An overview of birth-through-eight provisions in Governor Cooper's 2019-21 budget proposal.
Hundreds of North Carolina leaders have worked across sectors, geography, and the political aisle to co-create a blueprint for North Carolina to improve a key developmental milestone for young children—reading on grade-level by the end of third grade. The NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action framework outlines expectations for the state’s child and family serving systems and actions to support children’s social-emotional health, ensure high quality birth-through-age-eight early learning environments, and create the conditions for every child to be in school every day.
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.
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.
A stable, secure relationship with a nurturing, caring adult is a key factor in young children’s development. Parents play the lead role in their children’s healthy development, but all parents are stretched in the earliest months and years of their children’s lives. Home visiting programs, which match parents with trained professionals to provide in-home support during pregnancy and throughout their child’s first years, are an effective method to support families, particularly when they are part of a comprehensive and coordinated system of services.
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.
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.
Process evaluation of the 2017-2018 Pathways Design Teams, including racial equity work.
Paul Lanier, author of the North Carolina Landscape Study of Early Home Visiting Programs, shares the report’s findings and recommendations.
The purpose of this landscape study was to address basic questions regarding home visiting in North Carolina have been largely unknown, including: How many families receive home visiting? What program models are operating and where? How large is the home visiting workforce in our state? Where are the largest areas of unmet need? What are the facilitators and barriers to