DECAL To Celebrate “A Decade of Stars” During Quality Rated’s 10th Anniversary

Rating System Has Recognized Georgia’s Child Care Stars Since 2012

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) will host a series of statewide celebrations beginning in September to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the state’s highly regarded Quality Rated child care system.

Under the theme, “A Decade of Stars,” the anniversary events will celebrate Quality Rated’s achievements, spotlight some of the providers that have attained star-rated status over the years, and engage with the program’s longstanding stakeholders and partners.

“We’re extremely proud to reach this important milestone in the development of Quality Rated,” said DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs. “The 10th anniversary gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the great progress we’ve made in improving access to and elevating the quality of child care across the state with our star-rated providers and families, as well as with our stakeholders and staff.”

Over the past decade, the Quality Rated star rating has become a symbol of excellence that providers across the state covet and that gives parents confidence that their children are receiving high-quality care and education.

Since 2012 when the first star rating was awarded, the program has grown steadily. As of Aug. 15, 2022, more than 2,850 child care providers are Quality Rated. Additionally, 93% of children with Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) scholarships are enrolled at a Quality Rated provider, putting DECAL ever closer to realizing its vision that all children in Georgia, regardless of their family income or geographic region, have equal access to high-quality early child care and education.

To earn a Quality Rated 1-, 2-, or 3-star rating, a provider must meet the rigorous requirements. Providers demonstrate their commitment to structural quality by submitting a portfolio with:

  • evidence of qualified administrators and staff;
  • high standards for child physical, emotional, and developmental well-being;
  • robust family engagement activities; and
  • intentional teaching practices.

Applicants must also show that they adhere to process quality standards during on-site classroom observations that are conducted by credentialed Quality Rated assessors. During the visits, the assessors evaluate the quality of teacher-child interactions, the accessibility of materials and equipment, and the room’s physical layout.

“We’re proud that so many providers over the past 10 years have accepted the challenge to enhance the quality of child care they deliver to Georgia’s youngest learners and have met the high bar Quality Rated sets for receiving a 1-, 2-, or 3-star rating,” said DECAL Deputy Commissioner for Quality Innovations and Partnerships Bentley Ponder. “These star-rated providers are DECAL’s partners in our mission.”

The Quality Rated anniversary festivities kick off at Truist Park on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 4, when the Atlanta Braves host Quality Rated Day. Jacobs will throw out the first pitch before the Braves take on the Miami Marlins. A group that will include members of the Quality Rated Team and their children will join her on the field for pregame ceremonies.

In addition to the Braves game next month, DECAL will host several anniversary events during the fourth quarter of 2022 recognizing providers that were among the first to become Quality Rated and hold discussions on the future of child care quality assessment and improvement in Georgia with stakeholders and community partners. DECAL will announce details of those events in the coming months.

Listen to a special episode of DECAL Download with details on the Decade of Stars celebration, marking 10 years of Quality Rated in Georgia.

Reg Griffin
DECAL Communications Director

Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director

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Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) 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 Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages Quality Rated, Georgia’s community powered child care rating system.

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