Each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for lifelong health, education and well-being supported by a premiere birth-to-age-eight system.


To marshal North Carolina’s great people, ideas and achievements to build a foundation of opportunity and success for every child by the end of third grade.

What does success look like?

North Carolina’s people, agencies and organizations work collaboratively towards a common goal,

  • agreeing on how to measure progress,
  • coordinating strategies for the shared measures that take into account all aspects of children’s healthy development, and
  • aligning policies and practices with the measures and along the developmental continuum, starting at birth.

Government, policy, and nonprofit leaders make policy, practice and program decisions based both on research, data and analysis about what improves outcomes for children birth-to-eight and their families, and on the experiences of those who shape children’s environments.

Private sector leaders engage in practices and policies that improve outcomes for children and families and use their voices to call for birth-through-eight investments and policies.

North Carolinians support and expect early learning investments and policies that are rooted in how children develop and that support each child in fulfilling his or her potential.

All recognize that literacy is rooted in birth-to-age-eight child development, and includes:

  • Health and Development on Track Beginning at Birth
  • Supported and Supportive Families and Communities
  • High Quality Birth-to-Age-Eight Learning Environments and Regular Attendance

What is our role to get us there?

Promote understanding.

NCECF engages business, faith, law enforcement, and community leaders as early childhood champions to effectively communicate the broad societal impact of policies that affect early development and learning.

Spearhead collaboration.

NCECF leads and supports state and local collaborations – bringing together birth-through-eight health, family support, and education leaders across government, policy, private, nonprofit, philanthropic and research sectors – to advance a shared vision and course of action for maximum impact for children and families.

Advance policies.

NCECF provides policymakers, advocates, business leaders and the public with research and analysis about the impact of federal and state birth-to-eight policy and innovations proven to achieve results for young children.

Our Principles

We are boldly positive.

The best way to make positive change happen is to believe it is possible and achievable, illuminate paths forward, and back it up with real results.

We promote what works.

We promote policies and programs grounded in research. We use data and research to pinpoint problems, identify promising solutions and engage in continuous quality improvement. We hold ourselves accountable for making measurable progress and aligning our work with other efforts to improve third grade outcomes.

We support state and local solutions.

Progress on third grade achievement takes sustained state and local effort and investment. We help identify and create leverage points and accelerate change.

We are appreciative and inclusive leaders.

We believe the best results are achieved when we tap into the potential and positive energy of diverse perspectives and cultures. We value and respect differing opinions and contributions, and actively seek to include them in our work.

We are intentional and grateful partners.

North Carolina has a wealth of great leaders and organizations working to improve outcomes for children. We seek to add value by prioritizing communication and creating opportunities for shared learning, problem solving, credit and successes.

Read our 2019 NCECF Impact Report to learn more.