Child care pioneer retiring

Tutti Sherlock Harrington's rare talents been the basis of a remarkable career of service to the Rochester community.

First of all, she has a love for children and an abiding interest in their welfare. In addition, she has a capacity for friendship and leadership, a deep sense of purpose and management skills like those of a Fortune 500 CEO.

She is retiring as executive director of the Child Care Resources and Referral agency, a pioneering organization that she founded and directed for 27 years. Before establishing the agency, she conducted a study for the United Way on the subject, "Who Cares for the Children: A Study of Child Care in Olmsted County."

The study showed that there was a serious lack of appropriate child care services at a time when many mothers were entering the work force. That led to the formation of one of the nation's first child care research and referral agencies.

The agency has had an exceptional impact on the community. In the beginning, it had only one employee besides the director and operated out of a part-time office in the Zumbro Lutheran Church. It later operated in two closets at the Northgate shopping center.


Today, the organization has 160 employees and an annual budget of $11 million. That kind of growth proves the agency has served the community well in providing information about child care, in training and assisting providers and in establishing other groups -- such as PAAIR (Parents are Important in Rochester) -- that meet the needs of children and families. It also shows that Sherlock Harrington has had exceptional leadership and management skills in building a continuous record of growth and service.

In addition, Sherlock Harrington founded and was the first president of the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, expanding her work to serve the whole country.

Because of her leadership and the success of the agency, Rochester is believed to have the finest child care resources in the nation.

That is an exceptional achievement and one for which the community and many families and children have reason to be grateful.

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