As 2021 comes to a close, we at NCECF want to thank you for all of the many ways you have supported early childhood investments this past year. Through our three strategies, here are a few examples of NCECF’s critical role in animating our best ideas as a state while we all navigated the second year of a global pandemic.
Our policy briefs, blogs, communication campaigns, coordination, and cross-promotion with other partner organizations, amplified the needs for young families and children in NC. These collective efforts helped to inform parents, guardians, and providers of what resources are available to them via historic federal and state investments. NCECF has been nimble in responding to the needs of the larger early childhood development space by promoting evidence-based policies that lead to third-grade reading proficiency. We released two reports in 2021, one focused on the needs of families navigating social and emotional health services for their infants and toddlers, and an economic report highlighting the needs and desires of families of young children within our current child care landscape. Both reports have been foundational to further research and policy recommendations in the field.
Together, with our partners at the Black Child Development Institute-Charlotte and NC Child, we established and convened our partners in the early childhood advocacy ecosystem to reimage a more equitable early care and education system, one that is responsive to the needs of families through a long-term multi-phased effort. The newly formed group is called Care and Learning (CandL) and the goal is to light the way to a more equitable future for young children in NC.
We are the only statewide early childhood organization that has tackled private policies and business practices to support whole child development through Family Forward NC (FFNC). Now more than ever, small and mid-sized employers have reached out to FFNC for support in establishing workplace policies to address the needs of working parents as a means of recruitment and retention in a tight labor market. Workplace accommodations are a pointed arrow in the quiver to keep women in the workforce and FFNC is carrying this mantle.
We are proud to be the first early childhood organization in the state with a dedicated Equity Officer. Our Equity Officer began implementing her co-created job description in 2021 and has dug deep into an internal audit of our practices with the goal of serving the larger early childhood space in this capacity as we and our partner organizations work towards an anti-racist field and agenda. Anti-racist policies, for which there have been historical blind spots, are our mandate moving forward and we are growing our capacity and learning to be a leader in this space.
It is through listening, learning, analyzing, and communicating that NCECF is driving change. We are on the precipice of monumental opportunities for young children and their families. To keep up with the pace of developments at federal, state, and local levels we need you to help keep our tanks full for the road ahead.
Muffy, Kaylan, Lindsay, Lisa, Mary, and Sumera