Benefits for Child Care Providers
ABC Quality is becoming the primary tool parents use to identify high-quality child care programs and to compare one program with another. The higher your program’s rating, the more you can use it to market your program and attract new families. The benefits to child care providers include:
- Customized support and assistance to improve quality
- Grants, awards and other financial supports
- Free professional development and scholarships to conferences
- Outreach and marketing to families
- A roadmap for strengthening the quality of care and an opportunity for lifting up the child care profession and child care system
- Increased voucher payments based on the quality level
- As providers join and earn higher ratings, the program will systemically improve the quality of the state’s early education programs.
Benefits to the Community
ABC Quality can demonstrate to policymakers that a quality early care and education system can increase children’s readiness for success in kindergarten. This will build support at both the policy and appropriations levels.
- Every dollar invested in quality early education saves $7 in special education, public assistance, corrections and lost taxes.
- The rate of return for quality early childhood education is ten percent per year. An $8,000 investment at birth brings nearly an $800,000 return over the child’s life.
Related Documents & Links
- Understanding ABC Quality 2020
- ABC Quality License Exempt Manual
- ABC Quality Structural Quality Indicators 2019
- ABC Quality Process Quality Indicators - Intentional Teaching Tools (ITT)
- ABC Quality Provider Agreement
- Program Staff List
- Code of Ethics
- Staff Education and Professional Development Tracking Form
- Staff Health Assessment
- Health and Safety Inspection for License Exempt
- Central Registry Form for License-Exempt
Grow Healthy Documents
Creating a Nutrition Policy
Structural Quality Nutrition Indicators (Center-based)
Process Quality Nutrition Indicators (Center-based)
- Physical Activity
Creating a Physical Activity Policy
Structural Quality Physical Activity Indicators (Center-based)
Process Quality Physical Activity Indicators (Center-based)
Physical Activity Guide
Improving the Nutrition and Physical Activity Environment of ABC Quality Child Care Centers in South Carolina A FIVE YEAR REVIEW 2012–2017
- ABC Quality April 2018 Webinar
- SC Early Learning Standards (Printer version)
- SC Early Learning Standards (ADA version)
- SC ABCQ Family Engagement Toolkit
- SC Early Care and Education Career Path
- Parenting Handbook: A Guide to Kindergarten Readiness
- South Carolina's Core Competencies for Early Childhood Teachers/Caregivers and Program Administrators
- Infant/Toddler Materials Guide
- Preschool Materials Guide
- Afterschool Materials Guide
- ABC Quality Prorated Training Requirements
Michele Bowers, Director
Early Care & Education
Beverly Hunter, Program Director
ABC Quality Program Monitoring Activities (Greenville, SC)
Cathy Kovacs, Program Manager
ABC Quality Program Monitoring Activities (Columbia, SC)
ABC Quality Toll-Free Hotline
To view contact information for your ABC Quality Monitor select your county below.