This article will give Early Childhood Councils more detailed information on the New Provider Rating Incentive Project that will launch in Sugar January 5, 2022.  For programmatic Questions please contact your Program Officer at the CDEC.  For a recording of the October State TA Day webinar with information about this click HERE! For more FAQ's click HERE

The Quality Merit Awards only apply to Programs who meet the eligibility requirements below AND were open/Operating date on or before 3/11/2021 and was rated a level 2 or below after October 1,2021. Providers who are currently rated at Level 3-5 are not eligible for this bonus.

CDEC prefers checks be cut to providers as this is the easiest method to track spending.

  • The eligibility requirements for receiving these Incentive awards are Programs engaging in Quality and Programs expanding Quality
    • Programs who rate from a Level 1 to a Level 2
    • Programs who rate from a L2 to a Level 3-5  
    • Programs who receive an Alt Pathway or an Accreditation (Level 1 to a Level 3 or 4)
  • Program will need to have an Approved TSQI/ESQI Application to receive these Incentive Awards
    • **There is a 30-day grace period to receive the award for those who sign an MOU after they have a rating change**
  • These incentives are in addition to their existing QI funding.  
  • The Incentive Awards will be automatically awarded through Sugar after 5 days of the Rating being awarded.  
    • Early childhood Councils will not have to update anything in Sugar and Providers will not have to apply for this. 
  • These Incentives will be awarded to a Program's existing TSQI/ESQI QI Dollars Requisition as a Milestone Award. 

  • You can use the Quality Merit Awards Report in Sugar to track the Milestone awards for your eligible Programs.  The rating levels that were reached will be available in the Transfer justification of the Provider QI Dollars Requisition.      

  • Councils can Convert funds to Coaching if Programs would like to have Coaching instead of Funding.
  • These incentives are coming out of the GAE. This is NOT separate funding and theses awards are purpose restricted like TSQI/ESQI, so please follow up with your QRIS Coordinator for clarity on those stipulations .
  • Councils will get a notification of the Milestone increases for their Programs.

  • Programs will have the ability to either request regular QI/PD items in ecConnect or request the Council cut them a check. Although cutting a check is the preferred method.
    • To get a check cut they would still need to upload some form (blank or otherwise) of documentation into ecConnect and submit a request for “reimbursement”.  This will be up to the ECC and Provider to work out on a case-by-case basis.  
    • The guidance for how to Request a Check be cut to the Program in ecConnect can be found HERE
    • For council Staff who need reconcile a spending record in which a provider has asked for check reimbursement or spent QI funds  and has received a Merit Award follow the steps HERE.
  • A Program can get this incentive twice, once for rating from a Level 1 to a Level 2 and again when they rate from a Level 2 to a Level 3-5.
  • This Incentive award program will last through June 30th, 2023.  Awards are as follows: 


Level changeHome/CenterITQAAward Amount
L1 => L2homeyes2000
L1 => L2homeno1000
L1 => L2centeryes2500
L1 => L2centerno1500
L2 => L3/4/5homeyes3500
L2 => L3/4/5homeno1500
L2 => L3/4/5centeryes4000
L2 => L3/4/5centerno2000
L1 => L3/4homeyes3500
L1 => L3/4homeno1500
L1 => L3/4centeryes4000
L1 => L3/4centerno2000

  • Programs are required to use their merit awards on one of these categories below:

    a. "Personnel Costs include payroll and salaries or similar compensation for an employee – including any sole proprietor or independent contractor – employee benefits, premium pay, or costs for employee recruitment and retention." 

    b. "Rent/Mortgage/Utilities include rent (under a lease agreement) or payment on any mortgage obligation, utilities, facility maintenance or improvements, or insurance. " 

    c." Personal protective equipment includes cleaning and sanitization supplies and services, or training and professional development related to health and safety practices." 

    d." Purchases of or updates to equipment and supplies are defined as those necessary to respond to the COVID–19 public health emergency." 

    e." Goods and services are defined as those necessary to maintain or resume child care services." 

    f. " Mental health supports encompass supports for children and employees" 

    If you reported that one of these was not the purpose of the usage, your Coordinator will contact you. 

  • Providers can not “use” their Incentive awards in an additional Capital Improvement Request. 

  • There are two scenarios where a site should receive the award, but we will not be able to do so. In both these scenarios, no funds will be allocated to the Funding Stream and no milestones will be created.  Instead, sugar will trigger an "Action Failed" email with details about what happened. The two scenarios are:
    • If the parent FS doesn't have enough funds available to allocate
    • If the council has a negative remaining balance on their pooled dollar requisition.

If you have any Programmatic questions, please direct those to your Program Officer at the CDEC.  If you have any technical regarding this Process in Sugar or questions about this document, please email the Support Helpdesk at!