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Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is committed to using current research to inform policy decisions, to identify best practices, and to evaluate program effectiveness. In some cases, the research used is commissioned or conducted by DECAL; in other cases, DECAL uses external research studies conducted by experts in early childhood care and education.

Below are key research reports relating to early care and education in Georgia that were commissioned or conducted by DECAL. Access the reports by clicking on the appropriate title.

Evaluation of Georgia’s Pre-K Program. Researchers at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are currently conducting a series of longitudinal studies that measure the impact of Georgia’s Pre-K Program. Reports and summaries from the studies are found here.

Research Related to the Georgia State Advisory Council. With grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Georgia State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care (now part of the Georgia Children’s Cabinet) commissioned several studies relating to services for Georgia’s children and families. Studies listed here include an exploratory evaluation of Georgia’s Resource and Referral System and a study from the Department of Public Health that looked at the use of health screenings. Other studies funded by the Georgia State Advisory Council are found under Research Related to DECAL’s Child Care Services Division, responsible for licensing, monitoring, and supporting the various types of child care programs in Georgia.

Research Related to the DECAL's Child Care Services Division. Research related to DECAL’s Child Care Services Division includes a study validating the current system for determining if a child care facility is compliant with Georgia’s rules and regulations; a study comparing injury and fatality rates in child care facilities to injury and fatality rates for similarly aged children in the general population; and an in-depth examination of Georgia’s licensing procedures.

Customer Service Survey. DECAL contracted with Georgia State University to conduct a customer satisfaction survey in spring 2012. The report detailing the 2012 findings is available here. A similar survey will be conducted in late spring 2013.

Evaluations of the Summer Transition Program (2010-2013).Beginning in summer 2010, DECAL has implemented a Pre-K Summer Transition Program. Evaluations of previous years of the Summer Transition Program are available here. In 2013, DECAL began piloting a Rising Pre-K Summer Transition Program targeted to dual language learners.

UNC-CH Study of Quality in Georgia (2009-2010). Researchers at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have published three reports from their study of the quality of early care and education across Georgia. The first report focuses on quality in child care centers in infant toddler and preschool (non Georgia’s Pre-K) classrooms. The second report focuses on quality in Georgia’s Pre-K classrooms. The third report focuses on quality in family day care homes. All three reports are available here.

Economic Impact of Child Care Industry (2008). DECAL commissioned researchers from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University to conduct a study of the importance of the early care and education industry to Georgia’s economy. The study, Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry in Georgia, is available here.

If you have questions about or are interested in data or information pertaining to research, contact Dr. Bentley Ponder at or make a formal request at

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