MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - For parents, finding a child care or early learning center can be daunting. But it is getting a little easier thanks to a new state ratings system that will help them find the star quality provider they are looking for.
Quality Rated is the new voluntary system the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is using to show which providers meet a set of standards that go above and beyond the state's minimum licensing requirements. It is similar to rating systems for restaurants and hotels, but it rates the quality of early education programs.
Programs across the Peach State apply and go through a rigorous process to earn a rating. Providers can earn one star, two stars, or three stars.
Kim Renfore is the director of Learning Safari in Milledgeville. She says it took a year for the program to earn its 3-star rating and she is proud of the accomplishment. She says this system is easy for parents to use and helps them make informed decision when it comes to child care.
"This does help, this does help parents look for something, helps them find something that is quality rated," Renfroe said. "Its very important when you're looking for child care that you want the best quality for your child."
Early care providers must go through this quality rated process every three years to keep or improve their ratings. Star-rate programs also receive extra funding from the state to help low income families pay for child care.
According to DECAL, there are almost 1,300 child care programs across the state participating in Quality Rated, including dozens here in Middle Georgia. Click here for more information on the system and to find a provider near you.