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How does ABC Quality’s rating system work?

ABC Quality is a voluntary rating and improvement program that helps South Carolina parents find high quality child care. Child care providers can voluntarily participate in ABC Quality to demonstrate that they meet, exceed or surpass basic child care standards.


The program is administered by the Division of Early Care and Education of the SC Department of Social Services. The ratings that a provider receives are based on standards of care and service offerings relevant to several factors including what size facility they may have, teacher/child ratios, health and safety policies, and other factors.

ABC Quality is a strengths-based system that rewards participating programs for the work they are doing to increase quality child care in their program. One assessment tool is used to determine quality levels of programs that participate in ABC Quality.  

How will providers now be evaluated in the ABC Quality program?

Programs have to meet eligibility criteria pertaining to federal guidelines  relating to health and safety. After that, the program receives an assessment based on a review of policy and procedures that support child well-being and an on-site observation of teacher and child interactions. These visits are conducted annually.

How can ABC Quality help parents make an informed child care decision?

ABC Quality’s mission is to help parents make informed child care decisions by choosing a program that is voluntarily assessed. Programs that participate in ABC Quality have taken steps to provide quality child care to children and families. At any ABC Quality level parents know that every participating provider has a goal of providing quality care—and it means that parents are working with a program that is striving to constantly improve their own quality.

Why is ABC Quality important?

ABC Quality is vital because it ensures that a child care program is meeting benchmarks of quality available to all children regardless of need. It provides opportunities for children to be in quality child care environments. ABC Quality provides opportunities for programs such as professional development scholarships, financial awards and grants.

Why should parents and caregivers ask child care programs if they are in ABC Quality?

Being in ABC Quality also allows programs to ensure quality care for children and to be recognized for the level of care they are providing, based on best practice standards that are above the health and safety requirements for licensing.

ABC Quality programs meet rigorous health and safety requirements for all staff. These requirements include Pediatric First Aid and Child CPR Certification, Health and Safety Preservice Orientation Certification and compliance with SC Child Care Licensing regulations. ABC Quality programs voluntarily allow an assessor to observe program quality – an act of total transparency.

In programs that participate in ABC Quality, parents will find practices that develop positive relationships, promote learning through play, provide outdoor activities and cultivate family engagement. ABC Quality programs help children grow and thrive in a community setting.

By ABC Quality Team on December 28, 2020