Quality Rating and Improvement System

As a parent, you know the importance of selecting the best
child care for your child and your family. 

rising stars for ME

Rising Stars for ME is a mandatory program for all licensed child care programs in Maine. License exempt, non-relative providers also participate in Rising Stars for ME.

Rising Stars for ME has three goals:

  1. To recognize early childhood and out-of-school time programs that meet standards of evidence-based quality practices.
  2. To encourage and support programs to engage in continuous quality improvement efforts.
  3. To provide families with identifiable standards of quality.

Rising Stars for ME is important because we all care and want what is best for Maine’s children. Studies have shown that children in quality early care programs have better developed language skills, motor skills, and reasoning ability when they get to school. 

Learning Environment/Developmentally Appropriate Practice

StaffING & Professional Development

Child and youth assessment


Health, safety, physical activity, & Nutrition

family engagement & partnership

Program Evaluation

Administration & business practices

rising stars for ME

Star 1

+ License exempt, non-relative providers receiving Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) funding.

Star 2

+ Licensed child care programs earn a Star 2.

Star 3

Licensed child care programs can earn a Star 3 by: 

+ Showing an understanding of child development.

+ Planning a daily schedule and activities that support children’s development.

+ Having toys and equipment that are appropriate for learning and fun for the children.

+ Supporting families to avoid suspending or expelling children.

+ Completing training on Maine’s early learning standards.

+ Allowing babies and toddlers to follow their own routines.

+ Using family and staff feedback to improve the program.

+ Meeting higher staff qualifications than required by licensing.

+ Supporting staff in their professional development.

+ Providing regular communication to families.

+ Completing individual child assessments at least once per year.

+ Setting a yearly goal related to physical activity and/or nutrition.

Star 4

Licensed child care programs can earn a Star 4 by: 

+ Meeting all requirements for Star 3.

 + Following an evidence-based method of curriculum development.

+ Promoting positive social and emotional development.

+ Using national accreditation standards to complete an annual self-assessment.

+ Meeting higher staff qualifications.

+ Providing additional benefits to staff. (if applicable).

+ Offering families conferences each year.

+ Working with families to support children with IFSPs or IEPs.

+ Completing individual child assessments at least twice per year.

+ Setting two yearly goals related to physical activity and/or nutrition.

Star 5

4icensed child care programs can earn a Star 5 by: 

+ Meeting all requirements for Star 4.

+ Being nationally accredited.

Double Child Care Tax Credits

Maine taxpayers who enroll a child in a child care center or home at a Star 5 are eligible for a double child care tax credit on their state income tax return!