The Family Child Care PQA is a validated instrument designed to measure the quality of family child care programs and identify provider training needs.  It consists of standards of best practices that can be scored by outside raters or used as a self-assessment tool by providers.

Developed by HighScope Educational Research Foundation, the Family Child Care PQA is appropriate for use in all family child care homes, both family care (smaller) and group care (larger) settings.

The Family Child Care PQA has the following features:

  • Assesses key aspects of program quality, including daily schedule, learning environment, provider-child interaction, and safety and health.
  • May be administered by trained, independent raters or as a self-assessment by family child care providers.
  • Provides specific, easy-to-understand quality indicators with objective five-point rating scales that defined quality on a continuum.
  • Reflects research-based and field-tested best practices in child development.
  • Provides reliable, scientifically validated assessment proven in a range of settings.
  • Can be used as a basis for program accreditation, reporting, monitoring, and training.

The Family Child Care PQA can be used by supervisory agencies (e.g., licensing agencies) or others responsible for quality control and monitoring.  The instrument is also a valuable tool to help providers assess their own level of quality implementation.  In homes with assistant providers, this tool can also be used as a teaching aid to train staff about quality concepts and help in their understanding of quality care and experiences for the children they serve.  Because the design of the tool is a comprehensive measure of quality, it can be used to recognize areas of strength and those in need of improvement, and it can be used to pinpoint topics where additional training may be necessary.

The Family Child Care PQA has two pieces: the assessment form and the administrator’s manual.  The assessment form is divided into four sections.  Each section is divided into items, ranging from 7 in the Safe and Healthy Environment section to 12 in the Provider-Child Interaction section.  Each item is further divided into rows with level 1, 3, and 5 indicator descriptions.  There are 160 rows altogether, 20 of which are designated for recording evidence in settings with infants and toddlers in care.


Source – PQA Administrators Manual HighScope Copyright © 2003 High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 600 N. River St.,Ypsilanti, MI 48198.

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Family Child Care – Program Quality Assessment (PQA) Reports

HighScope’s Program Quality Assessment tool, PQA, is a rating instrument designed to evaluate the quality of early childhood programs and identify staff training needs. The program provides specific, easily understood quality indicators with objective 5-point rating scales that define quality along a continuum. PQA is a research-based, field tested tool that meets “best practices” in early childhood care and education.

The internet-based version of the tool, OnlinePQA, has offerings for three different program settings:

Infant-Toddler PQA    Preschool PQA    Family Child Care PQA

Based on scores and information entered into OnlinePQA, the program generates several reports: Classroom Reports, Planning Report, and Comparative Report.

Learn more about PQA reporting options and selected features. (PDF)

Two studies were conducted in order to test the reliability and validity of the Family Child Care PQA… Click here to read more.

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