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State celebrates 10 years of Quality Rated Child Care program in Dalton

The Daily Citizen - 10/27/2022

Oct. 27—Founded in 1957, Dalton'sFriendship House has provided daycare and preschool services to area families for some 65 years.

Friendship House already had the trust and confidence of Dalton residents. But Friendship House Director Mary Thelma Norris said Georgia's Quality Rated Child Care program, founded 10 years ago, has added to that confidence. That program assesses Georgia's daycare providers and certifies them if they meet certain standards.

"We voluntarily went after the highest level of accreditation Georgia offers," she said. "We have always sought out the best practices, always tried to be better. Having that Quality Rated designation shows that we meet the highest standards."

The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), which operates the Quality Rated program, is hosting a series of statewide celebrations commemorating the 10th anniversary of the program, including visits to daycare providers that have earned accreditation under the program.

Those celebrations kicked off on Monday when state officials visited Friendship House and the Whitfield County-Dalton Day Care Center. They later had a lunch at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy.

"We at the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning are excited to be in Dalton to begin celebrating the 10th anniversary of Quality Rated," said DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs. "Since its inception in 2012, Quality Rated has significantly impacted the quality of child care offered in our state, and we are proud to recognize child care programs here in Northwest Georgia committed to providing high-quality care to children and families in their communities. We look forward to similar celebrations this year in Atlanta and Valdosta."

At Friendship House, the officials visited and talked with students and teachers in the prekindergarten program and toured the W. Norris Little Nursery.

"He (Little) really made it possible for us to have this building and be at this location," said Norris. "He led the fundraising. He really didn't want any honors, but we wanted to show our appreciation and named this room after him."

To find out more about Friendship House, go to To find out more about Georgia's Quality Rated Child Care program, go to


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