Georgia

QRIS State Profile

This profile is from the QRIS Compendium—a comprehensive resource for information about all of the QRIS operating in the U.S. and its Territories. It was developed by a partnership of the BUILD Initiative, the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative, and Child Trends.

QRIS Resource Guide Examples

Initial Design Process

Georgia's Systemic Approach to QRIS Design and Implementation

Georgia began work to create its QRIS, Quality Rated, with a strategic plan that would help the state “ensure access to high quality early care and education by laying a foundation of learning and school readiness [to support] future success for all [of] Georgia’s children.” The system was research-based and informed by Georgia stakeholders and national experts. First, Georgia stakeholders and partners gathered to identify quality standards and indicators for Georgia programs. Key research partners from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill then conducted an evaluation of quality in Georgia with a representative sample of child care programs from across the state. They provided baseline quality assessments of the early care and education (ECE) system in three Georgia settings: child care learning centers in infant/toddler and preschool classrooms, Georgia’s prekindergarten classrooms, and family day care homes. The findings from those evaluations presented the case for implementing the QRIS; the data were also used to determine the feasibility of the tools for measuring the standards and indicators.

Georgia strengthened other aspects of the ECE system to support the QRIS, including the early learning standards, the child care resource and referral (CCR&R) system, inter-rater reliability, and the subsidy program. For example, revisions to early learning standards emerged from a yearlong empirical study assessing the quality and completeness of existing standards and their alignment with critical documents such as Georgia’s Pre-K Content Standards, Kindergarten Through Third Grade Performance Standards, and Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. Experts used the principles of implementation science to examine Georgia’s CCR&R system and prepare to more closely realign services to the needs of their QRIS. They conducted a broad-based study of the potential fiscal impact of QRIS standards on child care programs, giving the state a cost model that guided decisions about standards and financial supports that would be critical for programs to achieve those standards. To ensure the integrity of licensing as a foundation of the QRIS, they conducted an inter-rater reliability study of licensing visits. Finally, they did a thorough examination of their Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) subsidy program by convening a state-level task force to review all policies and procedures. The task force made recommendations for revisions that would connect CAPS policies to other key ECE initiatives in Georgia, including the QRIS. For Georgia, ECE is a system in which all components must align and connect.

Provider Incentives and Support

Georgia's Dept. of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) Used Cohort Model in Recruitment to Quality Rated

Recognizing its early care and education system was composed of many subsystems, Georgia created a technical assistance cohort model to help the various subsystems move through the Quality Rated process. In its recruitment process, Georgia grouped child care programs by cohorts such as franchise systems, corporate chains, faith-based groups, Head Start, family child care associations, Montessori programs, and so on. A dedicated staff person was assigned to each cohort to facilitate their progress in Quality Rated. For example, the staff facilitator arranged for the directors and teachers to meet with the Professional Development Registry staff and have an onsite review of the program staff’s credentials. Cohort participants benefited from targeted technical assistance, system-level support for quality reform, professional networks to support continuous quality improvement, and ongoing professional growth. The staff facilitators’ work with the corporations often resulted in changes in the corporation’s policies. The approach was, “How do we help your system with our system?

Data Collection and Evaluation

Georgia Built Its Own Data System to Manage QRIS

Georgia had a comprehensive online data system to manage the entire QRIS process from a child care program’s application to the QRIS, Quality Rated, to data collection and analysis including program information; training and technical assistance from registration to tracking; portfolio submission including a continuous quality improvement (CQI) plan; incentives management; resources for families, programs, and technical assistance and training professionals; reports and data; and communication. The system captured all information on a child care program and allowed the program to track its progress through the process from application to rating. The development of the system was guided by Georgia’s work with their researcher, the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, which helped them develop a logic model as well as a validation and evaluation plan for their QRIS. The Institute also helped them create a data dictionary and reports. The system was used by Quality Rated staff, technical assistance and training staff, child care resource and referral agencies, programs enrolled in Quality Rated, incentive partners, the research team, and most importantly, families seeking child care and resources.