Theory of Regulatory Compliance Models

Attached to this blog is a technical research note outlining the three theory of regulatory compliance models that have been used over the past 40 years describing the essence of this theory.  It is interesting to note that the three models moved from a linear relationship to a non-linear relationship to a tiered relationship between individual key indicators and overall regulatory compliance & program quality.

Here is the technical research note with graphic displays:

Theory of Regulatory Compliance Models


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Washington State’s Early Care & Education Research Agenda

It is with great excitement that I share with you today two very significant publications from the Washington State’s Department of Children, Youth and Families which outline their research agenda for licensing of early care and education programs.  These publications are ground breaking in that they address many of the key systemic issues that states are dealing with related to licensing and program quality today.

These publications provide a state example of how best to apply public policy analysis to
regulatory and standards development, validation and implementation. They provide a blueprint to follow as state administrators deal with the complex task of rule formulation within the context of differential monitoring involving risk assessment and key indicators. Washington State has provided actual study examples to Zellman and Fiene’s (2012) Conceptual Framework for Validation by applying it to licensing and regulatory compliance.

Washington staff have creatively utilized legislation to align several sets of standards, a
goal that has had difficulty coming to fruition in many other states. This is a public policy
approach that is both cost effective and efficient. Building upon this base, they have been able to craft a plan to test both validity and reliability of the data and decisions being made related to regulatory compliance, program quality and child outcomes.

Washington State has always been a leader in utilizing NARA’s Key Indicator Methodology as being one of the first states to fully implement such a system by utilizing the Fiene Indicators as part of their abbreviated tools.  Washington State staff continue to work with the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA) and the Research Institute for Key Indicators (RIKI) in building and refining their differential monitoring system.

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Validation of Regulations in Three States Using Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children as Our National Comparison

The past several posts to this blog have dealt with standards, rules/regulations, Caring for Our Children, and unlicensed child care.  This specific post presents some initial analyses of doing a validation study of regulations in three states using as the national comparison tool Stepping Stones to Caring for Our Children (Stepping Stones).  Stepping Stones is a risk assessment listing of standards taken from the larger Caring for Our Children book which focuses only on those standards that place children at greatest risk of morbidity and mortality.

In doing this validation study I assumed that there would be a high agreement between the 122 Stepping Stones standards and the respective regulations in the three states.  Oh, was I ever disappointed!!  There was 50% to 67% agreement between the Stepping Stones standards and the respective state regulations which means a gap of one-half to one-third.  Please keep in mind that these are standards that if they are not met place children in the greatest risk of mortality and morbidity.  Very sobering to say the least.

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ECPQIM – Early Childhood Program Quality Improvement and Indicators Model Data Base

Here is the article and comprehensive data base for the Early Childhood Program Quality Improvement and Indicator Model (ECPQIM) I have been suggesting to use as a systems approach for monitoring and evaluating early care and education programs.

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Two Newspaper Articles on Unlicensed Child Care and Home Based Child Care

The following two links provide interesting newspaper articles for parents and policy makers that fit nicely with my two previous blog posts on Caring for Our Children Basics and the Parent’s Guide to Choosing Safe and Healthy Child Care.

Unlicensed Child Care

Home Based Child Care


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A Parent’s Guide to Choosing Safe and Healthy Child Care

For those who follow my RIKI Website and Blog, I have in two previous RIKI Blogs posted Generic Key Indicators for Early Care and Education and Caring for Our Children Basics for state administrators.  In this blog, I want to post a guide (A Parent’s Guide for Choosing Safe and Healthy Child Care) that has been around a long time and disseminated all over the world and is based upon 40 years+ of research in which the indicators within the guide have been studied extensively in a host of replication studies.  I would recommend parents to use it when visiting potential child care programs before making a final decision on where they would want their child cared for, or for parents who have their children in child care already.  For others, who follow this blog, please share with parents who may be making a child care decision.  As I said above, what is unique about this parent’s guide is the number of replication studies that have been completed validating the indicators within the guide.

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Generic Key Indicators from Regulatory Compliance, Professional Development and Quality Rating Improvement Systems

I get asked all the time what are the most salient generic key indicators from all the various sectors of the early care and education system, such as regulatory compliance/licensing, professional development and quality rating improvement systems (QRIS).  I have mentioned in this blog over the years that I have maintained a national data base for an Early Childhood Program Quality Improvement and Indicator Model (ECPQI2M) for the past 40 years which has data from these major systems.   In these systems I have generated key indicators over the decades to look at trends and what were the most important standards that statistically predicted quality and child outcomes.  In the past, these key indicators have focused more on regulatory compliance/licensing and have appeared in ACF and ASPE publications.  More recently, I have been able to apply the same key indicator methodology to professional development and QRIS system.  So here is the list of the seven generic key indicators from these various systems in addition to regulatory compliance/licensing that we should focus on:

  1. All children are properly immunized (licensing)
  2. Teachers & Director have ECE degrees (licensing)
  3. Competent supervision at all times (licensing)
  4. Families are fully engaged (QRIS)
  5. Coaching occurs (professional development)
  6. Teacher’s guide children’s behavior (QRIS and Environmental Rating Scales)
  7. Teacher’s respond to children’s communication (QRIS and Environmental Rating Scales)
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Caring for Our Children Basics

Caring for Our Children Basics has fallen off the radar screen when it comes to monitoring, regulatory compliance and standards development in early care and education (ECE).   This is a very important set of standards that has distilled the most critical  standards from several significant national documents.  ACF had intended its use as a basic voluntary set of standards for all ECE programs.  I really don’t want state licensing administrators to lose sight of this document as they think through and revise their state ECE rules/regulations.

Here is a link to the ACF Webpage:   Caring for Our Children Basics ACF Webpage

Here is the document itself:  Caring for Our Children Basics Document

Here is the tool that accompanies Caring for Our Children Basics:  CFOCB Tool


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NARA’s Key Indicator Facilitated Dialogues to Continue at their Licensing Seminar in Williamsburg, Virginia, September 24-26.

The second NARA Key Indicator Facilitated Dialogues session was held yesterday (June 15, 2018) in which Dr Fiene discussed the evolution of the Early Childhood Program Quality Improvement and Indicator Model, the Differential Monitoring Logic Model and Algorithm, and his latest Regulatory Compliance research.  The third session in this series will be offered at NARA’s Licensing Seminar to be held in Williamsburg, Virginia, September 24-26, 2018. 

NARA will be highlighting, in addition to the Facilitated Dialogues, several sessions on Key Indicators for participants.  Dr Fiene will be presenting with Dr Sonya Stevens on the innovative work Dr Stevens has been doing in the State of Washington related to key indicators, risk assessment, differential monitoring, and regulatory compliance.  For those who are interested in NARA’s Licensing Seminar, please go to their website.   If interested in the Facilitated Dialogues, please go to the following website –


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NARA’s Key Indicator System: Facilitated Dialogues this Friday, June 15th

Key Indicator System: Facilitated Dialogues this Friday, June 15th

Join Dr. Fiene and NARA at 

3-4pm AT |2-3pm ET |1-2pm CT |12-1pm MT | 11-12pm PT | 10-11am AKT

Child Care | Adult Care | Child Welfare


NARA is excited to present facilitated dialogues on Key Indicators with Dr. Rick Fiene, the father of the Key Indicator System. The Key Indicator System methodology applies across all licensing areas; these dialogues allow licensing professionals across child care, adult care, and child welfare to discuss the application and theory of Key Indicators as they increase efficiency and effectiveness of existing licensing systems.

2018 Meeting Details

Months: March, June, and September
Duration: 60 minutes
Date/Time: June 15 at 2-3pm ET

Every effort will be made to find a date that works for all participants, however, if you cannot join a meeting: 1) you may submit questions in advance for Dr. Fiene to answer, and 2) NARA will send you the discussion recording.

September’s meeting will be held both in person for those attending seminar and via conference call line.

Meeting recordings will be made available to participants.

Participants will be given access to a Community Forum to continue discussion and ask questions between meetings.

Additional meetings into 2018 and beyond will be determined as the group sees fit.

To Join this Group

Complete registration and payment for the 2018 Facilitated Dialogues Package – three (3) 60-minute meetings in 2018 to learn from Dr. Fiene and ask questions specific. You may join this group after it begins in March; you will be sent the recordings for meetings missed.

Register here

Member cost:

Individual and Organizational: $75 per person (breaks down to $25 per session)

Retiree & Student: $60 per person (breaks down to $20 per session)

Non-member cost: $120 per person (breaks down to $40 per session)


About Dr. Rick Fiene

Dr. Fiene has spent 40+ years in developing and improving Key Indicator, risk assessment and differential monitoring methodologies. After a long career in Pennsylvania State Government as a research psychologist and the Pennsylvania State University as a professor of psychology, in 2013 he created the Research Institute for Key Indicators (RIKI) in order to consolidate all research on differential monitoring. Most recently RIKI has entered into a strategic partnership with NARA on the future development of Key Indicators, risk assessment and differential monitoring to all human services.

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