In 2012, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) launched the state’s quality rating and improvement system, Quality Rated. It represented statewide collaborations to raise the quality of care within GA’s early care and education landscape.

DECAL and GEEARS are proud to celebrate Quality Rated’s success and ongoing commitment to improving child care in Georgia. With nearly 3,000 star-rated providers, young children across the state are receiving high-quality care, and educators are supported in their pursuit of excellence.

History of Quality Rated

As the state agency responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is constantly looking for ways to improve the experiences of our state’s youngest students. 


In the late 2000s, a series of independent studies found that Georgia needed bold action to strengthen and increase supports related to its early care and learning programs, classrooms, and workforce. 

Through public and private partnerships, DECAL and its partners, including GEEARS and Georgia Family Connection Partnership, raised $18 million in funds and, in 2012, launched Georgia’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, known as the Quality Rated Child Care program. 

The 129 pioneering providers that earned a 1-, 2-, or 3-star rating by July 2013 and maintained a rating over the subsequent decade have now become known as the Class of 2012

Today, that number has exploded, with more than 3,600 providers participating and nearly 3,000 achieving a rating.

In recent months, DECAL and GEEARS have collaborated on several celebrations of Quality Rated and the Class of 2012. 

  • We created a video honoring the history and discussing the future of Quality Rated. It’s full of inspiring stories and, of course, adorable toddlers. You can view it here.  
  • We staged celebratory events in Dalton, Metro Atlanta, and Valdosta, toasting members of the Class of 2012 with treats, trophies, and speeches from luminaries such as former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Grammy-winning country singer and Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning Board Member Coy Bowles.

What does it mean to be Quality Rated?

The Quality Rated program is voluntary. Child care providers sign up to participate, and their commitment requires meaningful action. They submit to evaluation and assessment by independent, credentialed early education experts to earn a rating of 1, 2, or 3 stars. They commit to working continuously to improve the quality of early care and education they provide.

Even a 1-star rating proves that a provider has gone above and beyond in their improvement efforts, achieving levels of quality that exceed the State’s minimum operating requirements.  

When parents access Quality Rated’s user-friendly Child Care Search Tool or information phone line 1-877-ALLGAKIDS to find a child care program, having a star rating is an assurance of best practices.

Those stars indicate that a provider…

  • engages families;
  • employs qualified and well-trained teachers;
  • provides a safe, healthy, and caring environment with a low teacher-student ratio;
  • implements individualized instruction;
  • offers a curriculum that prepares children for kindergarten;
  • focus on active learning and social-emotional development.


Join the Celebration!

To show our support for Georgia’s Quality Rated early educators, GEEARS is collecting short videos from supporters across the state sending words of congratulations, encouragement, and appreciation to early childhood educators.

Complete the form below to submit a brief (15-30 second) video. The final product will be shared with our network at GEEARS and child care providers across the state.

Click here to view suggested talking points.