Mashantuckets contracting out child care center management

Mashantucket - The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council is outsourcing management of the tribe's Child Development Center to a private company that bills itself as "the world's leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education, and work/life solutions."

Bright Horizons Family Solutions, which has its headquarters in Watertown, Mass., will assume management of the center Oct. 1, a company memorandum addressed to center employees indicates.

The tribe would neither confirm the agreement nor provide information about the number of children the center serves or the number of people it employs.

"The management of our Child Development Center is only relevant to family members," William Satti, the tribe's director of public affairs, said in an email. A Bright Horizons spokeswoman said she was unable to confirm that the tribe and the company had reached an agreement.

According to sources, the center cares for infants and young children of tribal members and operates after-school programs and a full-day kindergarten class. It stresses the teaching of the tribe's cultural history, the website of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center says.

The Bright Horizons memorandum, dated Sept. 5, details the company's benefits plan.

An employee who communicated anonymously with The Day said the cost of employees' health care coverage would increase significantly under the plan.

"Many workers have expressed that they cannot afford these changes and will have to seek other employment after years of faithful service," wrote the employee, who characterized the outsourcing as a cost-cutting move.

Bright Horizons, which has more than 850 clients in the United States, Europe and Canada, has operated the Mohegan Tribe's Eagle view Child Development Center on Crow Hill Road in Uncasville since 2003. The center serves children of Mohegan tribal members and employees of the Mohegan Sun casino as well as children from the surrounding area.

Bright Horizons also manages a facility on High Rock Road in Groton.

The Mashantuckets' Child Development Center earned a five-year accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children last year.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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