Existing literature highlights the positive influence of high-quality early care and education on the development of young children, and particularly young children in impoverished or low-income families. Reflecting the promising influence of high-quality early care and education on children’s developmental outcomes, policy makers and state administrators in Maryland are currently in the process of developing a statewide Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), entitled Maryland EXCELS. This system has two primary purposes: 1) to improve the quality of care offered to children by formalizing a professional development system that rewards high-quality practices, and 2) to inform parents about the quality of care offered by providers. Maryland EXCELS will be modeled, in part, after those currently being implemented or piloted in 26 other states and counties.
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