Look For The STARS

Look for the STARS is a child care quality rating improvement system (QRIS) with five levels. The higher the STAR level, the higher the level of quality.

Look for the STARS Requirements

Licensed child care centers and licensed family child care homes are required to meet basic licensing regulations to receive a license through the Children, Youth and Families Department.

For additional STARS, programs are required to meet higher quality standards in the following areas:

  • Staff Training and Education

    Well-trained staff raise program quality.

  • Learning Activities

    Appropriate daily learning activities reflect each child’s interests, growth and development.

  • Environment

    The environment affects the way children behave, develop and learn.

  • Family Involvement

    Family involvement helps staff make learning meaningful to children.

  • Ratios and Group Size

    Fewer children per adult and smaller groups result in positive outcomes for children.

  • Assessment

    Assessment allows staff to observe and document children’s progress and share information with parents.

Other information…

A program must apply to Child Care Licensing for a higher STAR level license. The program’s STAR level will then be verified based on quality criteria in the New Mexico Essential Elements of Quality.

In order to achieve a higher STAR Level License, a facility must meet all of the STAR level Essential Elements for the level being applied for. The program must continue to maintain basic licensing requirements.

As a program’s STAR level increases, reimbursement for children receiving subsidies from Child Care Assistance increases.

All programs will have their STAR level verified at their annual licensing visit based on current criteria.

A 5-STAR license, indicating the highest level of quality, means that the program is nationally accredited.