We began the year that was 2022 looking forward to hope, healing, and restoration. In many ways, our initiatives gave us hope by intentionally giving families and communities the opportunity to be heard. A couple of team members departed for new ventures, two more joined us, and we’re about to welcome one more. We’re excited to see how our new, growing team can propel our vision to ensure each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for life-long health, education, and well-being supported by a comprehensive, equitable birth-to-eight ecosystem.
As we look back at 2022 and ahead to 2023, we hope you’ll consider a gift to the NC Early Childhood Foundation to continue this important work and build on our momentum into the new year. Click here to make your year-end contribution.
Now here are three things I’m proud of from 2022 and the things I’m looking forward to with each of them continuing to grow.
We are shining a light on the barriers and obstacles to child care, with the intention of collaborating with all of our brilliant partners to identify solutions to meet a diverse range of families’ needs. Being a part of the Care and Learning (CandL) Coalition has been enlightening as we move to transform early care and learning into a more accessible, affordable, and primarily publicly-funded system in North Carolina. Parents and caregivers are finally being and feeling heard! We completed the listening sessions in 24 counties, only to be granted more funds to oversample western North Carolina.
Polling data reveals that the vast majority of North Carolinians support and expect early learning investments and policies that are rooted in how children develop, supporting each child in fulfilling his or her potential. In the new year, we’ll be working with other leaders of the coalition to compile a policy team and communicate the insights gained from those listening sessions. With this, we hope to present findings and recommendations to policy makers and the public.
Not only that, but separately, we’ll be hosting a panel discussion in January on a newly released report, indicating the North Carolina Economy and Child Care Industry Inextricably Linked.
Family-Friendly Policies Extend Reach
From speaking to the NC Chamber and Cary Chamber this year to introducing a family-friendly policy certification for North Carolina employers, we’re leading in convening and inspiring more guidelines that help employers recruit and retain workers, but also bring parents and caregivers into workplaces more established to support both their professional success and personal well-being. Family Forward NC has grown in its reach and influence, while also now offering a certification for family-friendly workplaces. Imagine what this will do to support more happy, healthy, stable families and children.
Our unique certification designates employers that offer policies and practices that support the health and well-being of working families and children. To achieve certification, an employer must offer best-practice policies in one or more of five main areas:
- paid leave and wages;
- accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding workers;
- child care;
- health and wellness benefits; and
- scheduling practices.
Literacy and Social Determinants Guiding Pathways Action Map Debut
We’ve launched the Pathways Action Map, an interactive tool to guide and support policymakers and funders across the state. This intersectional resource aims to be influential for more equitable success in literacy. We started with the release of Expectation 4, focused on accessible, high-quality social-emotional health systems and subsequently released Expectation 1, focused on family-driven and equitable systems, in October 2022 and Expectation 3, focused on accessible, high-quality education systems in December 2022.
The Action Map spotlights aligned birth-to-age-eight strategies and actions that will advance grade-level reading in North Carolina, and initiatives working to impact them. Our goal is to use the Map to build awareness of what’s happening across the state in each of the action areas, to promote collaboration among leaders, and to identify gaps and opportunities that can help guide policy making, advocacy, funding, and capacity building.
In 2023, we look forward to the final release of the map, Expectation 2, focused on systems serving children in the context of communities and families and the Pathways Data Dashboard going live. Part of working towards an equitable society is targeting resources where they’re most needed. If you know of any initiatives working towards this, let us uplift their work on the Map. Initiatives can add their work here.
Keep in Touch with NCECF and Support Our Work
Please be sure to subscribe to our biweekly newsletter and consider making a donation today to start 2023 off strong by helping us transform the lives of North Carolina families, from their earliest days, while also supporting a small growing, family-friendly team.
The NC Early Childhood Foundation is driven by a bold – and achievable – vision: Each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for life-long health, education, and well-being supported by a comprehensive, equitable birth-to-eight ecosystem. We build understanding, lead collaboration, and advance policies to ensure each North Carolina child is on track for lifelong success by the end of third grade.