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High-quality child care by type in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

A child’s earliest years are critical for their future success. Quality early education programs have lasting benefits. These early years lay the foundation for everything from academic and career achievement to health and wellness to maintaining healthy personal relationships.

What the Data Shows
The percent of child care sites at QRIS level 3 or level 4 is higher for center-based child care as opposed to family child care. For 2021, 23.8% of center-based child care centers had the highest ratings in the QRIS system (level 3 or level 4) versus 11.1% of the family child care sites. Both rates were the highest since at least 2018, and combined the 2021 rate of child care sites at QRIS level 3 or 4 was 17.7%.

There was county variation, with Waldo County leading the way with a rate of 43% for all of its licensed child care sites, while Washington  and Somerset Counties were second and third with rates of 30% and 26% respectively.  The lowest rates of child cares at QRIS level 3 and level 4 were in Hancock at 10%, Penobscot at 11% and Kennebec at 14%.


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Definition and Source



The number and percent of all child care providers that have an active license and are enrolled in the 4-step rating Quality for Maine rating system, (called QRIS) who have achieved either level 3 or the highest level, level 4. QRIS is a voluntary quality improvement system for licensed child care providers. The data represent the number and percent of family-based child cares and the number and percent of center-based child cares enrolled in the QRIS data based in December of the calendar year who have achieved either a level 3 or level 4 status.

Data Source

Maine's child care rating system to provide parents a way to easily identify high quality early childhood and education programs is called QRIS.  Maine Quality Rating Improvement System

This indicator is also updated monthly and posted here Maine OCFS Dashboard for Early Childhood Education, although it does not differentiate between family child cares and center-based child cares.


Note that the criteria for being included is child cares that have an active license- so this excludes child cares whose license is in process of a routine review, pending or suspended.

Updated February 2022

Last Updated

January 2023