End Early Exclusion Brief 4: Policy & Practice Briefs to Eliminate Child Care & Preschool Exclusion
Comprehensive, integrated data is a critical and valued tool for informed decision-making, policy prioritization, and resource targeting. However, in North Carolina (NC) and many other states, existing data and new data collection can often be fragmented, uncoordinated, and inaccessible. Through philanthropic investment from the Duke Endowment and public investments from North Carolina’s Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), the statewide Early Childhood Data Advisory Council (ECDAC) was established. The convening of this unique circle of thought leaders helped improve data systems and access through efficient responses to system advancement questions and policy recommendation proposals under consideration. There has been strong appreciation for the role of the ECDAC by state agencies and nonprofit organizations focused on improving outcomes for children and families.
In North Carolina, early educators with a bachelor’s degree are paid nearly 30% less on average than their colleagues in the K-8 system. Many early educators also do not receive benefits. Increase education standards and develop a sustainable plan (including wage incentives and loan forgiveness) to align birth-through-age-five educator compensation with that of K-12 educators. Research shows that increasing compensation and standards of birth-through-age five educators improves the quality of care children receive.
Actions 3.3; 3.4; 3.5: Expand Child Care Subsidies for Children; Raise Child Care Subsidy Rates; and Provide Higher Subsidy Rates to Providers in Underserved Communities
High quality child care is important for all and every working parent needs to feel comfortable that they are leaving their child in the care of a highly competent and trusting provider. Currently, too many families who need child care are unable to afford it and only a small percentage of those eligible for a subsidy actually receive it. Increase child care affordability for more North Carolina families by expanding subsidies and raising subsidy rates; target the needs of low-income families by providing higher subsidy rates to public and private providers in high poverty, underserved, and rural communities.
Wraparound services are child and family supports that are integrated with early care and education settings. They help to address social and non-academic barriers to student learning. They are particularly helpful for families from overburdened and under-resourced communities. Ensure children of color, children from low-income families, and children with disabilities can benefit from early care and education programs by providing wraparound services such as transportation to and from school, before- and after-school care, summer care, and meals.
Lack of access to reliable transportation is a significant barrier for many children and families and negatively impacts their ability to engage in early childhood services and learning opportunities, particularly for families who are homeless or living with low income. Ensure affordable, accessible, dependable transportation to early care and education programs, schools and health services, especially in rural communities.
For children and families, the benefits of family-friendly workplaces are numerous and long-lasting. They include positive impacts on health, development and well-being, financial stability, and future career success. Create family-friendly employment policies and ensure that low-wage, part-time, and seasonal or occasional workers have access to these policies. Examples may include paid sick leave, parental leave, or reliable work schedules.
Pathways Toolkit Part 3: Increasing Child Care Quality and Availability by Investing in a Publicly Funded Statewide Child Care and Early Learning System
Here is the third of our five-part Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Policy and Practice Action Toolkit to provide guidance for how policymakers, advocates, community non-profits, the business community, and other stakeholders can support the well-being of all NC children. This toolkit also highlights organizations and initiatives across the state that are already taking action to move the needle forward.
From Equity to Issue Campaigns: The Next Stop on the Road Map to Childhood Mental Health in North Carolina
With the support of The Duke Endowment and Alliance for Early Success, EarlyWell has released a report on how North Carolina’s policies and services can better support families to build their children’s mental health during their early years. The recommendations grow out of a robust, family-centered stakeholder process. They will lead to future policy recommendations and advocacy.
The EarlyWell Coalition is focused on the following six policy priorities that strengthen mental health support for infants, toddlers, and young children and families in North Carolina.