For more than 20 years, child care resource and referral services (CCR&R) have been offered in Georgia. The first resource and referral was started in 1983. In 1991, five CCR&R agencies joined together to form the Georgia Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (GACCRRA). In 1993, GACCRRA developed a plan and was funded by the Georgia Child Care Council to provide technical assistance to CCR&R’s and to expand the existing database of child care resources in Georgia. By the end of 1993, 10 CCR&R agencies were in operation in Georgia. Currently, there are 14 community based regional resource and referral agencies that support the mission and continue to form the Georgia Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, Inc. These CCR&R’s are strategically located across the state where the average staffing at a local CCR&R has gone from one to seven, with the largest directing twenty-seven.
While maintaining high quality core services, the staff roles have grown to meet the needs of current trends as identified by funders, parents, providers, communities and stakeholders. The core funding for each of the CCR&R’s, initially provided through the Georgia Child Care Council, has now transitioned to Bright from the Start: The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. Through this funding and guidance and in response to statewide support for growth of targeted services, GACCRRA supported the childhood care and education communities with the addition of Inclusion and Quality Improvement Coordinators to each CCR&R staff over the past few years. Echoing key initiatives of BFTS, much work is currently being done to support and build capacity within the Georgia Training Approval System and build a statewide Technical Assistance Model. As the network agencies continue to focus on state and national trends, they will develop expertise in the areas of School Age Child and Infant/Toddler care.
Historically, DFACS funded GACCRRA to regionally support unregulated providers through training, technical assistance and equipment. In 2002, career coaches started as a regional support of professional development through the CCR&R system and were expanded to 4 positions across the state through the ACET collaborative team grant (ACT). After successful implementation of the ACT Grant, GACCRRA received funding from the Georgia Child Care Council to solidify a network office with an executive director position. This funding was in place for a nine-month period.
GACCRRA has played a key role in the implementation of a number of statewide initiatives funded by other sources to improve access to and increase the quality of child care. There is no other statewide association with more than a decade of regional relationship and infrastructure capacity building that is more poised to impact and enhance accessibility of services. The GACCRRA Network retains a unique position to collect and share information, implement quality initiatives, and advocate for improvement of early care and education at a grassroots level across all of Georgia’s 159 counties.