Childcare in Georgia ranks among the poorest in the nation based on high staff turnover, poor-quality environments and lack of staff training and experience. The state of Georgia requires all licensed childcare providers receive 10 hours of training annually. There are more than 300 licensed childcare providers in the Savannah area alone.
Twenty-four years ago, University of Georgia Extension in Chatham County formed the Chatham Childcare Collaborative, a partnership of agencies to support childcare in the Savannah area. Four Super Saturday childcare conferences are scheduled annually. Attendees earn six of the 10 state-required training hours at each event.
Since inception of the collaborative, 34,553 participants attended 1,066 classes and events. Childcare providers have saved more than $1.5 million by participating in Extension-sponsored training, as compared to other programs. And 2,901 volunteers provided 12,077 hours of service, valued at $287,432 to provide quality childcare training. Collaboration with other agencies also decreased duplication of services within the community.