First 5 Quality Counts


Welcome to Quality Counts! If you are reading this, you recognize the critical importance of high quality care and education for young children. You know that Quality Counts for kids!

Quality Counts exists to support you. We offer a variety of ways to enhance quality from funding for program improvements, to awards for reaching quality benchmarks, to professional development opportunities for staff, to coaching, to networking opportunities, to marketing materials and more! Quality Counts uses a star rating system that formally recognizes quality programs.

Who is eligible for Quality Counts?

Quality Counts is not currently accepting applications for new sites, however, we are excited to announce that all licensed and publicly funded license exempt providers are eligible to participate in Quality Counts. This includes:

  • California Department of Education Contractors (CSPP and CCTR)
  • Early Head Start and Head Start
  • Licensed Family Child Care Providers and Private Centers
  • Legally License Exempt Public Child Care Centers

Priority will be given to sites in underserved neighborhoods that enroll:

  • Children from low income families
  • Infants and toddlers
  • Children with special needs
  • Children who are English Language Learners   

Quality Counts offers different kinds of support based on your type of program. Click on the link below that applies to your site and learn more about quality support services, incentives and current policies.

Your program Contracts with the California Department of Education (California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and CCTR contractors)
If you have CSPP and/or CCTR contracts with the California Department of Education that support enrollment for any of the children in your program you are considered a CSPP or a CCTR Program.

Your program does not contract with the California Department of Education
If you are a family child care provider, an Early Head Start or Head Start program or are any other type of center based program, including license exempt, with no California Department of Education contracts, this means you!


What's New

On August 23, 2018, the "Continuum Model" was selected as the new Quality Counts California (QCC) Rating Matrix by majority vote. The State anticipates implementing the new Rating Matrix by July 2020. The current Matrix will continue to be used for (re-)ratings that take place through June 2020.

The Continuum Model is similar to the matrix currently in use; each element of quality is weighted the same for rating scores. The new matrix is designed to make the rating process less burdensome to early learning and care providers. For more detailed information about the new matrix please visit

Now that the state has selected the new Rating Matrix, the next steps will focus on implementation, including guidance and training. After the state provides more detailed information, Alameda QC will provide opportunities for QC participants to learn more about and prepare for rating using the new Matrix.