Maryland’s quality rating and improvement system for child care, Head Start, and school-based prekindergarten programs. The program helps child care and early education programs increase and maintain quality and assists families in finding quality child care and early education programs. Since 2013, Maryland EXCELS (Excellence Counts in Early Learning and School Age Care) has been the state’s quality rating and improvement system that awards ratings from Levels 1 to 5 to child care and early education programs based on nationally recognized standards and best practices. Quality Assurance Specialists work in every jurisdiction to support child care providers and Districts. Maryland EXCELS provides information that families need to make informed decisions when choosing child care and early education programs. Using a thorough but easy-to-understand rating system, Maryland EXCELS, sets a standard for increasing the availability of high quality child care and early education for children in Maryland. Prekindergarten programs receiving state funds and those accepting child care scholarships must participate in Maryland EXCELS.
Funding: The FY2023 budget includes $5 million. For FY2024 through 2028, funding for the program increases by 10% over the prior fiscal year.
Eligible Applicants: Licensed child care centers, Letters of Compliance, registered family child care home providers, and after school programs