GaFCP Supports DECAL’s Proposed Changes to Current Child Care Services Rules

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The Bright from the Start, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has proposed changes to the current Child Care Services rules that would improve the quality of child-care in this state.

Georgia Family Connection Partnership (GaFCP) and Voices for Georgia’s Children, in a joint letter to DECAL, support the proposed rule changes, especially one that would require directors and lead teachers to have certified credentials in early childhood education effective July 1, 2012.

“Strengthening the quality of providers in this sector is an essential aspect of improving outcomes for the children they serve and proposed credentialing requirements are a step in that direction,” said GaFCP Executive Director Gaye Morris Smith and Voices Executive Director Pat Willis in the letter. “Quite simply, Georgia’s current standards fall short in assuring that directors and teachers in Group Day Care Homes and Child Care Learning Centers are adequately trained on the developmental and pedagogical needs of the young children in their care. We substantially support the proposed rule revisions as a positive change to address this deficiency while giving providers time and resources to meet the new requirements.”

Under this proposed rule change, directors and teachers will have until July 2012 to meet requirements. The Technical Certificate of Training can be completed in six months, and teachers will have several options for completing the coursework, including:

  • online courses,
  • classes at a local technical college, and
  • the possibility of classes at regional sites.

Directors and teachers also will have a range of credential options that include:

  • the Technical Certificate of Training,
  • a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA),
  • paraprofessional certificate,
  • 20 credit hours in early childhood education,
  • an associate’s degree in early childhood education or a related degree, and
  • three months experience in an early childhood setting.

In the letter, Smith and Willis clarify that the required courses for teachers and directors must be scheduled at times and locations that meet the needs of individuals working in child-care services, and that resources must be available to ensure that individuals can access the training they need.

“W e strongly support financial incentives for teachers who seek additional training, and we were happy to learn via your Web site that DECAL has set aside some funds for teachers who attain various credentials,” they wrote.

Smith and Willis in their letter urge DECAL to ensure that resources are available for after-school care providers as well . “Just as very young children have specific health and educational needs, older children have their own unique requirements, and it is appropriate for their providers to be prepared to address these needs. Perhaps other types of training can be made available for providers who specifically serve older children for just a few after-school hours per day. Finally, financial resources and incentives for training after-school care providers are just as important as they are for other providers.”

DECAL announced its proposed rule changes June 19 at a public hearing and called for written comments by July 23, but has extended the period for public comment and will hold community forums in each of the six Child Care Services regions across the state beginning Aug. 18.

At the conclusion of the open dialogue community forum meetings, BFTS will take into account the suggestions received at the community forums as the agency fine tunes the proposed rule revisions.  Thereafter, a final Public Hearing will be scheduled in Macon, Georgia to receive oral and written comments on proposed amendments to Child Care Services rules and regulations.

Anyone who the proposed changes will impact may participate in the community forums. “We must use this opportunity to share information about the options that will be available to teachers and directors, and encourage our communities to provide feedback that will help DECAL address concerns of everyone who will be impacted by the proposed changes,” said Smith. “We’re all aware of the magnitude of providing quality child-care to Georgia’s children. These proposed rule changes are a step in the right direction.”

Get dates and locations for DECAL’s community forums.

Read the letter to DECAL from Voices for Georgia’s Children and GaFCP.

Learn about DECAL’s proposed changes.

Contact:
William Valladares
Communications Coordinator
404-527-7394 (x114)

[email protected]