New Policy Briefs on Access to High Quality Early Education for Babies and Toddlers in North Carolina

Why is infant and toddler care so expensive, and why isn’t there enough of it?

Which NC counties are considered infant and toddler child care deserts?

Does North Carolina have in place the state-level policies that research shows support babies’ and toddlers’ early learning?

The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation, in partnership with Think Babies™ NC, is pleased to release two policy briefs that answer these and other questions about high quality education and early intervention services for babies and toddlers in North Carolina. 

In Search of a New Business Model for Infant and Toddler Child Care translates two national papers for North Carolina, examining the prevalence of infant and toddler child care deserts in the state and estimating the cost of infant and toddler child care as a portion of median income. The brief also provides some policies to consider to address these issues.

Building High-Quality Early Care and Education Environments for North Carolina Babies and Toddlers shares the results of a ZERO TO THREE self-assessment of 16 state-level policies around providing high quality early intervention and early education services for babies and toddlers. Research demonstrates that when these policies are in place, babies and toddlers are more likely to thrive. North Carolina has 11 of the policies in place and has room for improvement on five policies. The brief includes:

  • Policies in the areas of early intervention and high quality early education environments
  • Information on whether North Carolina has each policy in place, how many other states do, and any policy clarifications or considerations
  • The prioritized Actions from the Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action Framework that are relevant to early intervention and early education for babies and toddlers
  • The Think Babies™ NC policy agenda items that are relevant to early care and education 

Think Babies™ NC, funded by the Pritzker Children’s Initiative and ZERO TO THREE, aims to improve outcomes for North Carolina’s babies and toddlers by advancing policies that support their healthy development, families and communities, and early learning. Think Babies™ NC is aligned with the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative and the NC Early Childhood Action Plan. The initiative 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. The Think Babies™ NC policy agenda includes three policies focused on babies’ and toddlers’ health:

  • Increase child care subsidy funding to expand access to high-quality, affordable infant and toddler child care for low-income families.
  • Make sure families living in child care deserts have access to high-quality infant and toddler child care.
  • Ensure infants and toddlers have well-educated and well-compensated teachers with the skills needed to support healthy development.

The two briefs were released on a webinar that also featured Michele Rivest and Elaine Zukerman of the NC Early Education Coalition. The Coalition is the policy lead for the Think Babies™ NC early education policy agenda items.  The webinar slideshow and recording are available.

NCECF also released a brief and hosted a webinar in February on health and development policies for NC babies and toddlers.

There will be one final Think Babies™ NC brief and webinar next month. Supporting Strong Families and Communities for North Carolina Babies and Toddlers will be released on an April 25 webinar, which will also feature Tina Sherman of MomsRising, Whitney Tucker of NC Child and Donna White of the North Carolina Partnership for Children/Smart Start to update us on the Think Babies™ NC family support policy agenda items. Register here.