New Research Brief: Opportunity for All? North Carolina’s Babies and Toddlers of Color

During the first years of life, babies’ experiences are built into their bodies—shaping the brain’s architecture and building the foundation for future learning, behavior and health. Yet current and historic laws, policies and practices—both official and unofficial—have created and maintain widespread barriers to opportunity and success for babies and toddlers of color.

NCECF’s new brief, Opportunity for All? North Carolina’s Babies and Toddlers of Color, disaggregates data on key NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading shared measures of success to shine a light on the current disparities in outcomes—and opportunity—among groups of young children and their families.

Improving outcomes for babies and toddlers of color means putting in place different strategies for action, and changing our current systems and practices so that they work for every child.

The brief concludes with some critical questions, such as:

  • How are current policies and practices driving and/or perpetuating inequitable outcomes?
  • How are programs, policies, and practices increasing opportunity and/or access for those who historically have been excluded?
  • What processes are in place to promote accountability for eliminating inequities?

Research demonstrates that when policies and programs ensure healthy beginnings at birth, support families, and make high-quality child care and learning environments more accessible and affordable, young children benefit. When we support them in their earliest years, we prepare our babies to grow, learn and succeed—and our communities, workforce and economy become stronger and more productive.

Think Babies™ NC, funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative and Zero To Three, seeks to advance policies that support the healthy development of North Carolina’s babies and toddlers. It is aligned with the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative and the NC Early Childhood Action Plan. Think Babies™ NC is led by the NC Early Education Coalition with support from the NC Early Childhood Foundation and a Leadership Team of state and local organizations focused on advancing public awareness and policy solutions for infants, toddlers, and their families.