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Management Bulletin 16-08

Important Notice: Programs Moved to CDSS

While the California Department of Education continues to operate the California State Preschool Program, the Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SB) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of many childcare programs from the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may include programs that have moved to CDSS. For additional assistance you can either visit the CDSS Child Care Transition web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.

Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Revised Edition

Number: 16-08

Date: July 2016

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: California Education Code, Section 8203 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5 sections 18270.5(f)(1) and 18281.  

Attention: Executive Officers and Program Directors of any early learning and care program or entity interested in applying for California State Preschool Program funding


The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to clarify the use of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Revised Edition (ECERS-R) for California Department of Education (CDE), Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) contractors. This MB only applies to contractors providing center-based services to preschool age children.


California Code of Regulations, Title 5 Section 18281, require contractors operating center-based programs to use the environment rating scale as defined in subsection 18270.5. Subsection 18270.5(f)(1) defines the early childhood environment rating scale as the ECERS-R.


The ECERS-R is a tool that is used by the ELCD to assess the classroom environment of center-based programs as part of the requirements for quality elements of CDE subsidized child care contracts. The tool is also used by the California Quality Rating and Improvement System (CA-QRIS) as one of the elements rated for quality.

A new tool, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Third Edition (ECERS-3), has emerged, and the ELCD has evaluated it and reached some conclusions about its use by ELCD. ECERS-3 is significantly different from the ECERS-R in both content and administration. The use of the ECERS-3 will require training and regulatory changes.


The ELCD is requiring CDE/ELCD contractors to continue using the ECERS-R as specified in regulation until further notice.

The reason for continued use of ECERS-R is to align our practices with the CA-QRIS.

Additionally, the ELCD has trained and ensured that Field Services Office (FSO) staff are reliable raters on the ECERS-R tool. Each classroom they rate may be shared with the local CA-QRIS administering agency and should be used for rating purposes. Likewise, FSO staff will utilize current ECER-R scores issued by reliable assessors in CA-QRIS counties for program compliance reviews. This will reduce duplication of ratings by multiple observers and will align ELCD practices with those of other pertinent entities.

If you have any questions regarding the information in this management bulletin, please contact your assigned ELCD Field Services Consultant at or by phone at 916-322-6233.

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This Management Bulletin is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement. Any portion of this Management Bulletin that is not supported by a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement is not prescriptive pursuant to California Education Code Section 33308.5.

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, June 22, 2021
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