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Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) invites eligible child care programs to participate in Quality Rated, Georgia’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system. Quality Rated is an exciting, innovative effort to enhance the quality of services child care programs provide to children and families in their communities and to provide information to help families make informed decisions about their child care needs.

Quality Rated is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs. Similar to rating systems for other service-related industries, quality ratings will be awarded to programs that meet defined program standards that go beyond Georgia’s minimum licensing requirements.

During 2012, DECAL will study the Quality Rated process, analyze the rating system, and listen to participants’ feedback . A participating program’s quality rating will NOT be publicized during the first 12-18 months of Quality Rated. If a child care program participates in Quality Rated in 2012, the program will receive support services, will learn about the various components of its quality rating, and will provide valuable feedback to DECAL . DECAL plans to further support programs participating in Quality Rated by implementing tiered reimbursement in 2013 when quality ratings are published.

Statistics for programs currently participating in Quality Rated as of 8/4/2015:

  • Total # of Programs: 2342
    • Total Child Care Centers: 1476
    • Total Family Day Care Home Programs: 715
    • Total Group Day Care Home Programs: 88
  • Total # of children enrolled in participating programs: 148,917
  • Total # of individuals signed up for Quality Rated Orientation: 2532

To learn more about Quality Rated, sign up for a Quality Rated orientation session sponsored by your local child care resource and referral agency by clicking the following link:

Or visit the Quality Rated webpage at where eligible programs can begin the application process. For answers to questions about Quality Rated, call the Quality Rated Help Desk at 1-855-800-7747.

Supporting Professional Development

The Georgia Professional Development Registry (PDR) is an innovative resource developed especially for early care and education professionals by Bright from the Start. The PDR is a state-of-the-art, research-based professional development system available to all of Georgia’s early childhood educators to track their educational achievements, training, and certification as they advance in their careers. The PDR includes a Georgia Professional Standards Commission assigned career level/early childhood credential that is required for all Pre-K teachers and is available to all educators free of charge.

For more information on the PDR, visit the Professional Development Registry page.

Looking to Further Your Education?

Are you interested in earning a credential, enrolling in a technical college, or pursuing a degree at a four-year school. Perhaps you want to learn more about caring for children with special needs or about age-appropriate practices – something specific you can use right now. Do you have questions about financial support if you decide to increase your education? Everyone has different goals and different questions.

In addition to your personal and professional goals, remember: effective December 2012 all staff in programs licensed or registered with Bright from the Start must meet new educational requirements. Review the CCS Rules and Regulations for more information.

Bright from the Start’s SCHOLARSHIPS program, managed by Care Solutions, can help you:

  • Identify educational options in the early childhood education field
  • Identify on-site and online early childhood education credential or degree programs
  • Identify steps needed to enroll in a college or university
  • Complete an application for assistance through SCHOLARSHIPS
  • Identify other sources of financial aid
For more information, visit the Scholarships and Incentives page or call 770-642-6722 or 800-227-3410.

The SCHOLARSHIPS Program provides educational assistance for Georgia’s early care and educational professionals pursuing credentials or degrees in early childhood education or child development. SCHOLARSHIPS assists eligible applicants with tuition and mandatory fees and provide a support stipend directly to the recipient. SCHOLARSHIPS recipients may enroll in a Technical College System of Georgia institution or any HOPE-eligible public or private college or university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Eligible institutions must offer an approved program of study. Recipients may pursue a technical college certificate, diploma/degree or an associate or bachelor degree. For more information visit the Scholarships and Incentives page or

The INCENTIVES Program is a salary supplement program that rewards early care and education professionals in Georgia for their educational attainment and for remaining employed in the same child care program for 12 consecutive months. Payments range from $250 to $1,250 depending on the level of education attained. Approved applicants receive two equal payments at each progressively higher level of education achieved. For more information visit the Scholarships and Incentives page or

Assistance in Achieving National Accreditation
Child care programs wanting to earn or renew national accreditation may receive services funded by Bright from the Start. Bright from the Start supports program improvement by funding organizations to provide accreditation facilitation services to help child care programs meet national standards of quality including National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for child care centers, National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC) for family child care providers, the Council on Accreditation (COA) for after school programs, and other comparable national accrediting organizations. For more information visit the Assistance in Seeking National Accreditation page.

Infant/Toddler Network
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning has developed an Infant Toddler Specialist Network in Georgia.

The Network’s goals are to improve the quality of services and education and increase positive outcomes for infants and toddlers in early care and education programs in Georgia by:

  • Supporting the professional development of the infant toddler workforce by increasing the availability of infant toddler course work and training, and
  • Building a network of infant toddler specialists to support early care and education providers serving infants and toddlers.

Programs serving infants and toddlers will be identified through a selection process to receive training and on-site technical assistance from an Infant Toddler Specialist. Participating programs will be assessed using the Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale-Revised Edition (ITERS-R) and the Program Assessment Rating Scale (PARS) to determine quality improvements as demonstrated through practice change. In order to participate, programs must be willing to sign an agreement with the expectation that they will make programmatic and policy changes related to best practice in infant toddler care.

Supporting Parents with Child Care Needs
Parent and caregivers can connect with child care resources by contacting the statewide parent referral system at or toll-free at 1-877-ALL GA KIDS (1-877-255-4254). Parents can speak to an informed staff member about individualized referrals to child care options in local communities throughout Georgia.

Information from Bright from the Start’s website and the statewide parent referral system will equip parents with clear, concise, objective data on licensing standards and quality that can help them make informed decisions about child care.

For more information and to begin your search click here.

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