The agency overseeing child protection will now be headed by the state official credited it with making Georgia’s Pre-K program nationally-known. Gov. Nathan Deal announced Thursday Bobby Cagle will take over State Division of Family and Children Services, or DFCS. Cagle is currently head of the Department of Early Care and Learning, which includes the Pre-K program. The change at DFCS is part of reforms in response to the deaths of two children under the agency’s care. Brian Robinson, Deal’s spokesman, says there’s still much work to be done at the agency.
Georgians who want to work in a licensed child-care center will have to pass a federal fingerprint background check starting January 1st. Currently, child-care workers undergo a state-based check. But officials say that can miss criminal history in other states.
State officials say they're cracking down on child care centers that have been issued safety violations. Department of Early Care and Learning Bobby Cagle said inspectors are taking an especially close look at child care centers that have been cited for transportation issues, including failing to check that children have gotten off of buses and vans.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is getting help from health care organizations and a local university to train specialists on early detection of autism and learning disorders. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the Emory University School of Medicine and the Marcus Autism Center will train the department's infant and toddler specialists to detect and assess developmental disorders during a 12-week program.
Ratings for Georgia childcare programs go online July 1. The Quality Rated program is a voluntary assessment for daycares, preschools and after-school programs that want to show they are going above and beyond the state’s minimum licensing standards in educating young children. That will be represented by a rating of one to three stars.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visits Atlanta Friday to highlight Georgia’s pre-kindergarten programs and the president’s plan to expand access to early learning programs nation wide. The president pointed to Georgia as an example of successful pre-K and early learning opportunities starting in his State of the Union speech and in a subsequent visit to Atlanta.
As temperatures begin to rise, officials from six state agencies are reminding Georgians to never leave children unattended in vehicles. At a press conference Thursday, officials demonstrated how quickly the temperature can rise inside of a closed vehicle.