In May, PHMC received a contract from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to serve as the Southeast Regional Key (SERK) for its Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Quality initiative, a statewide quality improvement program targeting childcare providers. SERK is one of six regional keys working in partnership with OCDEL to develop and implement an integrated and coordinated system of program quality improvements and professional development supports for early childhood education.

“SERK represents an opportunity for PHMC to leverage and coordinate several large-scale initiatives to benefit children and youth in the region. ChildLink, our early intervention system for children age three and younger experiencing developmental delays and disabilities, and OST, the city's Out-of-School-Time initiative that we manage, will work in partnership with SERK to offer supports and services to early childhood education providers as they pursue continuous quality improvement.”
Amy Friedlander
Vice President for Management Services and Special Initiatives

As the Southeast Regional Key, PHMC will offer technical assistance and professional development to childcare providers in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery Counties through specialized staff as well as subcontractors. PHMC also will evaluate providers to assess their quality levels based on the Keystone STARS system, an initiative of OCDEL to improve, support and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania. Participating providers are ranked on a scale from STARS Level 1 to STARS Level 4, with Level 4 representing the highest level of quality. Providers receive grants or merit awards from SERK for achievement of higher STARS Levels. They also receive higher subsidy rates through the state’s Child Care Subsidy Program. Keystone STARS is managed through a partnership between OCDEL and the Pennsylvania and Regional Keys.

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