UofM & Porter-Leath to launch partnership for early childhood care behind $3.5 million Urban Child Institute grant

August 15, 2019

MEMPHIS --- The University of Memphis and Porter-Leath have come together to launch a new, innovative partnership designed to help address a critical need for early childhood care in the Memphis community through the generosity of a $3.5 million grant from the Urban Child Institute.

The partnership will provide a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art educational facility to serve children ages 6 weeks through pre-K where care is most crucial and underprovided in Shelby County. Sixty-three percent of children in Tennessee under the age of 6 have all available parents in the workforce, and thus, potentially need child care.

 Yet in a recent survey, 83 percent of parents with children ages 0-5 stated that finding quality affordable child care is a problem in their area. Similarly, the results of a recent University Family Friendly Taskforce survey indicated a significant need for quality and affordable infant care for our University faculty, staff and students.

Porter-Leath has been dedicated to building stronger children, stronger families and a stronger Memphis for over 160 years. They now serve over 10,000 children and families each year through their programs designed to meet developmental, health and social needs at the earliest opportunity.

Construction is scheduled to start next fall with the Center’s tentative open date of January 2022. The facility will be located in a neighborhood adjacent to campus, and a select number of childcare spaces will be reserved for UofM students, faculty and staff. The Center will also provide wraparound services for children and their families, teacher and practitioner training and observation opportunities, family engagement programs and robust interdisciplinary research opportunities for UofM faculty.

 The new Center is the latest in a series of additions and expansions to the University Schools educational compendium which seeks to provide the children of our community with educational experiences that enhance their development from birth to graduation and promote dynamic research, collaborative partnerships and innovative practices. Through the addition of this Center, the UofM will reach over 1000 children from birth to graduation through five University Schools.

For more information, email sally.parish@memphis.edu.