Kids who attend quality programs do better academically and in life – that is the message of a public campaign to educate parents and launch a new Quality Child Care Matterssystem to rate and improve child care programs.

The “Quality Child Care Matters” Campaign is a public education effort sponsored by the nonprofit Contra Costa Child Care Council, First 5 Contra Costa and the Contra Costa County Office of Education.

Child Care Council Executive Director John Jones points out, “we have to think 0-12 and not just K-12 when it comes to education. Brain research tells us that the early years of life are critical to a child’s development and future success.”

“Quality matters when choosing a child care or preschool program,” he emphasizes.

A new system to rate and improve the quality of licensed programs in Contra Costa County has launched with 104 licensed child care programs. To date, most of the voluntary participants are located in low-income communities or serve children with high needs – the children least likely to receive quality child care.

Contra Costa is one of 16 counties in California piloting child care rating and improvement systems using common criteria and standards.

To learn more, visit www.qualitychildcarematters.org.