This issue brief translates two national papers for North Carolina, examining the prevalence of infant and toddler child care deserts in the state and estimating the cost of infant and toddler child care as a portion of median income. The brief also provides some policies to consider to address these issues.
ISSUE BRIEF: Building High-Quality Early Care and Education Environments for North Carolina Babies and Toddlers
This issue brief shares the results of a self-assessment of state-level policies around supporting babies' and toddlers' early learning and development. Research demonstrates that when these policies are in place, babies and toddlers are more likely to thrive.
An overview of birth-through-eight provisions in Governor Cooper's 2019-21 budget proposal.
This issue brief shares the results of a self-assessment of state-level policies around supporting babies' and toddlers' health and on-track development. Research demonstrates that when these policies are in place, babies and toddlers are more likely to thrive.
NCECF presented the keynote address at the Rockingham County Eggs and Issues Elected Officials Breakfast on February 8th, 2019.
Every day, approximately 15,000 infant toddler teachers are paid to care for and educate approximately 66,085 infants and toddlers enrolled in licensed child care programs across North Carolina. These early educators have the enormous responsibility of safeguarding and facilitating the development of our youngest children while they are spending the majority of their waking hours in child care when their parents work. These infant toddler teachers must have the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide consistent, nurturing, and positive relationships to support their healthy development and learning.
An acute shortage of child care subsidy funding exists, especially for families of infants and toddlers. In North Carolina, an estimated 102,971 infants and toddlers whose parents are working are eligible for child care subsidy.2 In 2018, 19,842 infants and toddlers received subsidy—only 19% of all eligible babies in North Carolina.3 Another way to estimate need is by looking at the child care subsidy waiting list. While not all eligible families apply for subsidy, in September 2018, 12,802 infants and toddlers remained on the waitlist. Of the children under age six waiting for subsidy, 56% were infants and toddlers.4 By any measure, there is a dramatic need to increase access to child care assistance and quality early care and learning programs in North Carolina.
Supporting pregnant women at work reduces infant mortality, improves maternal and infant health, and reduces doctor and hospital visits. When children have good health in utero and good birth outcomes, they are more likely to have good physical health and on-track development during childhood and throughout life.
Providing new parents with the opportunity to care for a child benefits everyone involved. The first weeks and months of a child's life are critical to development. Because of the important role of parents in this early period, paid family leave can have effects on relationship-building, parental involvement, health, and well-being that last throughout a child’s life.
High-quality, affordable health care helps parents work and support their children. Parents can’t get to work, or take care of their children, when they’re not healthy. Unfortunately, in North Carolina approximately 500,000 North Carolinians don’t earn enough to buy private health insurance, but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. In North Carolina, over 15% of parents of infants and toddlers are uninsured, and closing this “coverage gap” would provide over 100,000 parents the improved health and access to the care they need to thrive, which in turn improves children’s health and development.12 To improve the health of current and prospective parents and their children, North Carolina should take advantage of available federal funding to expand access to insurance coverage.