The quality of a child’s early education creates a chain reaction, affecting the individual children and their families, as well as the overall education system, economy and our future. With this in mind, a team of experts has been working on a quality rating system for Georgia’s early childhood education options since 2006. Quality Rated is Georgia’s system to improve the level of quality in programs that care for children during school hours and after school. Like restaurants, childcare program can earn one, two or three stars by meeting quality standards over and above minimum state child care requirements. As of September 2015, the state has over 700 programs currently Quality Rated. The goals is to have the majority of programs rated by the end of 2017.
In July 2013, Georgia began reimbursing child care programs that were participating in the federal Childcare and Parent Services program based on each program’s quality rating. “CAPS subsidizes child care for children from eligible low-income families and programs with one, two or three stars receive a higher reimbursement than programs not rated,” says Theresa Prestwood, vice president of development and marketing at Quality Care for Children.
Quality Care for Children helps the system in two ways. “We help parents search for and choose child care programs, and they can see if a program is Quality Rated through our child care search (allgakids.org),” Prestwood says. “In addition, Quality Care for Children works in 46 counties across Georgia to assist child care programs that would like to go through the process of being Quality Rated. We assist programs by offering on-site consultation and training.”
This voluntary program, which was designed by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, encourages programs to commit to the higher quality standards that Georgia’s students deserve. For parents, especially those who are relocating to metro Atlanta, QR makes finding quality child care easier by assigning a rating of one, two or three stars to childcare programs that meet set standards. “Ultimately, Quality Rated will improve the quality of child care across Georgia because parents will be asking programs if they are Quality Rated and choosing Quality Rated programs over programs who do not participate,” Prestwood adds. “For families relocating to Georgia, Quality Rated makes finding quality child care simpler.”
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QUALITY CARE FOR CHILDREN
Atlanta, GA 30324