Georgia won $51.7 M in the Early Learning Challenge Fund grant which will be administered over a four year grant period. There are many components of this grant, with a primary focus of a broad expansion of Quality Rated. DECAL has proposed in the grant that all centers involved in receiving Pre-K monies, subsidy or food program will need to be participating in QR. The GCCA is working with DECAL to define what “participation” means. Currently centers that are non-compliant cannot participate so the stakes are very high. We will be meeting and asking to assemble provider focus groups to further discuss the implication of their execution of this, including a proposed “no-star” center . For more information on the Early Challenge Fund Grant
Currently, there are 1300 programs participating in QR with the goal of 1755 by year end.
GCCA has met with DECAL on a QR marketing work group to add valuable input to improve the level of provider marketing support received from the department. Both collateral and social media improvements were suggested which should be implemented in the fall.
Another grant component is the operation of “Economic Empowerment Zones” (Ez3’s) which are four specific zones to be determined by DECAL in Sept. These areas will gain preferred tax advantages and align additional support for businesses operating early care learning centers which care for a high percentage of at risk child population. This process has already been underway and is wrapping up as we speak.