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Quality Rated, Georgia's Quality Rating and Improvement System
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.
As of November 2017, Quality Rated has rated a total of 1,425 programs. With the Quality Rated system, Georgia provides greater access to high quality care to prepare children for long-term success in, school, work and life.
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. Parents are able to view childcare provider ratings on the DECAL website.
As of June 2016, Quality Rated child care learning centers, family day care homes and group day care homes are eligible to receive higher Childcare and Parent Services (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. In January of 2017, Governor Nathan Deal allocated $5.5 million in his budget in order to increase the reimbursements to high quality child care providers participating in the CAPS program. This model of tiered reimbursement will encourage child care providers to enhance the quality of care they provide and will reward them for their efforts.