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Benefits for Rated Programs

Be rewarded and recognized for your commitment to quality.

Programs participating in the Full-Rating Pathway have access to the following benefits that can support their work with the children and their families. Choose the Pathway to a Rating that best fits your program.

Professional Development

  • Training to help you review and improve your program.
  • A Professional Development Advisor (PDA) is available to help programs understand training requirements and options.
  • Low-cost training options to help you meet those training requirements.
  • Parent Aware trainings that may also count toward your in-service licensing requirements.
  • Advanced trainings are now available! The next step up from a basic level of training, advanced trainings go into more detail about the specific content area.


Financial Support

Quality Improvement Supports

Quality Improvement Supports are available to licensed, non-accredited child care programs pursuing a Parent Aware Rating. These dollars can be spent on training, curricula, assessment tools, toys, equipment, technology – like a computer or printer – or other materials tied to the program’s professional development goals. There two ways to receive Quality Improvement Supports.

Building Quality. Participating programs can receive up to $1,000 after receiving 20 hours of coaching over a six-month period.

Full-Rating. Programs that earn a One-, Two-, or Three-Star Rating can receive up to $2,500 after receiving their Rating.

All new and Re-Rating programs are eligible. Contact your Quality Coach or local recruiter for more information.

Early Learning Scholarships

  • Early Learning Scholarships are awarded directly to eligible children. Families that receive a Pathway I Early Learning Scholarship may choose a Three or Four-Star Rated program that is eligible to receive up to $7,500 per eligible child per year.
  • Scholarships are awarded to a child for 12 months, though once awarded, a child remains eligible to renew until they are kindergarten age. Effective July 1, 2016, programs must have a Three- or Four-Star Rating in Parent Aware in order to be eligible to receive Scholarships.
  • Pathway II Early Learning Scholarships are awarded to families through an eligible child care or early education program with a Four-Star Rating. Programs participating as a Pathway II site are awarded Pathway II Scholarship funds for up to 12 months, with children eligible to renew until they are kindergarten age.
  • For more information on Early Learning Scholarships, visit the Minnesota Department of Education website or email

Higher Child Care Assistance Program Rates (CCAP)

  • A Three-Star Rated program receives higher rates for demonstrating quality, up to 15 percent above the standard maximum.
  • A Four-Star Rated program receives the highest rates for demonstrating quality, up to 20 percent above the standard maximum.
  • Programs are eligible for the higher rates within 30 days after their Parent Aware Rating Certificate is issued. The Minnesota Department of Human Services will update your MEC² profile if you are eligible for the higher rates.

Competitive Financial Supports

By participating in Parent Aware, your program improves your access to a number of competitive financial supports. Administered by Child Care Aware of Minnesota, these programs are designed to increase your levels of education and compensation and reward your commitment to the field.

Visit or call 651.290.9704 to learn more about these programs:

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a higher education scholarship program that helps child care and early education professionals increase their education, compensation, and commitment to the field.

R.E.E.T.A.I.N. bonuses reward child care professionals who have earned a degree or National Child Development Associate Credential, and have shown a commitment to education and professional development.

Child Care Aware Child Care Services Regional Grant Program offers funds for supplies and equipment, training, and other professional development opportunities.

CDA Scholarships help professionals attain the National Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential.


Free Coaching and Assistance for Licensed Child Care Programs

  • Qualifying programs receive up to 30 hours of free Parent Aware coaching as they plan and use child care and early education best practices.
  • Participating programs are assigned a Quality Coach and PDA to assist them throughout the Rating process.
  • The Center for Inclusive Child Care offers free inclusion coaching, relationship-based support, training, and modeling to Parent Aware programs.


Free Business Training and Consultation


Free Marketing Kits and Promotion

  • Rated programs are featured at the top of our online search results.
  • Rated programs are promoted through statewide advertising campaigns.
  • Rated programs are shared with parents when they call our statewide hotline.
  • Rated programs receive a free marketing kit.
  • More information is on our Promote Your Rating page.

Get Started

Recruiters are here to answer your questions and start you on the journey to a Rating.

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