The Georgia Child Care Council
In 1992, Georgia Governor Zell Miller fulfilled his campaign promise to bolster educational support through the creation of a state lottery. The proceeds of the lottery funded several college scholarships and a voluntary Pre-K program. By April of 2004 Georgia's early education programs had grown so large that the Georgia General Assembly and Governor Sonny Perdue decided to create Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL).
DECAL officially came into being in October 2004 and assumed the responsibilities of the Georgia Child Care Council as well as the Office of School Readiness and parts of the Department of Human Resources and Department of Education.
DECAL is currently in charge of the state's Pre-K program, administering federal child nutrition programs, and licensing child care facilities and programs. The Department of Human Resources still provides oversight for the child care subsidy program and is in charge of the Child Care and Development Block Grant for the state.
Department of Early Care and Learning Programs
DECAL is involved with several initiatives that are designed to improve child care and learning throughout Georgia. Several of these programs are described below:
- Quality Improvement - DECAL has an established Quality Continuum that it uses to rank early care providers in Georgia. Providers that are not meeting their quality goals can receive technical assistance from DECAL to improve their programs and move up on the continuum.
- Child and Adult Food Care Program - This service distributes federal funds to programs that provide children or adults who are in day care with nutritious food. The money comes from the United States Department of Agriculture and, in Georgia, is administered by DECAL.
- Child Care - DECAL is involved in evaluating and improving child care programs in Georgia. For a list of certified child care programs or information on how to improve your program please contact DECAL.
- Even Start - The William F. Goodling Even Start Family Literacy Program provides federal funds to low-income families to improve both child and adult literacy. The three goals of the program are to improve the literacy of parents, to help parents educate their children, and to assist children in learning to read.
- Head Start - The Head Start program is a collaboration between DECAL and the federal government to give low-income families equal access to early childhood education programs.
- Pre-K - Georgia has one of the best funded Pre-K systems in the U.S. DECAL helps evaluate, fund, and administer Pre-K programs in Georgia and works to expand their availability to all children in the state.
- Provider Training - Child care providers who wish to receive training can utilize DECAL's provider training program. DECAL's training helps individuals learn the best ways to aid children during their early development.
- Summer Food Services Program - The Summer Food Services Program allows sponsors to use DECAL-approved sites to serve meals to children in low-income areas when schools are closed for the summer. This program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by DECAL.
Contact the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning
10 Park Place South SE, Suite 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Phone: (404) 656-5957 or (888) 442-7735
Fax: (404) 651-7184