CCMTL 136 (Amended Rules for Step Up To Quality)
Child Care Manual Transmittal Letter No. 136
June 22, 2016
TO: All Child Care Manual Holders
FROM: Cynthia C. Dungey, Director
SUBJECT: Amended Rules for Step Up To Quality


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) continue to identify areas to strengthen efficiency and consistency in the Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) program.

As the levels of star ratings have increased from three to five stars, so has the need for programs to achieve higher levels of quality. Additional registration requirements, higher serious risk non-compliance points, a new model for tracking professional development, and further requirements for two-star ratings have been determined necessary for continuous quality improvement.

The following rules have been amended and will be effective June 26, 2016:

Rule 5101:2-17-01 "Step Up To Quality (SUTQ): program standards" has been amended to create new appendices for the program standards. The appendices will now be specific to star rating and program type. Beginning in July 2016, ODJFS and ODE will begin tracking professional development in an aligned manner. The new model, called the Step Up To Quality Professional Development Certificate, will standardize professional development for early childhood programs, administrators, lead teachers, and assistant teachers (professionals). All professionals in a SUTQ program are required to have twenty hours of Ohio Approved Professional Development every biennium. The biennium begins July 1st of the odd years and runs through June 30th of the following year (example: July 1, 2015-June 30, 2017). For the first biennium only, the requirement will be ten hours. Early childhood programs will be reviewed at the end of each biennium starting in July 2017. Any program not meeting the professional development requirement will have its rating reduced pursuant to rule 5101:2-17-04.

Rule 5101:2-17-02 "Step Up To Quality (SUTQ): eligibility for registration" has been amended to update registration requirements for suspended or temporarily closed programs and to update the points for serious risk non compliances.

Rule 5101:2-17-03 "Step Up To Quality (SUTQ): desk reviews, verification visits and star rating awards" has been amended to update the two-star rating requirements. Two-star rated programs are required to apply for another rating between one hundred eighty days and two hundred seventy days after the two-star rating effective date.

If a program fails to register, the star rating will be removed. A program may only be awarded a two-star rating once every four years, from the end date of the two-star rating.

Rule 5101:2-17-04 "Step Up To Quality (SUTQ): changes, renewals, removals or requests to withdraw a SUTQ rating" has been amended to update the criteria for removals and reductions.

Rule 5101:2-17-06 "Step Up To Quality (SUTQ): county agency responsibilities" has been amended to add Type A home providers.


Early childhood professionals shall have at least ten hours of professional development by the first biennium ending on June 30, 2017. Twenty hours are required at each subsequent biennium.

Programs currently rated as a two-star rated program must register for another rating between December 23, 2016 and March 22, 2017. If the program fails to register for another rating or is unable to be awarded the higher rating, the rating will be ended on March 22, 2017. Additional details are available in the provider communication dated May 6, 2016 and available at

Programs awarded a two-star rating with an effective date after June 26, 2016 will follow the requirements set forth in the amended rule.