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April 2 - Child Care Providers are Embracing Georgia’s New “Quality Rated” Program

Category: Georgia Business News

SBJ Staff Report

April 2, 2012 - Bobby Cagle, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), is please.  In only three months, more than 500 child care providers and businesses have enrolled in ‘Quality Rated,’ Georgia’s new voluntary system to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs.

Similar to rating systems for other service industries like restaurants and hotels, Quality Rated identifies early care and education programs that meet a set of standards exceeding the state’s minimum licensing requirements.  The program was launched in January 2012.

According to Cagle, implementing Quality Rated has been a priority for Governor Nathan Deal since the day he took office in January 2011.  “Governor Deal has clearly communicated his vision for a quality rating and improvement system for early education in Georgia,” said Commissioner Cagle.  “With 500 centers voluntarily enrolling in only three months, we can see how this program is being enthusiastically embraced by both families and child care professionals across the state.”

And, he adds that Quality Rated will award ratings at increasing levels to early care and education programs that meet defined program standards beyond Georgia’s minimum licensing requirements. Programs choosing to participate in Quality Rated become eligible for free professional development, technical assistance, and financial incentive packages to support quality improvements.

Starting in 2013, families will be able to verify if a provider is participating in Quality Rated and to see the quality rating they have achieved by visiting the Bright from the Start website at www.decal.ga.gov.

To learn more about Quality Rated, caregivers can sign up for a Quality Rated orientation session sponsored by their local child care resource and referral agency by going to link: https://www.cnp2000.decal.ga.gov/QualityRatedTraining/Splash.asp.

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers federal nutrition programs, and manages voluntary quality enhancement programs.

The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education.

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