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1. What is Compliance at a Glance?

Compliance at a Glance is a useful dashboard for parents to better understand and access the information collected through child care inspections and monitoring. Our hope is that creating a more graphical interface with parent-friendly language will increase the reports’ usefulness and help parents make more informed child care choices.

2. What is enforcement and compliance?

Enforcement - DECAL staff use a variety of enforcement actions to encourage and support compliance with the Bright from the Start Rules for Child Care Learning Centers and Family Child Care Learning Homes. These enforcement actions include citations at regulatory visits, developing plans of improvement, providing technical assistance and training, and holding office conferences. If it is determined that serious or continued noncompliance exists or a provider does not comply with a specific rule or law, such as the requirement to pay an annual license fee, another type of enforcement action may be taken. These enforcement actions are penalties that are allowed or directed by rules and/or laws that are issued to a provider.
Compliance - the empirical designation that measures the ability of a program to meet the basic health and safety rules. While licensing rules were created and are monitored to reduce risk to children and ensure that children are in healthy and safe environments. A designation does not mean that children are more likely to be injured nor does a designation mean that children will never be injured, it simply provides a retrospective measure of whether a program has a sufficiently met that states licensing rules.

3. What are the different types of visits?

A Licensing Study is an annual on-site rule-by-rule inspection of a child care program to assess compliance with current rules and regulations.
A Monitoring Visit is an on-site, annual inspection to evaluate core rules and to determine whether previous noncompliance has been corrected.
A Complaint and Incident investigation is conducted to investigate allegations of rule violations.
A Technical Assistance visit is conducted to provide resources and assistance such as coaching, modeling, training, and providing guidance to child care programs.

4. What are the different types of programs:

Before you visit a facility, know that there are two types of child care programs in Georgia:
Family Child Care Learning Home
A program that operates in a private residential home. It provides care for 3 children, but no more than 6 for pay, under the age of 13, for less than 24 hours (may be open for 24 hours but may not care for an individual child for 24 hours).
Child Care Learning Centers
A program operated by an individual or business that provides group care for pay. These have seven or more children under 18 years of age, for less than 24 hours.

5. Which rules are evaluated during a visit?

All rules are subject to evaluation during all regulatory visits. Specifically, Core rules are evaluated during every regulatory visit. Core Rules are specific rules within identified rule categories that have been identified as having the greatest impact on the health and safety to children in care.

  • During an annual licensing study, all the rules are checked.
  • During monitoring visits, “Core Rules” (rules identified to have the highest impact on health and safety) are checked.
  • During follow-up visits and complaint and incident investigations, only certain specific rules are checked.
  • Prior violations are followed up on no matter what the visit type is and will include a statement on the current visit indicating the violation was “Corrected” or “Re-Cited”.

6. What is the difference between a core rule and non-core rule?

Core Rules are specific rules within identified rule categories that have been identified as having the greatest impact on the health and safety to children in care. These rules are evaluated by Child Care Services Consultants during every regulatory visit at the facility and impact the overall compliance determination of the program.

7. How is a compliance zone designation determined?

The compliance zone designation is a summary measure of a program’s twelve month monitoring performance history, as it pertains to child care health and safety rules. A programs compliance designation will be based on any regulatory visit conducted over the last 12 months.

8. How often does compliance change?

Compliance is based on a rolling designation to ensure fairness to providers: A program’s compliance designation will be based on any licensing visit conducted over the last 12 months and not a calendar 12 months. For example, if a program was visited on May 1, 2021, the compliance is determined based on visits conducted between May 1, 2020, and May 1, 2021.

9. How many compliance zone designations exist?

There are three compliance zone designations:

  • Good Standing
  • Support
  • Deficient

10. How is the State Average Rule Violations determined?

The average is determined by taking the total number of rule violations and the number of all open children care programs during a fiscal year.

11. I looked under the More Details section to see what rule violation was noted during the year and it appears that the child care program corrected the violation. How does DECAL determine this was corrected?

Rule violations are determined to be corrected based on observations during the next regulatory visit.

12. When I selected a child care program six months ago the program was in Good Standing and now they are in Support compliance zone, how was this determined?

Compliance is a rolling designation, looking at all regulatory visits within the last 12 months. If the compliance zone changed, the program likely had a regulatory visit since you last viewed the program. You can look under the fiscal year to see visits completed and then More Details to view the specific rule violations.

13. What does a quality program look like?

Quality child care offers a stimulating, nurturing environment where children are kept healthy and safe. Quality child care uses teaching methods based on each child’s age and stage of development while valuing a child’s family, language and culture.

14. Where can I find information on quality licensed child care?

Please visit to search for high quality licensed care in your area. Any program with a star rating participates in Georgia’s Quality Rated and has agreed to meet standards that exceed the licensing requirements. While any rated program is of high quality, the stars mean:

  • One star - Program has demonstrated a commitment to meeting standards that exceed state health and safety requirements, meets several quality benchmarks, and scores sufficiently on the independent observation.
  • Two stars - Program has demonstrated a commitment to meeting standards that exceed state health and safety requirements, meets many quality benchmarks, and scores well on the independent observation.
  • Three stars - Program has demonstrated a commitment to meeting standards that exceed state health and safety requirements, meets numerous quality benchmarks, and scores high on the independent observation.

15. What are some questions that I should ask when touring a potential provider?

Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions a family will make. Families should base their decisions on actual observations. We have developed a Child Care Checklist to help identify important aspects about a program to consider and questions to ask when visiting a potential child care program. Identify the questions on the checklist that are most important to you and ask them during your visit to a program. GADecal-QR-ChoosingChildCare-Form.pdf

16. Who should I contact if I have a question about the Compliance at a Glance dashboard or concerns with a child care program?

You may contact the Georgia Department of Early Care & Learning (DECAL) at 404-657-5562 or at An intake consultant will be available to answer your questions and if you have concerns that are potential rule violations, a complaint can be filed and an investigation will be conducted.