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Quality Rated, Georgia’s Quality Rating and Improvement System
Child Care, Quality Improvement, Quality Rating Systems
Source Of Information:
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
Georgia launched a voluntary quality rating and improvement system in January 2012 with the expectation that 700 child care programs would begin participating in the first year. Less than eight months later, the state surpassed its goal. As of October 23, 2013, , 1,555 child care programs are participating in Quality Rated, including 1,093 child care centers, 412 family day care home programs, and 50 group day care home programs. A total of 109,063 children are enrolled in the participating programs.
Quality Rated assesses child care providers in five areas: the ratio of adults to children and size of classes; staff qualifications; child health, nutrition, and physical safety; family partnerships; and learning practices. Providers that meet program standards beyond Georgia’s minimum licensing requirements are awarded a rating of good, very good, or excellent. Assessments are based on a self-study and portfolio submitted by the provider and an on-site observation conducted by a Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) assessor. The observation assesses several components of quality including caregiver-child interactions and movement pathways. Child care providers are required to submit an updated portfolio annually to maintain their ranking and receive another on-site evaluation every three years, or sooner if they apply to improve their rating.
Participating providers are eligible for free professional development and technical assistance from regional child care resource and referral agencies to help them make quality improvements. During the first year, the state did not publish providers’ ratings. However, parents are now able to view them on the DECAL website.
As of July 2013, Quality Rated child care learning centers, family day care homes and group day care homes are eligible to receive higher CAPS reimbursements, called "Tiered Reimbursement." Tiered Reimbursement is based on the number of stars the program is awarded in Quality Rated. Tiered Reimbursement is in addition to the CAPS reimbursement rate for the children in their care who receive CAPS subsidies. The tier payment is a bonus amount the provider will receive based on their CAPS payment. The higher the Quality Rated level, the higher the Tiered Reimbursement.