High quality early care and learning programs go beyond the required regulations to provide the best environment for child development. STARS, which stands for STep Ahead Recognition System, is Vermont’s quality recognition and improvement system for early care and learning programs. While the total number of regulated child care programs in Vermont is declining, the quality of programs is improving. It is important to note that the number of programs is not a measure of child care capacity. As can be seen below, the percent of programs achieving 4 or 5 stars has increased from 20% in 2011 to 46% in 2019 [1].

Additional information, including breakdowns by geography and license type, can be found in the regularly updated STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS) monthly report and in the Stalled at the Start reports from Let’s Grow Kids.

Return to the Table of Contents for the 2019 How Are Vermont’s Young Children and Families? report.

1. Vermont Insights (2019). STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS) monthly report.