How QSLA Works

Eligibility Requirements

Licensed child development centers and family child care homes that are serving children birth to age five may volunteer to participate in Quality Start Los Angeles.

Participants must possess a child care license that is current for at least 12 months and be in
good standing
* with California Community Care Licensing (CCLD). This means a licensed child development care center or family child care home currently does not have any of the following:

  1. A non-compliance conference;
  2. An administrative action taken or in the process of being taken (includes denied application, denied exemption, temporary suspension order, expedited revocation action, revocation action, or exclusion action that is being initiated, in process, or already taken); and
  3. A probationary license. 

*See Health and Safety Code Sections 1596.773 and 1596.886. CA-QRIS, Consortium Implementation Guide.

QSLA Application

If you’re interested in participating in Quality Start Los Angeles, fill out the appropriate application and self-certification of licensing compliance form below to get started.

All applicants must complete the following licensing compliance form:

Assessment and Rating

  • QSLA assessments are conducted by trained observers who use consistent standards. These standards are based on the seven elements of the California Quality Rating Matrix.
  • Points are accumulated for each of the elements and the total amount of points determines a tier rating from 1 – 5. The higher the rating, the higher the quality of the program.
  • Once rated, early learning programs receive specialized support aligned with their particular rating such as coaching, classroom tools, resources, training, and financial incentives that help improve their program’s quality.

Key elements of quality include:

  • Staff Qualifications: Training related to increasing teacher effectiveness and qualifications for center directors.
  • Adult-Child Ratios: Smaller number of children assigned to qualified teacher and teacher assistant.
  • Program Environment: Quality and safety of indoor and outdoor spaces, sufficient materials and resources, overall responsiveness to children, and family engagement.
  • Curriculum and Materials: Use of materials that support childhood learning based on observations of a child’s interests and development.
  • Adult-Child Interactions: Adult participation and interaction with children to support social-emotional and educational development and learning.

Questions that a QSLA assessor asks:

  • Is the facility licensed and in good standing with California Community Care Licensing?
  • What is the adult to child ratio?
  • Do teachers have valid permits from the State of California?
  • Are teachers caring and actively engaged with children?
  • Does the program provide developmentally appropriate learning materials and activities?
  • Does the program have clear and specific goals for children’s language, literacy, and mathematics, as well as social and physical development?
  • Does the program screen children for developmental milestones?
  • Has the program staff completed additional professional development trainings?
Back to top


Use the following materials to help your child care program prepare for the assessment

QSLA Coaching and Incentive Model


Disclaimer: All financial incentive amounts and availability, including stipends and block grants, are based on the year to year budget granted by the California Department of Education.

 Quality Start Los Angeles providers receive:

  • Coaching and support from multiple agencies to help you improve classroom quality and program administration.
  • Professional development including training and resources for your staff and teachers, to support both staff and student needs.
  • Strengths-based assessment from certified raters to help you build on your successes for sustained, gradual development.
  • Financial incentives to enhance your classrooms and outdoor facilities to promote children’s language development, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Back to top