Quality Counts

Quality Counts Final Logo-01

What is Quality Counts?

Quality Counts is the Quality Improvement and Rating System (QIRS) for early care and education programs in Sonoma County. Funded by First 5 California, First 5 Sonoma County, and the California Department of Education, Quality Counts will help improve early care and education in our community by:

  • Giving early educators valuable tools and one-on-one coaching for improving their programs,
  • Establishing uniform standards of excellence in early care,
  • Empowering parents to make well-informed decisions about the quality of care their children receive, and
  • Improving outcomes for children who attend higher quality care throughout Sonoma County.
  • Quality is rated using the Quality Counts California – RATING MATRIX

Local Family Child Care Rating Matrix     (Spanish)

Local Center Rating Matrix    (Spanish)


What are the Benefits?

All Quality Counts participants receive the following:

  • One-on-one coaching and technical assistance from a trained expert in quality early education
  • Access to training and numerous professional development opportunities
  • A Quality Counts seal to display at your site demonstrating your commitment to providing quality early education
  • Eligibility for material or cash awards


Who is Eligible to Participate?

Quality Counts is open to any licensed* child care program, public or private, that serves children 0-5 in Sonoma County.  Priority is given to programs that serve low-income families, dual-language learners, and/or children with special needs.

*California State Preschool Programs (CSPP), are automatically enrolled and do not need to apply to Quality Counts.  All other licensed programs need to apply to participate in Quality Counts; including sites that were involved in READY, VIP, CSP, or Gateway to Quality.

*Quality Counts will also be serving non-licensed providers on a limited basis with coaching and professional development assistance only.  If you are interested in participating in Quality Counts as a non-licensed provider, please contact Leah Benz at Leah.Benz@Sonoma-County.org or 707.565.6614

Contact Quality Counts:

Leah Benz
First 5 Sonoma County

490 Mendocino Ave, Suite 203
Santa Rosa, CA  95401
(707) 565-6614


Applying to Quality Counts

How does my licensed child care program apply to participate in Quality Counts?




The application period is open January 1st – 31st, 2018.  Please contact Leah Benz
(Leah.Benz@Sonoma-County.org or 707-565-6614) if you have any questions.

Application Assistance



How does my non-licensed child care program apply to participate in Quality Counts?

Contact Leah Benz at Leah.Benz@sonoma-county.org or 707-565-6614 to discuss the process.



What happens next?

Application results will be delivered by February 28th, 2018.

If not accepted:

  • Due to capacity limitations, not all applications will be recommended for participation in Quality Counts. Any applicants that are not accepted are encouraged to re-apply in the next open cycle (January 2017).
  • When you receive your application results, you will also receive recommendations to assist you in preparing for the open cycle application process.


If accepted into Quality Counts:

  • You will be assigned a Quality Counts coach.
  • Your coach will contact you to schedule an introductory meeting. At that meeting, you will be required to complete the agreement paperwork.  You will also start to develop your Quality Action Plan.
  • You will be required to comply with the terms of the Quality Counts Agreement.
  • You will be required to attend all meetings/visits with your Quality Counts Coach and complete all required documentation.
  • You will be required to complete a Quality Count Portfolio and Quality Rating Visit.
  • If you have previously received a First 5 Mini-Grant, you must be in good standing with First 5 Sonoma County.
  • If you receive a Materials Award, you will be required to keep careful records of all authorized expenses and copies of receipts for every item purchased.

If you do not comply, you may be required to return any awards and you will not be considered for future funding or participation in Quality Counts.



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