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Family Child Care Quality Enhancement Initiative by Rainbow Fleet, Inc.

Rainbow Fleet

Date Submitted: 09/08/2021

Contact Information:

Carri Hicks Chief Executive Officer


Rainbow Fleet

1105 NW 45th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Rating Category: Promising Practice

Focus Area: Social Emotional Learning

Focus Population: Children, Teachers, Owners, Caregivers, Guardians, Administrator, Parents

Goals and Outcomes:

The Rainbow Fleet Family Child Care Quality Enhancement Initiative (QEI) is a comprehensive training and technical assistance initiative that seeks to improve the quality of early care and education in Family Child Care Homes (FCCH) in Oklahoma County. This goal aligns with our mission to enhance the quality of life for children, families, and child care providers. Oklahoma currently has a quality driven initiative referred to as Reaching for the Stars and child care providers have the opportunity to be categorized in one of four star levels of quality based on specific criteria. A 1-star facility meets the basic licensing requirements. A 1-star+ facility is working on the criteria to be awarded a 2-star rating. A 2-star facility offers: teachers who have received formal education and additional training in child development; arranges space for a variety of activities including block building, dramatic play, art areas, and ready to children; weekly lesson plans, which promotes cognitive, social and emotional development for each child interaction with parents through planned activities; and program evaluation and goal setting.

A 3-star facility is nationally accredited in addition to meeting 2-star quality requirements. Therefore, providing hands-on training, practical application and mentoring to move facilities to a high stars ranking benefits the children, families, and child care providers themselves. To quote an anecdote from a study entitled the Cost, Quality and Outcomes study of Child Care Centers (Family Child Care Homes), "Children attending high quality child care perform better in math and language, and get along better with other children. These advantages continue in school." The intended outcome for the QEI and the programs we will support is to increase the "best practices" among FCCHs. The way this is achieved is through the process of improving their stars level and/or their accreditation. Achievement of either scenario requires the program to self-reflect and make effective changes accordingly, with much consideration given to the needs of the children, their families and the FCCH provider themselves. Within achieving accreditation, the benefit affects everyone. The children are better cared for and have developmentally appropriate settings and materials with a provider who now has a greater understanding of meeting the needs of children of all ages.

Brief Summary:

The FCCH provider is expected to and should know and understand their children and families and the impact they have on a child's social-emotional and cognitive well-being. As such, QEI will support the child care provider to be well-trained and encouraged to achieve additional education. These best practices will hold the provider accountable for short and long term goals, with the expectation that a "team" approach will prepare children and families for future successes. A QEI Specialist will provide and/or facilitate the FCCHs' intensive, on-going support that includes training, technical assistance, and funds/resources to improve and maintain the quality of care and education that young children and families receive.

Rated by another Clearinghouse: Unknown

Practice-based Idea in Early Childhood:

Providing hands-on training, practical application and mentoring to move facilities to a high stars ranking benefits the children, families, and child care providers themselves. The Rainbow Fleet Family Child Care Quality Enhancement Initiative encourages and supports Family Child Care Homes (FCCH) to act upon the process within the Department of Human Services (DHS) Reaching for the Stars by advancing 1 star+ homes to 2 star; and 2 star homes to 3 star/national accreditation. The project was able to engage 24 active participants from 2013 to 2017. In 2017 Rainbow Fleet was able to recruit 21 FCCHs, and years 2 and 3 the participants increased annually by 15, for a total of 75 FCCH participants. This program provides a system to inform parents of quality criteria med by FCCHs and improves the quality of child care by increasing the competence of the FCCH. The QEI nurtures FCCHs to improve teaching and administrative practices to reach the high-quality, national standards ("Best Practices") established by Early Learning Guidelines (ELG) and/or the accreditation process of the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). The QEI uses both tools as a guide to improve the provision of quality child care in FCCHs. Working together towards this quality improvement benefits children and families in Oklahoma.

Practice used in early childhood settings:

As of July 31, 2016, Rainbow Fleet's QEI program had 24 active Family Child Care Home participants. Two of those programs were 1+ star, twenty were 2 star and two were 3 star. Both 3 star FCCH were nationally accredited through the NAFCC and served as mentors in the QEI program. Four providers were working on their applications to be nationally accredited through NAFCC. We also conducted Early Birds trainings through a partnership with Smart Start Central Oklahoma for QEI program participants. Additionally, we partnered with OU Health Sciences Center and Smart Start Central Oklahoma to train QEI program participants to conduct developmental screenings for the children in their care. They were also trained to communicate the results of the screenings effectively with parents. This not only improved the quality of care the children received by training child care providers on recognizing possible developmental delays, but also enabled families to participate in early intervention when there is an issue. Additionally, Rainbow Fleet's Child Care Resource and Referral program has assisted four FCCHs advance from 1 star to 2 star in FY 2016. We also advanced 2 FCCHs from 1 star to 1 star+ stars in FY 2016. Both partnerships have been extremely beneficial to the QEI program.

Promotes Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging:

Rainbow Fleet Family Child Care Quality Enhancement Initiative intends to improve the quality of child care, especially for children receiving child care subsidies. Through our intention to serve families, our goal is to partner with providers and remove barriers so that every child has an incredible early learning experience. In the article, A Sense of Belonging: Writing (Righting) Inclusion and Equity in a Child's Transition to School, we learn the depth of building a sense of belonging and inclusion as vital to a child's understanding of self-worth. Our QEI Specialist must understand and confront the issue of institutional belonging. Without a sense of inclusion, there are no relationships within which a child's learning can unfold. Additionally, we know the importance of critically aware teachers who help children construct common ground upon which they all belong as learners, players, and peers.


Initially the QEI Specialist would need to be hired. The QEI Specialist would collaborate with Resource and Referral staff to determine a metrics of goals, expectations, achievements, before and after assessments, and outcome measurements.

When the schematics are completed and we are ready to take it to the field, we would recruit the providers for the project consisting of 1-star+ homes and 2-star+ homes and begin serving them with an intentionality to move them to the next higher quality level of achievement.

Orientations would be made to inform and educate the providers with opportunity that they were being afforded along with securing their commitment to participate. Training, technical assistance, on-site assessments and surveys would be completed. We will move through this process in 12-18 months.

All future participants will be given the opportunity to make application to the project with decisions being made on need, desire, licensing compliance, etc. Documentation and data will be captured and preserved throughout the project to measure the outcomes and achievements from the project.


  • Recruitment of participants / March 2022 – April 2022

  • CDA Round 1 (50 participants) / May 2022 – December 2022

  • CDA Round 2 (50 participants) / January 2023 – August 2023

  • CDA Round 3 (50 participants) / September 2023 – May 2024

  • Accreditation Group (60 participants) / August 2022 – August 2023

Evaluation Plan/Recommendation:

Rainbow Fleet will maintain records and create metrics based on the intended outcomes. We intend to gather information, recruit providers for participation, and report to OPSR on a quarterly basis of progression on the implementation and improvement of quality care.

Supports Available:

An educated professional staff that has experience, expertise and a successful track record in the areas of Early Care and Education and/or Family Relations-Child Development; and this same staff has the ability to maximize and leverage time, talent and resources for the common good from partners, collaborators, stakeholders and donors.

Standards/Guidelines, Models, Outcomes, Programs:

We intend to replicate the success of our pilot program and implementation of Rainbow Fleet's Quality Enhancement Initiative. This project was completed in two phases. First, Rainbow Fleet collaborated with Scholars for Excellence, Metro Technology Center and an accreditation specialist to host an 18-month Child Development Associate program at Rainbow Fleet. We removed barriers to participation by covering a large portion of the costs through the Scholars Program. Private funding was used to reimburse program participants for the remaining costs and program-related materials upon completion of each course. Hosting the courses at Rainbow Fleet enabled child care professionals to complete coursework after hours, as we scheduled classes in the evenings and on weekends. We also ensured that these classes would be eligible for transfer to local colleges and universities should participants wish to pursue 4 year degrees upon completion. Rainbow Fleet enrolled 5 child care professionals in the first phase of this project. All five completed the courses and received their Child Development Associate degrees. We then assisted participants in applying for 2 star status with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. All five were successful in obtaining this status. Phase two of this project saw the transition of three of our original participants, as well as nine additional child care providers, into our accreditation project. This 12 month program was open to family child care home providers who had already achieved 2 star status with OKDHS. Through private funding, we paid an accreditation coach to create a community of practice with program participants. We purchased self-study kits from the National Association of Family Child Care and met monthly as a group to work toward common goals. This program included monthly meetings of the COP, as well as monthly on-site coaching in each participant’s family child care home. We evaluated each program independently and provided materials, including furniture, toys, books and developmental support for each based upon their unique needs. We then paid for an assessor from NAFCC to visit each facility for observation once they were ready. All twelve program participants were successful in achieving national accreditation and with one exception due to a medical issue, all program participants achieved 3 star status with OKDHS. We intend to use our past success, relationships, and partnerships to extend our reach through continued Quality Enhancement Initiatives to better prepare, equip, and educate FCCHs to develop the whole child under their care.

Training Material and Manuals:

Self-study kits from the National Association of Family Child Care - $450

Implementation Costs:

Project Manager $86,800

  • Average 50 hours per month

  • $3,100/month (28 months)

  • 2022 (10 months) = $31,000

  • 2023 (12 months) = $37,200

  • 2024 (6 months) = $18,600

Project Adviser $56,000 x 5

  • Average 20 hours per month

  • $2,000/month (28 months)

  • 2022 (10 months) = $20,000

  • 2023 (12 months) = $24,000

  • 2024 (6 months) = $12,000

Facilitator (trainer/mentor) $258,196 (CDA Units instruction paid by Metro Tech) x 5

  • 12 Accreditation Units – training; $375 per unit x 60 = $22,500

  • $100 per monthly visit of participants

Each round 50 visits per month x 8 months = $40,000 x 3 rounds = $120,000

Accreditation visits 60 visits per month x 12 months = 720 visits x 12 = $72,000

  • $1,000 toward (CDA Council) Early Education Leadership Conference, October 5-8, 2022, Orlando, FL x 5 (Project Manager, 2 Project Advisors, 2 Facilitators)

  • $1,000 toward National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) Conference/San Francisco, June 23-25, 2022 (may have a virtual option) x 5 (Project Manager, 2 Project Advisors, 2 Facilitators)

  • Mileage reimbursement rate currently $0.585 x 30 avg. round trip: $17.55

  • 50 visits per month x 8 months = $7,020 x 3 rounds = $21,060

  • 60 visits per month x 12 months = 720 visits x $17.55 = $12,636

CDA Participants $152,700

  • $1000 equipment and materials to meet CDA standards x 150 participants = $150,000

  • CDA application fee (includes assessment exam) $425, Scholars for Excellence in Child Care program pays 90% of this cost with remaining $45/participant x 60 = $2,700

Accreditation Participants $136,500

  • Self-study 12 classes, NAFCC self-study enrollment and boxed kit = $315/ea. X 60 = $18,900

  • Accreditation application fee = $550 ea. X 60 = $33,000

  • $1250 ea. for equipment and materials to meet NAFCC Accreditation Standards = $75,000

  • Lunches for 6-hour trainings = $7,200

  • Rainbow Fleet membership $40/ea. x 60 = $2,400

General Office Expenses $10,000

  • Office Supplies for 26 months of trainings will include paper, pens/pencils, staples, binders, postage, laminating, etc.

  • 3-month survey and evaluation of implementation

Facilities & Equipment $20,140

  • Rent Expense for Rainbow Fleet at Horace Mann Elementary is $6,246.08 per month, with QEI program using the Resource/Training Room this will be 10% allocation of monthly rent. This would come to $6,246.08 x 10% = 624.61 x 26 months = $16,239.81

  • Copier monthly lease payment and postage machine lease payment will average $150 per month to QEI program. This would be $150 x 26 months = $3,900

Contract Services $46,500

  • Accounting services to the QEI program will consist of daily recordkeeping, monitoring budget to actual, reconciling, initiating payments, monthly financials, and board meeting reporting. Estimated an additional cost to Rainbow Fleet of $1,000 per month x 26 months = $26,000

  • Audit and Tax Services will be important throughout the life of this grant and estimated to add an additional expense to Rainbow Fleet of $2,500 per year x 3 years = $7,500

  • Advertising and Marketing for this program will be important as we recruit participants in the months of March thru June 2022. Once we have participants it will be important that Rainbow Fleet continues to advertise our services. Estimated increase in cost, $500 per month x 26 months = $13,000

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