Summary Key Insights and Recommendations for DECAL's Comprehensive Review of Quality Rated
Teresa Derrick-Mills, Elly Miles, Anna Farr
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Under contract from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), an Urban Institute team gathered perspectives to inform DECAL’s comprehensive review of its quality rating and improvement system called Quality Rated. Throughout 2023, the Urban team gathered insights through surveys of Quality Rated participating providers and Quality Rated nonparticipating providers, focus groups of Georgia parents of children from birth through age 13, and Data Walks with a variety of Georgia stakeholders.

This summary provides an overview of findings on what quality means, the benefits of and barriers to participating in Quality Rated, the system’s fairness, and suggestions for improving the system. This is the first of several products in 2024 where we will release findings from this study.

Here are our Urban team’s six forward-looking recommendations to DECAL for improving Quality Rated:

  1. Verify system goals and shape the system to meet them. Every decision, system element, process, and strategy should be linked to one of Quality Rated’s core goals.
  2. Simplify but tailor to match many strengths and diverse needs. System elements and processes should align with the strengths of home- and center-based providers and support equitable and inclusive access for all children, including those with special or diverse needs.
  3. Reframe the system to reflect and support experiences of children, families, and providers. Resources should be allocated to compensate for gaps or greater challenges in particular communities.
  4. Consider how and how often to verify those experiences. Verification that programs are meeting standards should occur collaboratively and continuously to support ongoing learning and improvement.
  5. Provide more education, more continuously, about Quality Rated. Materials and strategies should be developed to routinely share with parents and providers to accommodate ongoing transitions in and out of the child care system.
  6. Consider where to strengthen links with other programs or systems. The key goals of the system should be held in mind when considering the perspectives and findings raised by this project.
Research Areas Children and youth Families Education
Tags Child care Early childhood education Child care and early childhood education Child care and workers Children's health and development
Policy Centers Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population
Research Methods Quantitative data analysis Qualitative data analysis Participatory research
States Georgia
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