Daycare quality scores go live online

Children at New Birth Learning Institution. / Jessica Fairley

When it comes to daycare, the choice of where to send a child is one of the most important decisions a parent can make.

As of Monday, parents can go online and check out daycare center ratings to see how their child's daycare ranks.

"What we need parents to do is ask is my child's daycare center a Quality Rated center or family home and if it's not, why not?" said Soraya Kimbrel, Director of the southwest Child Care Resource and Referral center.

So far in southwest Georgia there are 12 centers ranked according to Quality Rated standards. New Birth Learning Institution is the first center in Dougherty County to receive a score.

"Quality rated says that this center has gone above and beyond what state regulations require," said Lisa Johnson, New Birth Learning Institution Director.

Out of a three level ratings system, New Birth scored a one, which is rated among the top percentile in the state.

"You have real early learning going on in your classroom, you have great child teacher interaction, you have low child staff ratios, your health and safety is top priority," said Soraya Kimbrel.

Precious Angels Daycare and three other Lowndes County child care facilities received a three. That's the highest score that any facility can achieve. Mother's Love Too and five other southwest Georgia centers received a two.

New Birth officials say as they have achieved a level one ranking, they will now strive to build their score.

"We're always striving for better. Wherever we see the opportunity to make a difference more so in the lives of our children that's what we're going to do," said Cheryhl Hill, New Birth Learning Institution Administrator.

As the center increases its ranking, it'll be compensated by the state for its achievements. For reaching a level one Quality Rated standard, New Birth will receive approximately $7,000.

Facilities that service low income families through Georgia's Childcare and Parent Services program will receive an additional stipend each month based on their ranking.