Contra Costa County campaign promotes new rating system for child care programs


You will be seeing these adorable and clever ads in both Spanish and English on buses, transit shelters, supermarket carts and all over social media.

It is part of a widespread campaign being launched in Contra Costa County called “Quality Matters,” which includes a new countywide rating system that aims to improve childcare programs for young children. An easily accessed rating system of just over 100 childcare centers in Contra Costa County is meant to inform families seeking care, and to equip childcare centers with the resources to provide the best possible care. Families can log onto to access the ratings, and to also receive tips for locating and paying for quality child care.

The participating licensed childcare programs in the county, most of which are located in low-income communities, receive training, coaching, support and incentives to improve as part of the campaign.

“Research shows that children in quality child care are more successful academically and in life,” said Sean Casey, Executive Director of First 5 Contra Costa.

First 5 Contra Costa, the Contra Costa County Office of Education, and the Contra Costa Child Care Council are sponsoring the campaign.

“With the majority of a child’s brain developing during the first five years of life, the quality of care a child receives during this time is critical,” said Ruth Fernández, program coordinator of the county’s Local Planning and Advisory Council for Early Care and Education, which is housed at the Contra County Office of Education.

To get parents started on their research, the campaign says these attributes are what constitute quality care at childcare centers:

  • Teacher-Child Interactions: Providers that interact positively with the kids in their care.
  • Ratio and Group Size: Small group sizes and a small number of kids to every adult.
  • Learning Activities: A mix of creative, fun and educational activities that are right for a child’s age and help them learn new skills.
  • Staff: Warm and knowledgeable staff who have a lot of training and rarely quit. Providers have taken classes or earned degrees in Early Childhood Education.
  • Environment: A rich learning environment with varied materials, activities and routines. Areas are healthy, clean and safe.
  • Child Health & Development: Providers make sure children receive health screenings and that children are developing on track.