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Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

NH’s Current Quality Designations

NH currently has three designations for quality child care: Licensed; Licensed Plus; and Accreditation (accredited programs). Families can use this information to inform their choices for quality child care.


Licensed programs include child care centers and family child care homes. The Child Care Licensing Unit regulates quality based on the following aspects of child care:

  • Ratio: The number of children per adult in a home or classroom;
  • Group Size: The total number of children;
  • Health: Policies and practices around illness, immunization, nutrition, cleanliness, and preventing the spread of germs;
  • Safety: Practices to make sure the environment is safe, both indoors and outdoors. This includes practices around First Aid and Infant and Child CPR training for staff, fire precautions, criminal background checks, etc.; and
  • Training, education and experience of the provider: Assures that providers are knowledgeable in child development and other related topics.

Licensed Plus

Licensed Plus is a quality rating in New Hampshire. It means that a child care program has practices above and beyond required licensing standards. Programs who are Licensed Plus may be in the process of becoming accredited. To learn more visit Licensed Plus.


Accredited programs have gone through a process of self-study and outside evaluation and have met higher standards of quality child care.

National accrediting associations include:

Proposed Enhanced Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)

What is a QRIS?

A Quality Rating and Improvement System is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs. The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) requires States to use a portion of their CCDF funds for activities designed to improve the quality of child care programs and to increase parental options for, and access to, quality child care. NH’s QRIS (under revision) is designed for these purposes.

How was the QRIS Draft Developed?

The QRIS draft on this web page was developed over several years by the QRIS Task Force in collaboration with the DHHS/DCYF Bureau of Child Development and Head Start Collaboration (formerly Child Development Bureau). The QRIS Task Force includes representatives from various Early Childhood programs, professional organizations and state bureaus and departments.

What are some important facts about the proposed version of NH’s QRIS?

  • This is a draft. This document is a working document and has not been finalized.
  • This draft is intended to inform the early childhood community and stakeholders of the progress of the new proposed QRIS.
  • The proposed QRIS is a hybrid model, which uses both a building block and points approach to assign quality ratings. The point system is not represented in this draft but is in development.
  • This draft is designed for child care centers only at this time.
  • Until further notice, Licensed Plus and national accreditation remain as NH’s QRIS.

What are the next steps in the development of NH’s QRIS?

The QRIS Task Force will continue to work diligently to finalize many components of the system including, the standards, standards implementation, system operations, the point system, incentives, a validation study, IT systems, marketing and branding and a roll-out plan.

Questions or Comments?

We welcome your input. Please contact us at:

The QRIS Task Force will consider all questions and comments.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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