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Column: Quality of state’s child-care centers ‘eroding’

By Maria Saporta
Published in the ABC on Friday, June 15, 2012

The quality of child care in Georgia experienced a decline for the fourth year in a row, according to a new report that is to be released June 15. The statewide survey was conducted by the Atlanta-based nonprofit group Quality Care for Children.

The nonprofit conducted its fourth annual survey of child-care centers in February and March, interviewing nearly 900 providers.

The economic downturn has meant that Georgia’s child-care programs are facing revenue declines making them unable to invest in their facilities, staff and services.

The results showed that 65 percent of the centers and 68 percent of the family providers said they are planning to delay needed improvement to facilities again this year.

Also, 46 percent of the child-care centers indicated they had reduced their staff, and more than 70 percent had to cut their staff hours in 2011.

“Child-care centers have less to invest to support quality programs,” said Pam Tatum, CEO of Quality Care for Children. “Quality is eroding, and quality was not good before the downturn.”

The number of licensed child-care providers in Georgia has also declined — 771 in 2011 alone. Of those, 601 were family child-care programs; 140 were child-care centers and 30 were group homes. A total of about 20,000 children in the state were impacted.

According to Bright from the Start, Georgia had 3,500 child-care centers and 5,300 family child-care homes in May 2009. Today, Georgia has 3,000 child-care learning centers and 3,100 family child-care centers.

“The biggest decline has been in family child care,” Tatum said. “We think child care is an important part of Georgia’s infrastructure, and we should be investing in it.”

Tatum, however, said that there is one “bright spot” in Georgia’s child-care landscape. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning has implemented a new quality rating system of child-care centers. That gives parents the tools to know which centers are offering the highest-quality child care.

Atlanta Dream addition

The Atlanta Dream, the WNBA team, has added Kim Shreckengost to its advisory board. Shreckengost is executive vice president and chief of staff for the AMB Group, the parent company of the Atlanta Falcons.

“The Atlanta Dream consistently puts together a team of highly athletic and professional women on and off the court,” Shreckengost said in a statement. “The game day experience is high-energy and entertaining, and the team plays at the highest levels of the WNBA. I’m proud to be a fan, and honored to be able to further support the Atlanta Dream as a member of the Advisory Board.”

Shreckengost is responsible for communications, public relations and information technology at the Falcons. She also holds similar responsibilities at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.

Deloitte IMPACT Day

Deloitte held its annual IMPACT Day on June 8, and 1,400 of its employees from Atlanta participated in volunteer projects throughout the city. Deloitte has a total of 2,000 employees in Atlanta. The annual event takes place right after the close of the firm’s fiscal year, which is at the end of May.

“The Atlanta office was the beginning of IMPACT Day 13 years ago,” said Ed Heys Jr., the firm’s office managing partner for Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. Now the volunteer initiative has spread to Deloitte’s offices around the country and even world.

More recently, Deloitte has began to focus its volunteerism on “skills-based work,” providing nonprofit organizations with its professional services of consulting, accounting and auditing.

On June 8, Deloitte invited the executives of major nonprofit organizations in Atlanta to undergo some leadership training on how to manage change.

“We’ve provided $2 million in pro bono, skills-based services since 2008,” Heys said. “It’s a great thing to do.”

New Medshare COO

MedShare, a Decatur-based nonprofit that delivers surplus medical supplies to underserved populations around the world, has hired Charles Redding as its new chief operating officer — succeeding Josh Kravitz.

Redding joined MedShare after spending 23 years with Johnson & Johnson, most recently as its vice president of global manufacturing operations for Mentor Corp., a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based supplier of medical products that was acquired by Johnson & Johnson.

Redding is a native of Atlanta who received a degree in chemical engineering in 1985 from Georgia Tech.

Shepherd donors honored

The Shepherd Center will thank Lewis and Faye Manderson, two longtime supporters of the hospital, at a reception on June 15.

The hospital has commissioned sculptors to create busts of the couple, which will be added next to those of the Shepherd Center’s founders, its medical directors and Home Depot co-founder and donor Bernie Marcus and his wife, Billi. They will be unveiled at the reception.

Goodwin celebrates 95th

The dean of Atlanta public relations, George Goodwin, celebrated his 95th birthday on June 8 at an afternoon reception at the Cherokee Town Club in Buckhead.

Although it was a few days shy of his actual June 20 birthday, Goodwin picked that date because his grand-daughter would be in town. More than 100 friends came to toast Goodwin, who also was the only journalist from the Atlanta Journal to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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