Quality Rating System

Paths to QUALITY™ gives families an easy to recognize tool for selecting a child care program. Families can look for the Paths to QUALITY™ logo to determine what level their provider has achieved. Each level builds on the foundation of the previous one, resulting in significant quality improvements at each stage and in national accreditation at the highest level. The system validates child care programs for ongoing efforts to achieve higher standards of quality and provides incentives and awards for success. The four levels address:

  • Level One: Health and safety needs of children met.
  • Level Two: Environment supports children’s learning.
  • Level Three: Planned curriculum guides child development and school readiness.
  • Level Four: National accreditation (the highest indicator of quality) is achieved.

For more information on Paths to QUALITY™ please visit http://www.childcareindiana.org.


The Indiana Accreditation Project supports early childhood facilities, family child care homes, and school-age programs that are committed to improving program quality by seeking national accreditation. Research indicates that better child outcomes for school readiness are linked to programs with national accreditation. Financial and technical assistance are available to the program as they complete the accrediting process from self- study to observation and validation.

For more information, visit http://www.iaeyc.org/.

What is CDA?

The Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credential is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in ECE. The purpose of the program is to enhance the quality of early child care by defining, evaluating, and recognizing the competence of early child care professionals across the country. The CDA Assessment and credentialing of early child care professionals has been administered by the Council for Professional Recognition (The Council) since 1985. For more details about the specific process and requirements, visit the Council for Professional Recognition website.

How can Huffer Child Care Resource and Referral support you in obtaining your CDA?

Huffer Child Care Resource and Referral staff conducts trainings for providers to help you fulfil the 120 hours of formal child care training required to obtain your CDA. For more information email kparker@huffermcc.org or call 1-800-554-9331.

For those who have already completed a training course (either through Huffer or elsewhere), we can also provide additional support. This may include helping you:

  • Create your CDA Professional Portfolio
  • Submit your family questionnaires
  • Coordinate a verification visit with a Professional Development specialist
  • Prepare for the CDA exam online

What do I need to know about completing the non-formal CDA course?

  • CDA classes take about 1 year to complete
  • Scholarships are available through the IAEYC Non-formal CDA Project (T.E.A.C.H.) to pay for the assessment. To qualify for the scholarship, you must:
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be an Indiana resident
  • Have a High School Diploma or High School Equivalency Diploma.

Be working with children in a licensed, registered, or legally exempt childcare setting for 30 hours a week or more making $18 or less as a director and $15 or less as a teacher (documented by income verification)

What if the Huffer Pathway isn’t the right fit for me?

Professional hours can be completed through a wide variety of training organizations with expertise in early childhood. Such agencies include: a college or university, resource and referral agencies, private training organizations, vocational or technical schools, or other approved early childhood training sites. Smart Horizons Online Education Center offers online CDA training courses as well.

You can accumulate the hours from a single training program or from a combination of programs. Each agency or organization must provide verification of your education in the form of a transcript, certificate or letter on official letterhead.

Higher Education

An investment in higher education may be the smartest purchase you have ever made. Take some time to check out the links below. The value of a college degree provides you with more opportunities, higher earnings and greater job security.

Ivy Tech: https://www.ivytech.edu/early-childhood/

Ball State University: http://cms.bsu.edu/Academics/CollegesandDepartments/Teachers.aspx