Provider Perceptions of Parent Aware: Minnesota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System

Research BriefEarly ChildhoodMay 14 2019

Parent Aware, Minnesota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), is intended to engage, rate, market, and support quality improvement in early care and education (ECE) programs. Quality improvement that supports children’s well-being and school readiness is a primary goal and purpose of Parent Aware. The engagement of ECE providers and their participation in meaningful improvement efforts are critical to the success of Parent Aware. Data documenting providers’ experiences and perceptions can inform decision-making about the implementation of Parent Aware, including the design of recruitment strategies and the development of incentives for participation and quality improvement.

The purpose of this summary is to report key findings from surveys of ECE providers regarding participation in Parent Aware. Administered in June 2018, the surveys gathered data from currently Rated and previously participating Parent Aware providers. These providers answered questions about their motivation for participating, their experiences, and changes they have made to their program as a direct result of participating in Parent Aware. Additionally, providers eligible to participate but not yet enrolled in Parent Aware were surveyed about their reasons for not participating currently and reasons they may participate in the future.

Key Findings

Most programs are motivated by the financial incentives to join Parent Aware.

  • Programs participating in the Full-Rating Pathway reported that their primary reasons for joining Parent Aware are to receive Parent Aware Grants (up to $1000 for a Building Quality Grant and up to $2,500 for a Full-Rating Grant) and to access Early Learning Scholarships. Programs participating in the Automatic and Accelerated Pathway process reported that their primary reason for joining Parent Aware is to access Early Learning Scholarships.
  • Over half of non-rated providers (53%) reported that having access to free or low-cost training would affect their decision to join Parent Aware. Non-rated providers also reported that they would join to access Parent Aware Grants (39%). When asked if they would consider joining Parent Aware, however, 59 percent said “No,” 14 percent said “Yes,” and 28 percent said they “Don’t Know”.
  • Providers previously participating in the Full-Rating Pathway ranked Early Learning Scholarships (38%) and Full-Rating Grants (35%) as the primary reasons they joined Parent Aware. These providers reported that the primary reason they did not pursue a Re-Rating in Parent Aware was the amount of time and staff resources needed to complete the application (28%). When providers were asked what would motivate them to re-join Parent Aware, the most frequent response referred to access to Parent Aware Grants and other financial incentives.