In the City of Long Beach, 56 child care providers have agreed to take part in the County’s Steps to Excellence Program (STEP), an innovative new child care rating system that will help parents make informed child care choices for their children, Supervisor Don Knabe announced today.
The STEP program, launched by Supervisor Knabe in July 2007, is the first program of its kind in California. In much the same way as the County’s successful restaurant grading system has empowered consumers with information, the goal of rating child care centers is to educate parents and improve the quality and services of the centers. The program is starting as a pilot in nine communities across the County, including Long Beach. It is supported with funds from the County of Los Angeles, the California Department of Education and the First 5 LA Commission.
In Los Angeles County, it is estimated that more than $1.4 billion is spent on child care services annually and the demand for services and facilities continues to grow every year. But, with this increasing demand for services comes an increasing need for oversight and access to information for parents about the quality of care their children are receiving. The STEP program will assess six key areas that all parents would want to know about a child care setting, including safety, program quality, teacher qualifications, and whether or not they can accommodate kids with special needs.
This is a great opportunity to give parents access to clear, concise information about child care centers that they may not have time or the ability to research on their own, said Supervisor Knabe. I want to congratulate each and every one of the 56 child care providers in Long Beach who chose to take part in this program, and I welcome more providers who want to do their part in helping families make informed choices for their children.
People interested in learning more about STEP should contact Helen Chavez in the County Office of Child Care at (213) 893-0505 or visit