Youth Services Law

Changes for Georgia Childcare Centers

Childcare Center

Effective October 1, 2020, Georgia childcare centers have a new set of rules to follow. You can get a copy of the entire set of regulations at the DECAL website. Some of the major changes are:

Mealtimes – New Measures Designed to Prevent Choking

  • Food must be smaller than ¼ inch for infants and ½ inch for toddlers.
  • Close adult supervision during meals to be certain are chewing thoroughly, sitting, not putting too much food in their mouths, etc.
  • Staff must be sitting within arm’s length away from children 36 months or younger during mealtime.

Communicable Diseases

  • No one (parents, children, staff, or visitors) will be allowed in centers if they have a communicable disease or symptoms of a disease.
  • The rule applies to COVID-19, but also illnesses such as MRSA, for which public health officials previously have not recommended quarantine.


  • Staff must be positioned “to maximize their ability to hear and see children at all times” and be able to respond promptly to children.
  • Supervision must be appropriate to “individual age, needs and capabilities of each child.”

Required Reporting

  • Programs must report to DFCS within 24 hours suspected cases of child abuse, neglect, or deprivation. This requirement duplicates Georgia’s mandated reporting requirements.
  • Programs also must report to DECAL within 24 hours or the next work day that they have notified DFCS.
  • Programs must report immediately to DECAL and the local county health department all cases of communicable diseases and all illnesses identified during a public health emergency.
  • Programs must report to DECAL any time its status changes (e.g., closing, temporary closure, reopening).

If you have any questions about navigating the new rules, the Taylor English team is ready and happy to help.

Stay Connected

Subscribe to blog updates via email