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Nebraska Launches New Quality Rating System For Child Care

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska has launched a new quality rating system for child care facilities and early childhood education programs.

 The Department of Education says the "Step Up to Quality" system is designed to help parents and guardians evaluate programs that care for young children.

 Child care providers will be rated based on curriculum, the learning environment, staff interaction with children, family engagement efforts and other factors.

 A state law passed last year requires 10 of the state's largest child care providers to participate; all are located in Omaha and Lincoln. Over the next three years, the system will include about 60 programs that collectively serve between 13,000 and 14,000 children.

 Nebraska spends about $95 million a year on child-care subsidies for working, low-income families.