New management firm to oversee University child care centers on campus

The Bennett Family Center at Penn State's University Park campus has 135 children currently enrolled and employs 33 full-time staff members. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A Pennsylvania firm already managing several Penn State child care centers, will take on a second center on the University Park campus through a partnership with the University’s College of Health and Human Development. The college will still retain oversight of both facilities.

Hildebrandt Learning Centers, a leading management firm of on-site employer-related child care centers with headquarters in Dallas, Pa., will begin managing the Bennett Family Center on Aug. 19. The two facilities together currently serve nearly 300 children. Hildebrandt is already managing the Child Care Center at Hort Woods on campus through a 2010 arrangement with the College of Health and Human Development. Hildebrandt also operates the child care center at Penn State Harrisburg.

“Hildebrandt is a quality provider of early childhood care and education and their work at Hort Woods has been outstanding. Hildebrandt also is widely recognized for its expertise in managing child care centers,” said Ann C. Crouter, dean of Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development. “While the college has done an excellent job of managing operations for our two centers, it makes more sense for the college to focus on our strengths in educational programming, quality of care, research and teaching, and leave the day-to-day management, such as scheduling, payroll and other logistics up to a company that has broad experience in these areas.”

The arrangement with the management firm means all full-time teaching and support staff employed by Penn State at both Bennett and Hort Woods will transition to Hildebrandt employment. A portion of Hort Woods’ staff are already employees of Hildebrandt, which in total operates 43 employer-sponsored early learning centers and two adult day services centers in Pennsylvania and across the mid-Atlantic region.

“The college is still very involved in the curriculum and philosophical issues that surround child care and learning at these centers. Our centers are still where Penn State students will obtain first-hand knowledge about child care and learning,” Crouter said. “In fact, this transition opens up new possibilities for better coordination among the centers, more synergy among the staff, a vibrant internship program that encompasses both centers and more efficient use of resources.”

In addition, Hildebrandt is able to provide training opportunities for staff at both centers and better manage staffing when vacations or illness take teachers out of the rotation. The changeover is a “not-for-profit” move in which Hildebrandt is provided with a set, annual management fee, according to Crouter.

“The objective here is not to make money for the University but to run an efficient and cost-effective early child education program on campus that breaks even financially,” Crouter explained. Any additional funds that may be raised through increased enrollment or grant opportunities will be invested in the improvement of the centers’ educational programs.

The Bennett Family Center has 135 children currently enrolled and employs 33 full-time staff members. Hort Woods serves 162 children with 38 full-time employees, 31 of them are currently Hildebrandt employees. For more information about the centers, visit


Last Updated June 25, 2013