Standards and Indicators FAQs

Parent Aware Standards and Indicators for participating child care providers were last updated in 2016. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) is beginning work to update the Standards and Indicators again, with the new changes to be announced in 2025. Here’s a list of frequent questions we’ve received about the plan for updates. If you have any additional questions, contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services at

You can download the full list of the current Standards and Indicators from the DHS website.

What are the Parent Aware Standards and Indicators?

  • Standards and Indicators are the quality measures we use to award Star Ratings.
  • Standards describe key features that reflect best practices. They are based on years of research that has shown these practices make a positive difference for children.
  • Indicators are the specific activities we can observe or measure during the Rating process to determine whether a Standard has been met.
  • Standards and Indicators are organized into five broad categories of quality:
    • Teaching and relationships with children
    • Relationships with families
    • Assessment and planning for each individual child
    • Professionalism
    • Health and well-being

Why are the Standards and Indicators being updated?

  • Our goal is to make sure the Rating process is fair, accurate and meaningful to the programs that participate and reflects the latest best practices. Updating the Standards and Indicators will help ensure children receive the best care and learning opportunities possible.
  • DHS committed to addressing racial equity in the Standards and Indicators in the Parent Aware Racial Equity Action Plan and the Parent Aware Equity Report. These reports provide steps DHS has committed to take to address racial, cultural, linguistic, and geographic equity in Parent Aware.


What will the review and updating process include?

  • The 18-month process of reviewing the Parent Aware Standards and Indicators and considering updates will start in 2023. The process will include ideas and feedback from a diverse group of child care and early education content experts, directors, providers, teachers, and families. Their feedback will be invaluable as we work on this update.
  • It is also important to get feedback about the Rating process directly from the people who are most impacted by these policies—child care providers and programs. There will be several opportunities for child care providers and programs to provide feedback on the Standards and Indicators.
  • Complete the Parent Aware evaluation, using these results, combined with the additional engagement, to redesign Parent Aware and update its framework, standards, and indicators to better reflect diversity of individuals, experiences, and ideas.
  • The new changes to the Standards and Indicators will be announced in 2025.


Who should I contact if I have questions about the updating process?

Contact the Department of Human Services with questions at

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