Chapter 5101:2-17 Step up to quality (SUTQ) rating system

5101:2-17-01 "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ): program standards.

(A) What are the step up to quality (SUTQ) definitions for the purposes of implementing Chapter 5101:2-17 of the Administrative Code?

(1) "Administrator" means the following:

(a) Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS) licensed child care center administrator as described in rule 5101:2-12-07 of the Administrative Code.

(b) ODJFS licensed family child care provider as described in rule 5101:2-13-07 of the Administrative Code.

(c) Ohio department of education (ODE) licensed preschool director as defined in rule 3301-37-01 of the Administrative Code.

(d) ODE licensed staff member as described in rule 3301-32-02 of the Administrative Code.

(2) "Approved related fields" means the following:

(a) Early childhood education teacher approved related fields include:

early childhood education, child development, family studies, human ecology, human development, child and family community studies, elementary education, early intervention (ECE or special education), elementary, middle or secondary education, physical education, elementary intervention, and school counselor, or other degrees as approved by ODJFS and ODE.

(b) Approved related child development fields include psychology, and recreation management if twelve semester or eighteen quarter hours of child development coursework, with a grade of C or better from an accredited institution of higher education, is completed.

(3) "Assistant teacher" means a child care care staff member who works under the supervision of a lead teacher. Assistant teachers may work independently in a lead teacher's absence, but for the majority of time the assistant teacher works directly with the lead teacher in the same space with the same children.

(4) "Child care staff" means:

(a) ODJFS licensed child care center staff member as described in rule 5101:2-12-08 of the Administrative Code.

(b) ODJFS licensed family child care provider staff member as described in rule 5101:2-13-08 of the Administrative Code.

(c) ODE licensed preschool staff member, head teacher, teacher, and non-teaching employee as defined in rule 3301-37-01 of the Administrative Code.

(5) "Family child care provider" means:

(a) ODJFS licensed type A home provider.

(b) ODJFS licensed type B home provider.

(6) "Instructional time" means the time the group spends with the lead teacher each day, excluding nap or rest time.

(a) The lead teacher shall interact with children a minimum of three and one-half hours daily for at least half the days of each week the program operates.

(b) If a group requires two or more child care staff members to meet ratio, there shall be a lead teacher and an assistant teacher present. Co-lead teachers may be used to meet this requirement.

(c) The assistant or co-lead teacher shall meet this requirement the other days of the week.

(d) If a program or group operates less than three and one-half hours daily, the lead teacher shall be present for the entire day.

(e) School-age programs shall have a lead teacher for the duration of either a total of three and one-half hours, the complete before school session, or the complete after school session. On non-school days, the program shall meet the three and one-half hour requirement as stated in paragraph (A) (7) to this rule.

(7) "Lead teacher" means the adult who has primary responsibility for the group of children. The lead teacher shall meet the three and one-half hour minimum instruction time daily, not including nap or rest, for more than half of the days in operation each week. The lead teacher is responsible for activity planning and implementing the curriculum and child assessment requirements related to the current star rating level.

(8) "Program" means any of the following:

(a) Family child care provider.

(b) ODJFS licensed child care center.

(c) ODE licensed preschool.

(d) ODE licensed school child program.

(9) "Substitute" means the following:

(a) A child care staff member who replaces an assigned staff member for fewer than ninety days.

(b) What if the substitute is providing care for more than ninety days?

The substitute shall become the lead teacher or assistant and meet the requirements of the lead or assistant pursuant to this chapter.

(B) What are the standards that shall be met to be star rated?

(1) The program shall comply with the desk review and the on-site verification visit.

(2) ODJFS licensed child care centers, ODE licensed preschools and ODE licensed school child programs shall meet all of the standards for the star rating requested at registration as listed in appendices A, B, C, and D to this rule.

(3) Family child care providers shall meet all of the standards for the star rating requested at registration as listed in appendices E, F, G and H to this rule.

(4) Programs who register for a four or five-star rating may be awarded points based on the verification of the three-star rating requirements and their ability to earn additional points as outlined in appendices D and H to this rule.

(5) A program shall obtain at least one point in each of the following domains in order to achieve a four or five-star rating:

(a) Learning and development.

(b) Administrative and leadership practices.

(c) Staff qualifications and professional development.

(d) Family and community partnerships.

(6) How many points shall be earned to achieve a four-star rating?

(a) ODJFS licensed child care centers and ODE licensed preschool or licensed school child programs shall score thirty-five to fifty-five points. Points are indicated in appendix D to this rule.

(b) Family child care providers shall score thirty to forty-five points. Points are indicated in appendix H to this rule.

(7) How many points shall be earned to achieve a five-star rating?

(a) ODJFS licensed child care centers, ODE licensed preschools and licensed school child programs shall score fifty-six to seventy-nine points. Points are indicated in appendix D to this rule.

(b) Family child care providers shall score forty-six to sixty-four points. Points are indicated in appendix H to this rule.

Replaces: 5101:2-17-01

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Effective: 1/6/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 01/06/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.29
Rule Amplifies: 5104.29
Prior Effective Dates: 07/01/2009, 08/01/2010, 11/10/2011, 10/01/2013, 07/20/2014, 09/28/2015, 06/26/2016, 12/31/2016

5101:2-17-02 "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ): eligibility for registration.

(A) Who may register to participate in step up to quality (SUTQ), Ohio's tiered quality rating and improvement system?

(1) A program licensed by the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS).

(2) A program licensed by the Ohio department of education (ODE).

(B) Which programs are not eligible to register for a star rating?

(1) Licensed programs who operate a summer only program as determined by ODJFS or ODE.

(2) Licensed programs who only operate during non-traditional hours as determined by ODJFS or ODE.

(3) Licensed programs whose license has a temporary closure status or is currently suspended.

(C) What are the requirements for a licensed program to be eligible for a star rating?

The program shall do all of the following:

(1) Log onto the Ohio child licensing and quality system (OCLQS) at https://oclqs.force.com, to electronically submit the initial rating registration.

(2) Comply with the desk review, including documents returned for revision, and with the on-site verification visit.

(3) Have children enrolled and attending the program at time of the on-site verification visit.

(4) Meet all of the program standards for the registered star rating as listed in the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code including:

(a) Ensure that the administrators, lead teachers and assistant teachers complete and have verified their education and professional development through the Ohio professional registry (OPR) at occrra.org/opr.

(b) Ensure staff roles, schedules and hire dates are accurate and that the staff are linked to the program prior to the registration and maintained in the OPR.

(c) Not falsifying any documentation required to meet the standards. Falsified documentation shall be cited in accordance with Chapters 5101:2-12, 5101:2-13, 3301-32 and 3301-37 of the Administrative Code.

(5) Not have an active enforcement case.

(6) The program shall not have an accumulation of twenty-four moderate and/or serious risk non-compliance points within the previous twelve months if licensed by ODJFS, or a six-point serious risk non-compliance if licensed by ODE.

(a) Moderate and serious risk non-compliances are listed in appendix A to rule 5101:2-12-03 of the Administrative Code for child care centers and appendix A to rule 5101:2-13-03 of the Administrative Code for family child care providers.

(b) Serious risk non-compliances are listed in rule 3301-37-02 of the Administrative Code for preschools and rule 3301-32-11 of the Administrative Code for school child programs.

(c) The accumulation of points shall not be within the previous twelve months prior to the registration date and between the registration date and the star rating effective date.

(d) If a licensing inspection has not occurred within twelve months, the most recent licensing inspection shall be considered.

Replaces: 5101:2-17-02

Effective: 1/6/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 01/06/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.29
Rule Amplifies: 5104.29
Prior Effective Dates: 07/01/2009, 10/01/2013, 07/20/2014, 06/26/2016, 12/31/2016

5101:2-17-03 "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ): desk reviews, on-site verification visits and star rating awards.

(A) What programs qualify for a desk review conducted by the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS), the county agency or the Ohio department of education (ODE)?

Programs who are eligible pursuant to rule 5101:2-17-02 of the Administrative Code and have submitted a completed registration.

(B) How are ratings awarded?

(1) The program shall not be awarded a rating higher than was confirmed by the program during the registration process if the program confirms at a one-star, two-star or three-star rating.

(2) The program may be awarded a higher rating if it's determined that the program meets the criteria and the program confirms at a four-star rating.

(3) A program may not be awarded a rating, or a lower star rating may be assessed, if at the desk review or on-site verification visit the program does not meet the standards for the rating the program confirmed at registration.

(C) How long does a star rating last?

If the program meets the standards for a star rating and the requirements for maintaining a star rating, the following shall occur:

(1) One-star rated programs shall be rated for a period of one year.

(2) Two-star rated programs shall be rated for a period of one year.

(a) A two-star rated program shall register for a one, three, four, or five-star rating between one hundred eighty days and two hundred seventy days after the two-star rating effective date.

(b) If a program fails to register by day two hundred seventy, the rating shall be immediately discontinued.

(c) A program may only be awarded a two-star rating once every four years from the end of the two-star rating.

(3) Three-star rated programs shall be rated for a period of two years.

(4) Four and five-star rated programs shall be rated for a period of three years.

(D) How is a deferral issued?

(1) A deferral may be issued at the conclusion of the on-site verification visit or at the time of the annual report if the program cannot demonstrate it is meeting the standards.

(2) If the program cannot meet the deferral requirement within the time frame given, a lesser star rating may be awarded.

(E) When is a rating effective?

The rating shall be effective:

(1) The Sunday following the thirtieth day after the completion of the on-site verification visit.

(2) If a deferral was issued, the Sunday following the thirtieth day after the end of the deferral period.

(3) The Sunday following approval or license begin date, whichever is later, after:

(a) The desk review;

(b) A rating is awarded pursuant to paragraph (F) or (G) of this rule; or

(c) The annual report review.

(F) What are the requirements if a program owner, with multiple rated programs, wants to have a new program's rating expedited?

(1) The program shall request the rating in the Ohio child licensing and quality system (OCLQS) at https://oclqs.force.com during the application process or within the first thirty days of the provisional license period.

(2) The program's owner shall own multiple licensed programs that include the following:

(a) At least fifty per cent of the owner's programs have a star rating; and

(b) Two or more of the programs have a three, four or five-star rating.

(3) The rating awarded shall equal the lowest rating of the three, four or five-star rated programs if the program meets the following:

(a) All administrator and staff qualifications shall be met pursuant to the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code for the star rating to be awarded.

(b) The program implements a written, researched-based, comprehensive curriculum aligned with the early learning and development standards and/or the Ohio K-12 standards, appropriate to the age group served and which shows alignment to the program's identified assessment process.

(4) If the program is unable to meet the requirements of paragraph (F)(3) of this rule, a lesser star rating may be awarded.

(5) In order to continue the star rating, the program shall:

(a) Submit an initial registration within one hundred twenty days of the rating begin date; and

(b) Comply with a desk review including documents returned for revision and the on-site verification visit.

(6) If the new program fails to comply with paragraph (F)(5) of this rule, the rating shall be discontinued one hundred twenty days after the rating begin date.

(G) What are the requirements to continue a rating if the program's owner changes?

(1) An initial program applicant may be awarded a rating when the owner is changing if the following requirements are met:

(a) The currently rated program has been rated for the previous thirteen months.

(b) The new program requests the rating in OCLQS during the application process or within the first thirty days of the provisional license period.

(2) The rating awarded shall equal the current rating if the program meets the following:

(a) All administrator and staff qualifications shall be met pursuant to the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code for the star rating to be awarded.

(b) The program implements a written, researched-based, comprehensive curriculum aligned with the early learning and development standards and/or the Ohio K-12 standards, appropriate to the age group served and which shows alignment to the program's identified assessment process.

(3) If the program is unable to meet all of the requirements of paragraph (G)(2) of this rule, a lesser star rating may be awarded.

(4) In order to continue the star rating, the program shall:

(a) Submit an initial registration within one hundred twenty days of the rating begin date: and.

(b) Comply with a desk review including documents returned for revision and the on-site verification visit.

(5) If the program fails to comply with paragraph (G)(4) of this rule, the rating shall be discontinued one hundred twenty days after the rating begin date.

(H) Will the star rating continue if a program changes its location?

Yes the star rating shall continue.

(I) If a star rated family child care provider changes from a licensed type A home to a licensed type B home or from a licensed type B home to a licensed type A home, will the star rating continue?

Yes the star rating shall continue.

(J) Will the star rating be reinstated if a program was previously rated and the rating was discontinued due to the program being in temporary closure status for more than ninety days pursuant to rule 5101:2-12-02 or 5101:2-13-02 of the Administrative Code?

(1) The rating may be reinstated if the program requests the reinstatement in OCLQS within the first thirty days after reinstatement of the continuous license.

(2) The reinstated rating shall equal the prior rating if the program meets all of the following:

(a) All administrators and staff qualifications shall be met pursuant to the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code for the star rating to be awarded.

(b) The program meets the curriculum and assessment requirements pursuant to the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code for the star rating to be awarded.

(3) If the program is unable to meet the requirements of paragraph (J)(2) of this rule, a lesser star rating may be awarded.

(4) Once the reinstated star rating has been awarded, in order to continue the rating, the program shall:

(a) Submit an ongoing registration within one hundred twenty days of the rating begin date.

(b) Comply with a desk review and an on-site verification visit.

(5) What if the program fails to comply with paragraph (J)(4) of this rule?

The rating shall be discontinued one hundred twenty days after the rating begin date.

(K) What if ODJFS, ODE or the county agency determine the program is not meeting any of the standards outlined in the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code?

The program shall:

(1) Comply with any desk reviews or on-site verification visits.

(2) Submit any documents requested by ODJFS, ODE or the county agency.

(L) What are the requirements for rated programs displaying marketing materials?

The program shall:

(1) Use SUTQ marketing materials only for the current rating.

(2) Meet the branding and logo requirements outlined by ODJFS for marketing materials.

Replaces: 5101:2-17-03

Effective: 1/6/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 01/06/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.29
Rule Amplifies: 5104.29
Prior Effective Dates: 10/01/2013, 07/20/2014, 05/24/2015, 09/28/2015, 06/26/2016, 12/31/2016

5101:2-17-04 [Effective until 5/13/2019] "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ): changes, renewals, removals, or requests to withdraw a SUTQ rating.

(A) What shall a program do to request a rating change?

The program shall:

(1) Log onto https://oclqs.force.com to complete an ongoing rating registration.

(2) Electronically submit the registration.

(B) What is the process to submit an annual report?

(1) A program shall complete and submit an annual report at https://oclqs.force.com thirty days prior to the anniversary date of the initial star rating.

(2) The annual report shall contain updated information as described in the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code for a three, four or five-star rated program.

(3) An annual report is not required if a change in rating registration is submitted before the deadline for the annual report.

(C) What if the annual report is not completed and submitted?

The star rating shall be discontinued on the anniversary date of the star rating.

(D) What if the rated program does not meet the program standards based on the information provided in the annual report?

The star rating may be reduced or removed.

(E) What is the process to submit a rating renewal?

(1) A program shall request to renew its rating by logging onto https://oclqs.force.com ninety days prior to the star rating expiration date to complete and submit an ongoing registration.

(2) If the program does not submit a rating renewal, the rating shall be discontinued on the rating expiration date.

(F) When can a star rating be reduced or removed?

(1) Programs licensed by ODJFS:

(a) The star rating shall be removed if the program receives a letter of intent to revoke a license from ODJFS.

(b) The star rating may be reduced or removed if ODJFS or the county agency determines that the program has an accumulation of twenty-four moderate and/or serious risk non-compliance points within the previous twelve months as listed in appendix A to rule 5101:2-12-03 of the Administrative Code for child care centers and appendix A to rule 5101:2-13-03 of the Administrative Code for family child care providers.

(2) For programs licensed by ODE, the star rating may be reduced or removed if ODE determines that the program has a six-point serious non-compliance as shown in rule 3301-37-02 of the Administrative Code for preschools and rule 3301-32-11 of the Administrative Code for school child programs.

(3) The star rating may be reduced or removed if ODJFS, ODE or the county agency determines the program is not meeting any of the standards outlined in the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code.

(G) When can a program register for a new rating if the rating is reduced pursuant to paragraph (F)(1) or (F)(2) of this rule?

(1) The program shall not begin an initial registration for six months after the new rating begin date; this includes a reduction to a zero rating.

(2) The new rating awarded will expire twelve months after the new rating begin date.

(3) Paragraph (C)(6) of rule 5101:2-17-02 of the Administrative Code shall only apply to inspections completed after the effective date of the reduction of a star rating.

(H) How long does a program have to wait to begin an initial registration for a star rating after a removal pursuant to paragraph (F)(1) or (F)(2) of this rule?

(1) The program shall not begin an initial registration for twelve months from the date of removal.

(2) Paragraph (C)(6) of rule 5101:2-17-02 of the Administrative Code shall only apply to inspections completed after the effective date of the removal of a star rating.

(I) How does a program withdraw from SUTQ and when does it become effective?

(1) A program that has submitted a registration for SUTQ or that has a current SUTQ rating may withdraw from SUTQ by completing and submitting the JFS 01556 "Request to Withdraw From Step Up To Quality" (rev. 5/2015).

(2) The effective date of the program's withdrawal from SUTQ shall be the date requested on the JFS 01556 or thirty days from the date of the signature on the JFS 01556, whichever is later.

Replaces: 5101:2-17-04

Effective: 1/6/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 01/06/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.29
Rule Amplifies: 5104.29
Prior Effective Dates: 10/01/2013, 07/20/2014, 05/24/2015, 06/26/2016, 12/31/2016

5101:2-17-04 [Effective 5/13/2019] "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ): changes, renewals, removals, or requests to withdraw a SUTQ rating.

(A) What shall a program do to request a rating change?

The program shall:

(1) Log onto https://oclqs.force.com to complete an ongoing rating registration.

(2) Electronically submit the registration.

(B) What is the process to submit an annual report?

(1) A program shall complete and submit an annual report at https://oclqs.force.com thirty days prior to the anniversary date of the initial star rating.

(2) The annual report shall contain updated information as described in the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code for a three, four or five-star rated program.

(3) An annual report is not required if a change in rating registration is submitted before the deadline for the annual report.

(C) What if the annual report is not completed and submitted?

The star rating shall be discontinued on the anniversary date of the star rating.

(D) What if the rated program does not meet the program standards based on the information provided in the annual report?

The star rating may be reduced or removed.

(E) What is the process to submit a rating renewal?

(1) A program shall request to renew its rating by logging onto https://oclqs.force.com ninety days prior to the star rating expiration date to complete and submit an ongoing registration.

(2) If the program does not submit a rating renewal, the rating shall be discontinued on the rating expiration date.

(F) When can a star rating be reduced or removed?

(1) Programs licensed by ODJFS:

(a) The star rating shall be removed if the program receives a letter of intent to revoke a license from ODJFS.

(b) The star rating may be reduced or removed if ODJFS or the county agency determines that the program has an accumulation of twenty-four moderate and/or serious risk non-compliance points or a six-point serious risk non-compliance within the previous twelve months as listed in appendix A to rule 5101:2-12-03 of the Administrative Code for child care centers and appendix A to rule 5101:2-13-03 of the Administrative Code for family child care providers.

(2) For programs licensed by ODE, the star rating may be reduced or removed if ODE determines that the program has a six-point serious risk non-compliance as shown in rule 3301-37-02 of the Administrative Code for preschools and rule 3301-32-11 of the Administrative Code for school child programs.

(3) The star rating may be reduced or removed if ODJFS, ODE or the county agency determines the program is not meeting any of the standards outlined in the appendices to rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Administrative Code.

(G) When can a program register for a new rating if the rating is reduced pursuant to paragraph (F)(1) or (F)(2) of this rule?

(1) The program shall not begin an initial registration for six months after the new rating begin date; this includes a reduction to a zero rating.

(2) The new rating awarded will expire twelve months after the new rating begin date.

(3) Paragraph (C)(6) of rule 5101:2-17-02 of the Administrative Code shall only apply to inspections completed after the effective date of the reduction of a star rating.

(H) How long does a program have to wait to begin an initial registration for a star rating after a removal pursuant to paragraph (F)(1) or (F)(2) of this rule?

(1) The program shall not begin an initial registration for twelve months from the date of removal.

(2) Paragraph (C)(6) of rule 5101:2-17-02 of the Administrative Code shall only apply to inspections completed after the effective date of the removal of a star rating.

(I) How does a program withdraw from SUTQ and when does it become effective?

(1) A program that has submitted a registration for SUTQ or that has a current SUTQ rating may withdraw from SUTQ by completing and submitting the JFS 01556 "Request to Withdraw From Step Up To Quality" (rev. 5/2015).

(2) The effective date of the program's withdrawal from SUTQ shall be the date requested on the JFS 01556 or thirty days from the date of the signature on the JFS 01556, whichever is later.

Effective: 5/13/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 1/6/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.29
Rule Amplifies: 5104.29
Prior Effective Dates: 10/01/2013, 07/20/2014, 05/24/2015, 06/26/2016, 12/31/2016, 01/06/2019

5101:2-17-05 "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ): request for review.

(A) What are the reasons a program may request a review of a rating decision?

(1) Denial of a star rating.

(2) The award of a lesser star rating.

(3) The removal or reduction of a star rating pursuant to rule 5101:2-17-04 of the Administrative Code.

(B) How does a program submit a request for review?

A program shall complete and submit the JFS 01155 "Request for Review for Licensing and Step Up to Quality" (12/2016) with all applicable documentation.

(C) When may a program submit a JFS 01155?

Within seven business days of the following:

(1) Notification of the denial of the star rating.

(2) Notification of the star rating award.

(3) Date of the letter indicating the removal or reduction of the star rating.

(D) When is a program not permitted to request a review?

The program may not request a review of a discontinued star rating as a result of the program failing to submit an ongoing registration to renew the star rating or an annual report.

Replaces: 5101:2-17-05

Effective: 1/6/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 01/06/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.29
Rule Amplifies: 5104.29
Prior Effective Dates: 07/01/2009, 10/01/2013, 07/20/2014, 09/28/2015, 12/31/2016

5101:2-17-06 "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ): county agency responsibilities.

(A) What are the responsibilities of the county agency staff for "Step Up To Quality" (SUTQ)?

The county agency shall:

(1) Utilize the Ohio child licensing and quality system (OCLQS) to support SUTQ.

(2) Follow all requirements contained in Chapter 5101:2-17 of the Administrative Code.

(3) Follow the Ohio department of job and family services (ODJFS) policies and procedures for all SUTQ responsibilities as assigned.

(4) Recommend rating actions to ODJFS for approval.

(B) May the county agency have additional requirements that exceed the SUTQ standards in Chapter 5101:2-17 of the Administrative Code?

The county agency shall not have additional requirements for SUTQ.

(C) May the county agency contract out the SUTQ responsibilities?

The county agency may contract out the SUTQ responsibilities but shall ensure that the requirements of this chapter are met.

Replaces: 5101:2-17-06

Effective: 1/6/2019
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 01/06/2024
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 5104.29
Rule Amplifies: 5104.29
Prior Effective Dates: 07/20/2014, 06/26/2016