Increasing quality programs for PA’s children

The Keystone Stars Program celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2012.  Approximately, 177,000 children and more than 4,300 early care and education (ECE) programs across Pennsylvania participate in this high quality performance standards based program.  In fact, Keystone STARS is one of the largest and most mature quality rating and improvement systems in the nation.

Building on ten years of continuous quality improvement for early care and education (ECE) programs, the Dept. of Public Welfare, Office of Child Development and Early Learning, announced in September 2012 that a new initiative had been created to strengthen and improve the existing Keystone STARS Program.

The newest initiative is known as “Rising STARS” and it focuses on increasing access to high quality ECE programs for children who may be at risk for not entering school ready to succeed.  Typically, children who are from low income and single parent households, children with developmental and physical delays and children who may be experiencing social and emotional problems are often considered to make up this at-risk group. 

A 2011-2012 study of children enrolled in Keystone Star 3 and Star 4 level facilities reported 1 in 3 children, upon entering the programs, showed age appropriate skills in language, math and social behaviors.  By the end of the 2011-2012 academic- year, 2 in 3 of the same group of children showed age appropriate language, math and social skills. 

 As the Rising STARS initiative moves forward in 2013, families should expect to see more Keystone STAR level 2, 3 and 4 facilities in the ECE communities that serve our at-risk population of children. 

More detailed information about the Rising STARS initiative may be found online in the form of an on-demand Elluminate session.  Please visit:

Contact Sharon Enfield at the Regional Key/Keystone STARS office for information on Keystone STARS Programs in your community.  Sharon is reached at 1-877-349-4850, ext. 11228 or at