Care Academy achieves highest accreditation

Written by Hannah Albracht

I am thrilled to announce that Care Academy, a program of SAFE, is now officially accredited as a Four-Star child care facility through Texas Rising Star!

Four stars is the highest accreditation rating that a center can attain and a difficult standard to meet since the state of Texas significantly increased the requirements centers have to meet to become accredited. The Care Academy staff is excited to be able to offer high quality care to all families, regardless of their background and income, and this accreditation will help us to always strive for the best when it comes to our children and their families!

Our story so far

Care Academy opened in February of 2014 and went through quite a few changes. When I took over as director in January of 2015, it was my goal to pursue accreditation through Texas Rising Star. I knew that Care Academy already had the foundation necessary for accreditation: a hard-working staff, positive teacher-child interactions, a beautiful facility, and low ratios.

In 2016, we underwent some big structural changes and had to make some adjustments to enrollment and staffing, but our dedicated team of teachers still worked diligently to meet the long list of requirements for accreditation.

The process took over a year and involved making changes and improvements to lesson plans, classroom environment, teacher-child interactions, and more. Both the teachers and I had to increase our number of training hours and some of us even enrolled in early childhood education classes. I worked with our awesome Workforce mentor to help the teachers improve their lesson plans to include sensory, hands-on, and interactive activities. We also added different interest centers to every classroom and artifacts to represent multiculturalism and diversity. The playground got a makeover as teachers added plants, wind chimes, water tables, and an art station.

On Sept. 21, our center was assessed by three professional assessors from Workforce Solutions – and that afternoon, we officially became a Four-Star accredited child care facility!

About Care Academy

Care Academy is a licensed, nonprofit child care facility with flexible hours and extensive support for families. Our spacious and bright full-time facilities are located in the Mueller Austin community.

Our mission is to strengthen families by partnering with parents to care for their children’s physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs in a safe and nurturing environment. We provide access to flexible, affordable child care to ensure every parent has the skills needed to raise their children safely and create a nurturing home.

Early childhood is a period of critical developmental, but it can also be a time of extraordinary stress for families. Care Academy provides an on-staff child and family support specialist, parenting classes, in-home parent coaching, support groups, and regular community social events to provide support and community to young families.

About Texas Rising Star

The Texas Rising Star program is a rating system of child care providers participating in the Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized child care program. The TRS provider certification system offers three levels of certification – Two-Star, Three-Star, and Four-Star – to encourage providers to attain progressively higher certification requirements leading to a Four-Star level.

Across Texas, parents and families enroll their children into child care programs, including center-based and home-based programs. Numerous research studies have shown that at-risk children who attend higher quality child care programs are more prepared for school entry than children who do not attend quality child care programs.

Providers that voluntarily achieve TRS provider certification, offering quality care that exceeds the State’s Minimum Child Care Licensing Standards for director and staff qualifications, caregiver-child interactions, age-appropriate curricula and activities, nutrition and indoor/outdoor activities, and parent involvement and education, are in a better position to contribute to the early development of children. As providers progress through the levels of TRS provider certification, they contribute progressively more to the development of the children they serve on a daily basis.