Frequently Asked Questions

NEW FAQs/Updates will be posted directly to the category to which they fit. Please make sure to go through all of the FAQs when checking this page for updates.


Q: What happens with consulting/coaching if a program is placed on hold for any reason?

A: Programs participating in STARS can be put on "Hold Status" at any time for the following reasons; significant program changes or staff changes, or negative licensing action,. If a program is on hold, this does not mean that the consulting/coaching relationship ends. The program can still request assistance from their STARS Consultant or Coach to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. The visits may look different depending on the nature of the hold status, but it is important for the program to know that their supports remain in place.

Q: If a provider gets an assessment score required for a higher level than they are applying for, do they have to have an assessment at that higher level?

A: *ERS* – all ERS assessments (ECERS-3; ITERS-3; FCCERS-3) must occur each time at STAR level 3-5, regardless of previous scores met (i.e. if the score for STAR 3 meets the criteria for STAR 4, the assessment must still occur at STAR 4).
*BAS/PAS* – must occur each time at STAR levels 3-5, unless a prior rating score meets the criteria of a higher STAR level (i.e. if the score for STAR 3 meets the criteria for STAR 4). In those cases the program would not be required to have a new BAS/PAS assessment when applying for a higher STAR level within that calendar year, unless there have been significant programmatic or staff changes.

Q: What is the process for having an assessor come to my program?

A: Keep in mind that the time from when the assessment is scheduled to the time you get your Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) report will be a lengthy process. It is important to plan ahead. You may request your assessment only once you have met all the other criteria for STAR Level, 3, 4, or 5, depending on what level you are working toward. Once your assessment is complete you may apply for STAR Level, 3, 4, or 5 only if your assessment results meet the average facility score defined in the criteria and you have met all other criteria. Quality Improvement Action Plans and budgets should reflect your assessment CQI results. If a program cancels their assessment for any reason, there is not a guarantee that the assessment can take place in time for the application due date.

Q: What is the Quality Improvement Action Plan supposed to look like?

A: The intention of the Quality Improvement Action Plan is to support providers as they plan to advance to the next STAR level, or to maintain a STAR level. The Quality Improvement Action Plan is informed by the various tools such as ERS, PAS/BAS, The Knowledge Base, individual professional development plans, or STARS criteria. There is a Quality Improvement Action Plan form in the STAR kit.  Only the approved Quality Improvement Action Plan form template will be accepted.

Q: If I change my licensing status, can I still participate in STARS?

A: A change in category will not indicate forfeiture, as long as the provider wants to remain in the program and participate, meeting expectations for the appropriate category of licensure.  STARS specialists must be informed in writing of any significant change, as well as a request to remain in STARS to Quality.

Q: If I sell my program, can the program still participate in STARS?

A: The following must occur for STARS programs which are being sold:

  • Child Care Licensing must be contacted, as ownership changes require a change in the PV#.
    • A provisional license will be issued, which will not affect quarterly incentives, but could potentially have an impact on scholarship bonuses as these cannot be paid out to a program holding a provisional license. Scholarship bonuses are also affected by the timing within the quarter when licenses are updated and payment schedules in CCUBS. Scholarship bonuses are not retroactive. If a program has changed ownership & is holding a provisional license at the time payment is to be made or the license change within the quarter (or next) is not timed with payments, the program assumes responsibility for the loss of the scholarship bonus.
  • STARS Program Specialists must receive written notification within 30 days of a change in program ownership.
  • STAR level and incentives may be affected dependent upon program changes made between previous and new ownership. 
  • The STARS Program Specialist will notify the STARS application site programmers to merge the old PV# with the new PV# in the application site, upon request. 
  • A change in ownership may result in ECSB scheduling assessments to ensure program quality is being maintained. A change may also result in ECSB requesting further documentation of compliance with STARS criteria.


Q: Can a program stay in STARS with a new director?

A: Yes. Child Care Licensing must  be informed as soon as possible in order to update licensing information. The new director will also need to update the Program Profile and Director of Record on the STARS Application and Approval site once Child Care Licensing has updated the new director’s information. A new director may be on a training plan just like any other new hire. A change in director may result in ECSB scheduling assessments to ensure program quality is being maintained. A change may also result in ECSB requesting further documentation of compliance with STARS criteria.

Q: Can my program continue participation in STARS if our location or physical space changes?

A: If a STARS program moves from one location to another, STARS Program specialists and STARS consultants must be notified as well as working with Child Care Licensing.  Change in location does not mean that a program can no longer participate in STARS; however a program may go back to STAR Participant status and must re-apply for STAR levels.  The program must have a new baseline assessment.  If a program moves from one location to another, it is possible that they may receive a provisional license from Child Care Licensing, which may affect percent bonus payments if a program is at STAR 2 or above.  If a program has not yet achieved a STAR level, they must still notify STARS specialists of their program move so that a baseline assessment can be scheduled.

Q: If a program wants to stay at a certain level, do they have to reapply, and if so, how often?

A: If a participant chooses to remain at a specific level, they will need to re-apply during the June 1-30 application period and submit all required documents for that level yearly. Assessments will also occur at STAR 3 and above annually (once a program has been at STAR 5 for one year, they may opt to have assessments every other year).

STARS Redesign FAQ (will be updated as information becomes available)

Q: I have copies of my stars training certificates from another state. Will these trainings count towards my STARS in MT?

A: No, each STARS or QRIS program is different in every state. We want participants to know about the MT STARS program which is covered in the required STARS to Quality Essentials training.

Q: If I have a B.A. or are in school to obtain my B.A. degree in Early Childhood, do I still have to take Inclusion I & II?

A: If you are a Level 6 or above on the Practitioner Registry, you are exempt from having to complete these courses.  If your BA does not result in obtaining a Level 6 or higher on the Practitioner Registry, you would be required to complete the courses.  College courses that embed inclusive practices do not qualify for this requirement.  EDEC 340 is an acceptable equivalent to these courses.  The transcript showing course completion with a passing grade must be uploaded as evidence.

Q:Will my college Serv Safe Food Safety and Microbiology Course be sufficient for the Serv Safe training requirement?

A: If the ServSafe food safety is the same as provided through the MT Extension offices or your local health department it can count. The syllabus would need to be reviewed to ensure that the material is the same.

Q: Who is required to take the Medication Administration 2 course (Medication Administration 1 is now a licensing required course)?

A: Individuals noted below must complete Medication Administration 1 prior to enrolling in Medication Administration II.  Both of these courses must be completed prior to enrolling in Medication Administration Refresher.

Centers: The director and all primary caregivers must take Medication Administration 2 if medication is administered in the program. 

Non-primary caregivers may administer ONLY non-ingestible OTC medications (such as sun screen and diaper rash cream) if they do not take the courses. 

Primary caregivers will be responsible for making sure that the required consent (Non-Ingestible Over-the-Counter Medication Authorization Form) is on file for each child and that these medications are stored properly and are available (as provided by the parent and stored by the program) for use by a non-primary caregiver.

FAMILY/GROUP PROGRAMS: The Director and all caregivers must take the Medication Administration trainings, regardless of who administers medication.

ALL PROGRAMS: If a program does not administer medications at all, the Director must still complete the required Medication Administration trainings and a policy stating that medications are not administered at the facility must be uploaded at each of those criteria in the application.

Individuals who take Medication Administration will be required to take a refresher course every 3 years.  The refresher course must be completed within 3 years of the date Medication Administration II was completed.

If an employee is a parent of a child enrolled in a program, and has not taken the Medication Administration, they are allowed to administer medication only to their own child.  Appropriate licensing regulations such as: have a signed authorization on file, medication in a container with the prescription label or directions  for use (for OTC’s), record giving the medication on the Medication Administration Log (signed by the administering parent), and a Special Needs Health Care Plan on file for the child, when appropriate, should be followed.

Medication Administration I and II and Medication Administration Refresher are available through  

Q: Can providers pay the R&R to offer additional STARS courses, on top of what they already have scheduled?

A: This is a negotiation that can occur with individual R&R agencies. The state, of course, is interested in R&R’s providing services in the interest of all providers, and would expect R&R’s to consider this in their decision making about this option.

Q: When can a Director train their staff on a required STARS training?


  • They have attended a train the trainer event preparing them for serving as a trainer in a specific curriculum such as the Certified Infant Toddler Course and they are in contract through a CCR&R to provide this training in a community
  • They have been contracted with by the state and participated in necessary reliability or certification training to provide statewide training.
  • They are employed on a part time basis through the Child Care Resource & Referral Agency for purposes of offering training on their behalf.
  • In all situations, the state must determine appropriateness of Director involvement in training implementation, and Director’s cannot train only their staff in a separate training for the purposes of STARS required courses; however, if staff members from a Director’s facility participate in a community/state training in which their Director is the trainer as described above, this is acceptable.

Q: How long will providers have to get new staff caught up to speed on requirements in order to maintain a current STAR level?


New staff will have an orientation year where MT Child Care Licensing orientation trainings will need to be completed within the CCL deadlines and no STARS trainings will be required.

    • The orientation year and staff training plan begin with the CCL Caregiver Approval Date, not the date of hire.
    • Individuals may begin taking STARS trainings within this orientation year, if they choose .
    • An example of a staff training plan timeframe beginning with the caregiver approval date of 7/1/2022 is as follows:
      • Orientation year ends 7/1/2023
      • STAR 1 trainings to be completed by 1//1/2024
      • STAR 2 trainings to be completed by 4/1/2024
      • STAR 3 trainings to be completed by 7/1/2024
      • STAR 4 and 5 trainings to be completed by 1/1/2025


  • The required STAR trainings are dependent upon program STAR level at the time of submission.

    • A role type change is treated as a new employee and will potentially require a training plan based on the new caregiver approval date.
    • Not following through on this training plan could result in the facility being placed on hold or potentially losing their STAR rating until the plan is fulfilled.


Q: Can somebody other than the Director of Record take the trainings that are required for a Director (i.e. Assistant Director in charge of licensing take PAS)?

A: Yes, the person responsible for the education staff should take the classes related to the care of the children and the person responsible for administration of the program should attend the Program Administration Scales/Business Administration Scales training. It is ultimately the responsibility of the Director of Record to ensure that all criteria and quality indicators are met around these training requirements.

Q: Can STARS providers apply for Mini Grants?

A: STARS participants could be eligible for either the expansion grant or the Emergency grant.  STARS programs must be licensed a minimum of 6 months in order to be eligible for STARS, so would not be eligible to apply for the Start Up grant once accepted into STARS.


Q: How will I get my professional development needs paid for which are required in the STARS program?

A: Workforce Professional Development Incentives are available for individuals to apply to receive funds to support professional development. STARS trainings offered through Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (CCR&R) and will be offered free of charge until further notice.

Q: Who is considered the "director" of a program for Pyramid Model training purposes?

  • The person whose responsibilities include supervision of the educational services, guides curriculum and program planning, serves as a resource for education specialists and/or teachers and teacher assistants; analyzes data, completes reports, supervises classroom and other education staff. For example, a Head Start or Early Head Start Executive Director may not be the individual that manages and supervises the early care and education staff and program, that role may have the title of Education Manager or Director of Education.
  • In addition DPHHS Licensing Requirements for Day Care Centers states that “Director” means the person designated on the center application or otherwise by written notice to the department as the person responsible for the daily operation of a day care center. A director is also responsible for implementing appropriate child development principles and knowledge of family relationships in providing daily care to the children cared for in the facility.
  • Talk this over with your coach to determine which person in fits the description of “director” for Pyramid Model implementation.


Q: Where can I find materials and resources that support the Pyramid Model?


Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about Pyramid Model?

  • First, contact your STARS Consultant or your local R&R Coach.


Q: Do the Pyramid Modules need to be taken in order: Introduction to the Pyramid Model, E-Pyramid Birth-5 Module 1, E-Pyramid Birth-5 Module 2, E-Pyramid Birth-5 Module 3?

A: Yes, Pyramid Model trainings must be taken in order as a series. The Pyramid Model training modules are based on the teaching Pyramid Model of promotion, prevention, and intervention and using evidence based strategies to support children's challenging behavior. Each level of the Pyramid provides the foundation for the next level which can prevent many problem behaviors in early childhood settings.          **E-Pyramid Module 3 is not a required STARS training.