Brains are built, not born. During the first years of life, babies’ experiences are built into their bodies — shaping brain development and building the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. When we support our babies and toddlers in having the opportunity to fulfill their potential, we create the best outcomes in health, education, and economic well-being for everyone in North Carolina.
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 and their families. 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 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.
Health & Development on Track, Starting at Birth
Babies’ development is impacted by their health. Healthy adults are more likely to conceive healthy babies, and women with health insurance are more likely to get timely and adequate prenatal care. Supporting pregnant women at work reduces infant mortality and improves mom’s and baby’s health.When parents have health insurance, young children are more likely to access needed health care services. Babies who have good health in utero, good birth outcomes, and access to health services are more likely to be healthy and on-track during childhood and throughout life.
Supported and Supportive Families and Communities
Supportive families and communities play a critical role in building strong foundations for learning. A stable, secure, nurturing relationship with a competent, caring adult is a key factor in babies and toddlers’ healthy growth and development. All parents are stretched in the earliest months and years of their children’s lives, and services like home visiting and family friendly workplace policies can provide parents with support they may need at this especially critical time.
High Quality Early Care and Education
Children’s development and learning in the first few years lay the foundation for all of the years that follow. Children who attend high-quality early education programs are better prepared for success in school—academically, socially and emotionally. Children in higher quality programs have more advanced language and math skills, more advanced social skills, and more supportive relationships with their teachers. Access to high-quality child care with well educated, well-compensated teachers helps prepare children to grow, learn and succeed.
Think Babies™ NC Leadership Team finalizes Think Babies Policy Priorities for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.
Think Babies™ NC coalition of organizations is formed and undergoes process of setting infant and toddler policy priorities for North Carolina.
Pritzker Children's Initiative and Zero To Three invest in North Carolina's Infants and Toddlers.
- Child Care Services Association
- Children’s Council of Watauga County
- NC Association for the Education of Young Children
- NC Child
- NC County Commissioners’ Association
- NC Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative
- NC Early Education Coalition
- NC Department of Health and Human Services
- NC Head Start State Collaboration Office
- NC Infant Mental Health Association
- NC Institute of Medicine
- NC Partnership for Children/Smart Start
- Office of the Governor
- Onslow County Partnership for Children
- Prevent Child Abuse NC
- Ready for School, Ready for Life (Guilford County)
Webinar: Who's Caring for Our Babies? Presentation
Who’s Caring for Our Babies, a report by Child Care Services Association, looks at the state of child care for North Carolina’s infants and toddlers. Mary Martin, CCSA Vice President, System Research and Development, shares the report’s findings.
Webinar: Who's Caring for Our Babies? Recording
Brain science continues to advance at an astonishing rate. We now know that children’s earliest experiences are built into their bodies—shaping their brain architecture and biological systems. These experiences build the foundation for future learning and health. Quality child care promotes healthy development and early skill-building.
Who’s Caring for Our Babies, a report by Child Care Services Association, looks at the state of child care for North Carolina’s infants and toddlers. Mary Martin, CCSA Vice President, System Research and Development, shares the report’s findings in this webinar recording, including:
• How available is infant and toddler child care in North Carolina?
• Are infants and toddlers in high quality programs?
• Are families with infants and toddlers benefiting from child care subsidies?
• What do we know about the people educating and caring for infants and toddlers in North Carolina?
• How does where a family lives impact the answers to these questions?
Counting Young Children in the 2020 Census
A fact sheet from the US Department of Commerce.
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.
This brief 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.