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.
Georgia is trying to encourage childcare programs to improve their quality. The state has instituted a new rating system that goes public Monday with one-, two- or three-star ratings for childcare centers. The program is voluntary, but state officials are pushing more centers to participate.
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.
Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign a bill Wednesday that would bring major changes to child care centers across Georgia designed to improve child safety. Legislation passed by the General Assembly calls for every employee of licensed child care facilities to undergo a comprehensive, fingerprint-based background check.