Step 1: Health & Safety

Ready to join? Submit your Step 1 Quality Rating Application!

What is the goal in Step 1?

Provide a safe and healthy environment for children focused on preventing injuries and reducing the spread of germs.

Why is Step 1 important?

Children need to be healthy and feel safe to learn and grow. It’s the first step in preparing children to be ready for school, work and life.

How do I show that I meet the Step 1 Quality Standards?

  • Licensed by the North Dakota Department of Human Services for at least 6 months.
  • Program serves children between the ages of birth to five.
  • License is in good standing. Bright & Early ND will review the program's license history for the past 6 months. Please see the Bright & Early ND Eligibility Requirements for additional details on the verification process and licensing sections to be reviewed. 
  • Meet the Step 1 Professional Development Quality Standards.


Why should I do Step 1 when I’m already licensed?
  • Gain recognition from parents as a program who is eager to go above and beyond for their child. Your status as a Bright & Early ND Partner is shared with the 6,200 parents searching for child care every year through Child Care Aware of North Dakota®.
  • Earn exclusive Bright & Early ND Partner benefits.
After I apply, when will I receive my Step 1 Quality Rating?

The great part of Step 1 is that programs can apply at any time! Once your application is processed and verified, your Step 1 Quality Rating will be issued on the 1st of the month. For example, if you applied on March 12th, you will receive notice of your Quality Rating on April 1st.

When do I renew my Step 1 Quality Rating?

Programs will renew their Step 1 Quality Rating once a year. You will receive a reminder email when your expiration date is nearing. We encourage programs to renew yearly to ensure that your program information stays current and you still receive the great benefits of Bright & Early ND!

Resources to Help with Step 1