Skip to Main Content

Find COVID-19 Information and Resources

Child Care Assessment

Child Care Assessment Focus: To ensure child care providers are improving and maintaining quality care for early learners in licensed child care environments.

Child Care Assessment Vision: To offer support, recognition, information and status updates to child care providers and stakeholders on effective quality care improvements through best practice.

Goals: The goals and objectives of the program assessment as outlined by the provisions set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated, 71-3-502(j) are:

  1. To encourage and recognize quality child care programs
    2. To improve the quality of child care in Tennessee, and
    3. To provide support and information to parents as they seek to secure quality child care for their children.
educator with preschoolers

About Child Care Assessment

The Child Care Assessment Program was birthed into the Tennessee Department of Human Services in 2001.  The teams strive to capture best practices in early childhood settings by using a state-approved tool to assessment quality within child care programs across the state of TN.  All the members of the assessment staff are highly and skillfully trained. They want to make sure that, no matter what county or city the provider is located in and no matter which Assessor is doing the observation, it is fair. Reliability checks and careful communication help make sure that all child care programs are assessed fairly and accurately according to the Environment Rating Scale. 

During the licensing process, a child care provider is evaluated on many factors. One factor is the Program Assessment. Highly trained assessors go to the child care facility or home and observe it. During the observation, one or more Assessors will look at your indoor and outdoor spaces, activities, materials and the interactions among children and between children and adults. The Assessors will observe these things for each classroom being assessed. Assessors will keep a low profile and try to remain unnoticeable while in the classroom. This is done so that adults and children can interact naturally during a normal day of operation.

Have questions? Contact the local Child Care Assessment Office near you. Click here for a listing of contact information.

What is a Licensed Child Care Agency Assessment? 

A Licensed Child Care Agency Assessment is a method of assessing process quality in child care programs, using a valid and reliable tool which is applied by reliable assessment staff. Process quality measures the interactions within a group such as between children and staff, between staff, parents, and other adults and among the children themselves. Process quality also includes the interactions children have with their surroundings and the features (like space, schedules, and materials) of the environment that affect those interactions. Process quality has been found to be better at predicting child outcomes than when only structural indicators are rated. Structural quality includes measures like the number of children per staff member, the average number of children in a group, and the program’s cost. Both structural and process quality measures are included in the annual Report Card. 

What does UT SWORPS stand for and who are they?

The Social Work Office of Research and Public Service (SWORPS) began in the mid 1970’s as a small arm of the University of Tennessee College of Social Work that could provide continuing education for social workers in the state of Tennessee. The morphing of SWORPS into today’s form has been a gradual process that continues to evolve.

As a service center within the University of Tennessee, SWORPS works directly with state agencies and regional policy makers, linking them to academic and professional resources. Our research skills and staff-development expertise allow us to be involved at any stage of a project, from development through implementation and review. This past year more than $3 million dollars in work was contracted through the office, and 48 employees worked for the organization. Our vision for SWORPS and a highly motivated staff have made the collaborations successful.

Are you interested in  learning more about Early Childhood Education? Click here for more information.

More Helpful Links: