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Local GDCH receives 2-Stars in Ga.’s Quality Rated Program

AMERICUS — Jackie’s Lil’ Tooty Tots Group Day Care Home is among the first child care programs in Georgia to be “Quality Rated” through a new state of Georgia initiative designed to help parents in selecting quality early education programs. The center recently received 2-stars, demonstrating a commitment to exceed the state’s minimum health and safety requirements.  The process also involves independent observations of each classroom.
Jackie Holmes has been in the child care business for over 20 years.
“We have many lasting memories of Sumter County’s growing generations of families.” she said. “We continue each day to strive and seek opportunity for higher quality in order to meet the health, safety, and developmental needs of our children and families.”
“I believe education offers one of the premier ways of attracting businesses, retaining businesses and watching them and the Georgia economy thrive,” said Governor Nathan Deal. “As much as Quality Rated will benefit Georgia and our economy, it also sets our state’s children up for success — and that is equally as important. By giving parents a way to distinguish between low-quality child care and great child care, we can ensure our youngest learners receive a jump start on life.”
“From birth to five years old, a child’s brain can make 700 new connections per second and a high quality early education program can partner with parents to build a foundation for success in these critical early years,” said Amy M. Jacobs, Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. “Quality Rated is our new community-powered early education rating system that identifies which early childhood education programs have a commitment to quality. Right Place … Bright Future. That’s Quality Rated.”
Ratings are posted for public inspection at www.qualityrated.org and the DECAL web site www.decal.ga.gov. DECAL said close to 2,000 child care programs are participating in Quality Rated, with 476 programs now rated.
Programs choosing to participate in Quality Rated become eligible for free professional development, technical assistance, and financial incentive packages supported by foundations and businesses.  Star- rated programs will receive tiered bonuses in the state/federal reimbursements they receive from Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) Program, which provides subsidized child care for low income families.
For answers to questions about Quality Rated, call the Quality Rated Help Desk at 1-855-800-7747 or connect with child care resources at www.allgakids.org or by calling the toll-free number 1-877-ALL GA KIDS.

About Bright from the Start
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning 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 voluntary quality enhancement programs.
The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education. For more information, go to www.decal.ga.gov