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Your source for news and information from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. You will hear from Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and special guests to give you an update on all things DECAL.

Your source for news and information from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. You will hear from Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and special guests to give you an update on all things DECAL.
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Your source for news and information from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. You will hear from Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and special guests to give you an update on all things DECAL.






Episode 18 - Preview of 2019 Georgia General Assembly

It’s a big week here on Capitol Hill as the 2019 Georgia General Assembly convenes. There’s a new governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, over 30 new house members, some new senators, new committee chairs. Always an exciting time when the Legislature is in session…even more so this year with the 155th Georgia General Assembly. We'll discuss with Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs, DECAL Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Administration Rian Ringsrud, Director of Government Relations Liz...


Episode 17 - A Chat with First Lady Sandra Deal

On November 30, 2018, Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal celebrated a milestone in her eight-year commitment to serving our state’s youngest learners and their families. On that day, she visited her 1,000th school since Governor Deal took office in 2011. Now, as the Deals prepare to leave office, we grab a few minutes with Mrs. Deal at the Governor's Mansion.


Episode 16 - A Chat with Commissioner Jacobs

Happy New Year! It is officially 2019, and we thought we would look back on 2018 today…with a look ahead to 2019 as well. From CAPS and Child Care Georgia's Pre-K Program and Quality Nutrition, Inclusion, the 2019 Legislative Session, and more!


Episode 15 - Update on Quality Rated

In January, 2012, Georgia launched a voluntary system to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care and education programs. Within a year, Quality Rated had over 1,100 early learning programs participating and that number has continued to grow. Let's get an update from Deputy Commissioner for System Reform Kristin Bernhard and and Quality Rated Policy and Partnership Director Laura Wagner.


Episode 14 - DECAL Online with CIO Craig Detweiler

There was a time when to interact with a government agency you had to travel to a physical location. The Internet has made that a thing of the past and now DECAL's virtual front door can be found on your laptop or even smartphone at For parents, providers, and the general public, there are so many ways to reach DECAL without leaving your home or office. Learn more in this conversation with Chief Information Officer Craig Detweiler.


Episode 13 - Response to Hurricane Michael

In October, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle and then slammed into parts of Southwest and Central Georgia. The hurricane had a major impact on Georgia’s cotton, pecan, and timber crops and caused structural damage to homes and businesses, including child care programs across some 20 counties. We were able to help children and families through DECAL Nutrition Services and the Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning.


Episode 12 - Customer Service

While many of our DECAL team members interact with providers and parents face-to-face in the field, we take a lot of phone calls every day across all of our divisions and always strive to provide excellent customer service. Today we are talking with two members of our team known for providing excellent customer service: Renee Lind is Scholarship Administration Manager for Special Teams in the CAPS Program and Abby Mozo is a User Support Representative with the Georgia Professional...


Episode 11 - Quality Rated Grants

DECAL partners with Quality Rated Child Care Providers around the state to offer Quality Rated Subsidy Grants, which pay higher reimbursement to two and three-star child care programs and benefit qualified families by charging zero family fees for the child who is participating. Today we will learn more about Quality Rated Subsidy Grants from Taijha Harden, Subsidy Manager, and Laura Wagner, Quality Rated Policy and Partnership Director.


Episode 10 - Best Places to Eat in Georgia

Thanksgiving Week seems like a good time to discuss food...and we mean really discuss food, as in the Best Places to Eat in Georgia. As a state agency, our employees travel A LOT, especially our consultants working with providers and parents through CAPS, Child Care Services, Georgia’s Pre-K Program, Quality Rated, Nutrition and so much more! For this episode, we’re calling upon some bonafide culinary experts, Deputy Commissioner for System Reform Kristin Bernhard and Chief Legal Officer Ira...


Episode 9 - Person First Language

“Person First Language” is a different way of thinking about the words we use when we’re talking to or about people with disabilities. In this episode we learn more about this topic from Brandy Locchetta, Inclusion Manager here at DECAL. We'll even take a quiz to see how much we know...and how much we have to learn!


Episode 8 - Criminal Background Checks in Georgia

In January, 2014, DECAL began implementing a state law requiring all employees in Georgia's child care programs to undergo a national criminal background check based on fingerprints. For the next two years, DECAL is paying the cost of the initial national fingerprint scan for eligible early care and education workers. Learn more about this law from DECAL Chief Legal Officer Ira Sudman and Legal Services Supervisor Christie Bearden.


Episode 7 - Inside Scoop with the Commissioner's Executive Assistant

Scheduler, assistant, gatekeeper. Maybe the way to really get to know Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs is to get to know her Executive Assistant and Board Liaison Quandra Collins. Hear what happens behind the scenes at DECAL and then take a quiz on how well Quandra really knows the Commissioner.


Episode 6 - Meet Pam Stevens from Child Care Services

Pam Stevens is our new Deputy Commissioner for Child Care Services, but you may know her from Quality Rated, or her years as a teacher, behavior specialist, or child care director. Learn more about Pam and this important role in the licensing and regulating of child care programs in Georgia.


Episode 5 - Open Enrollment at DECAL

Monday is the start of the Annual Open Enrollment for the 2019 Plan Year of the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). Open Enrollment starts October 15 and runs through November 2. Learn more from Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs and Sabrina Henry, HR Operations Supervisor at DECAL.


Episode 4 - Georgia's Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) Program

The Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program has been serving Georgia’s children and families since 1972. The program is funded federally by the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), also known as the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). In recent years, the program moved to DECAL from the Division of Family and Children Services. Elisabetta Kasfir is the Deputy Commissioner for Federal Programs.


Episode 3 - Georgia Pre-K Week

We talk with Deputy Commissioner for Georgia's Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports Susan Adams about Georgia Pre-K Week, October 1-5, 2018. Now in its eighth year, Georgia Pre-K Week is coordinated by Voices for Georgia’s Children, a policy and advocacy non-profit organization. The goal of Pre-K week is to emphasize the importance of quality early childhood education by providing opportunities for leaders to engage with Pre-K classrooms in local communities.


Episode 2 - Introducing the Georgia Foundation for Early Care + Learning

The Georgia Foundation for Early Care and Learning makes strategic investments to improve and expand high-quality early education to help ensure all children in Georgia are prepared to succeed when they enter kindergarten regardless of family income or location. Our guests today include Executive Director Carrie Ashbee and Advancement and Donor Relations Coordinator Sarah Tinsley.


Episode 1 - Chat with Commissioner Jacobs

Governor Nathan Deal appointed Amy M. Jacobs as Interim Commissioner of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning in June 2014. In January 2015, she was sworn in as permanent commissioner. Commissioner Jacobs leads the agency responsible for the early care and education of hundreds of thousands of Georgia’s children. She oversees an annual budget of $700 million for programs focused on child care licensing, child and adult care nutrition, child care quality, and...