Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, or GEEARS, making a visit to Athens this week.
Organizers are working around state to create a state-wide movement on quality early learning and health development in Georgia.
Executive Director Mindy Binderman says the organization visited Athens as part of ongoing plans to gather business partners, philanthropic leaders, elected officials and community members together to support local efforts to improve child care.
“Studies have shown that when you have that high-quality care in a child’s life it makes an impact,” according to Binderman. “They are better prepared to succeed when they start kindergarten, they are more likely to read at grade level by the end of third grade, they are more likely to graduate high school and less likely to engage in risky behaviors.”
Binderman says research shows a real need for quality care. As a result, state and private agencies created the quality rated system.
Vett Vandiver is the Communications Director for GEEARS,. She describes the situation in Athens.
“There are 6,839 children under the age of five and 65% of children that are under the age of six have all available parents in the workforce,” Vandiver said. “That means that if there’s a single-parent household, that parent is in the workforce or there is a two-parent household, both parents are in the workforce, and in this county 36% of the children under the age of six live below the poverty line.”
Organizers say child care challenges cost businesses about 2 billion in Georgia’s economy due to missed work, rejected promotions, lost jobs, and more.