2. May 2013 15:10
In 1993, lawmakers created Smart Start as an innovative solution to address the problem of young children entering school unprepared. This thoughtful investment and creation changed the trajectory of generations of children to come and became a nationwide model. This year we celebrate 20 years of Smart Start programs, which increase learning and the healthy development of children birth to five throughout the state. Durham’s Partnership for Children is one piece of a network of local partnerships led by The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC). Smart Start gives local communities like ours the freedom and responsibility to determine how to increase the health, well-being and development of our children based on the needs and resources of our local communities.
20 Years of Producing Results: Highlights
- Third-graders in NC have higher standardized reading and math scores and lower special education placement rates in those counties that had received more funding for Smart Start when these children were younger.
- In 2012, North Carolina’s graduation rate exceeded 80%. These graduates were the first to benefit from North Carolina’s investment in early education.
- In 1993, NC had the worst child care standards in the nation. Today, 70 percent of all children in early care and education attend high-quality 4- and 5-star programs, up from 33% in 2001.
- NC has fifth highest rate of childhood obesity in the country. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation awarded $3 million to NCPC to create Shape NC, a groundbreaking initiative that is tackling the childhood obesity epidemic by focusing on young children in child care and community settings. Although only in its second year, changes are already being seen. More children are getting at least 90 minutes of active play and being served healthy fruits, nutrient-dense vegetables and lean protein daily.
- Smart Start works with doctors to increases the number of children who receive appropriate developmental screenings, referrals and follow-up to detect and treat developmental delays early. Today, North Carolina has the highest rate of developmental screenings in the nation.
- In 1993, more than 65 percent of North Carolina mothers with children under the age of six worked outside the home—one of the highest percentages of working mothers in the United Sates. There weren’t enough high quality child care options for working families. Today, early learning programs allow 380,000 parents to work in North Carolina. Together, these parents earn almost $12.5 billion every year.
29. April 2013 15:05
ReadyNation has just released a new report, "Championing Success: Business Organizations for Early Childhood Investments," in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives that examines business support of early childhood programs in the U.S.
Findings from the report show that since 2007, at least one state chamber of commerce, large city chamber, or state business roundtable in 44 states has publicly supported early childhood policy or program initiatives. Overall, the report revealed that business organizations in nearly all states (49 states) have championed early childhood investments in a variety of ways: making it part of their policy agenda, drafting media pieces, giving legislative testimony, and supporting specific early childhood programs.
We are proud that North Carolina is one of those invested states and that Durham is a community that prioritizes early childhood. The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce has vocalized continued support for early childhood issues including maintaining funding to high-quality early care and education programs and child care subsidies to encourage parents’ ability to work.
Investments in early childhood are critical for helping children start down the path toward school success and productive adulthood, for promoting child and family well-being, and for building a vibrant Durham community.
» To read the new ReadyNation report in full, click here.
15. February 2013 10:05
“Every major national priority — strong defense, vibrant economy, clean environment, good health — requires a well-educated workforce and citizenry. We are most likely to achieve that goal when all children have a good start in life, especially in the crucial years from before birth to age five.” – ReadyNation, Thursday, February 14, 2013
Thursday morning, President Obama shared his plan to expand and improve early learning. It has three main components:
- Pre-k for all 4-year-olds at or below 200% of the federal poverty level,
- Greater access to high-quality child care for children birth to three through expanded Early Head Start, and
- Expansion of maternal, infant and early childhod home visiting programs.
» Click to read the Fact Sheet President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans
» Click to read The Washington Post’s outline of the plan
We are thrilled to have early childhood issues in the national spotlight. As the President noted, early childhood investments provide a significant return. Nobel Prize economist James Heckman found every dollar invested in early education produces a 7-10% return. The returns come from increased earnings for individuals and, to the public, savings in welfare, special education, and the costs of crime, as well as increased income tax revenues.
There are only 2,000 days from the time a child is born to when that child begins kindergarten. During that brief time period, 90 percent of critical brain development occurs. The actual wiring that forms the brain’s architecture happens in infancy and early childhood. And how that wiring is formed, either as a strong or weak foundation, depends on a child’s earliest experiences.
For a strong foundation, children need strong families, environments that support healthy outcomes and early care and education programs that provide safe and age-appropriate opportunities for learning. President Obama’s plan addresses each of these.
Research shows that early education is an effective way to increase parent productivity, improve children’s lives, create jobs and grow the economy. We know that if we want a strong, competitive economy, we have no time to waste. And we know that our state has a long history of being a leader in early childhood, and that’s a position that we hope to maintain!
Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AP
8. February 2013 10:24
In our last feature on the Partnership blog, we focused on the importance of evaluating our work. We talked about the steps we take in the evaluation process and who is involved. We also shared our FY11-12 Program Evaluation Report. This report provides an overview of community level and program level impacts from all of the Partnership’s programs: Smart Start, NC Pre-K, Early Head Start, Faith Initiative, and Transition to Kindergarten Initiative.
Below are some key findings – taken directly from the Evaluation Report – that showcase the great work accomplished by our Smart Start funded partners. (Note: These findings are just one piece of the work highlighted in the full report, which outlines all of our programming areas).
- 88% of school readiness outcomes were achieved or exceeded by Smart Start programs, up from 81% the previous year.
- While Partnership programs are showing successful outcomes for children and families in Durham, these programs are serving fewer children, families and child care facilities than in prior years as a result of reduced funding. Partnership programs reached 20 fewer child care facilities in FY11-12 than the prior year and this resulted in 443 fewer children benefitting from these services.
- While Partnership programs were able to reach 76% of children enrolled in licensed child care facilities in FY 11-12, children in child care represent about one-third of the total birth to 5 population in Durham. More than 15,000 children are not enrolled in licensed child care programs, and an additional 2,693 are not enrolled in high-quality (4- or 5-star) care, indicating that almost 75% of children in Durham may be in need of additional services to prepare them for kindergarten.
The report sheds light on two critical things: 1) Our Smart Start funded programs are achieving at a high level, and 2) Due to lack of funding, the impact on the community is not as great as it could be if we were able to reach more children and families.
Durham’s Partnership for Children’s funding has been declining in recent years, while the early childhood population in Durham is growing.
- Smart Start funding is at its lowest level in 12 years. In Durham, current funding is almost 50% lower than in 2000. ($5.84 Million, down from $10.92 Million)
- Meanwhile, there has been a 25% increase in the birth to 5 population between 2000 and 2012. (24,793 children, up from 18,613)
- As a result, Durham County currently receives $351 less funding per capita than in 2000.
With another year of strong evaluation work behind us our focus is sharpened. Evaluation results reinforce the continued need for additional public and private funding that will increase access to high-quality early education and support services for Durham’s youngest children and their families. What could we accomplish for young children and families if we had more to invest?
16. November 2012 10:59
The latest data (from 2010) tells us that 18.4 percent of Durham residents are living in poverty. Durham County falls right in the middle of the state’s 100 counties with our poverty rate.
As Herald-Sun editor Bob Ashley wrote in an editorial earlier this fall:
“It is the longstanding story of two Durhams, a story that frustrates, angers and embarrasses so many here. We have a Durham of considerable affluence – and a Durham of grinding poverty. That’s true, obviously, for any city – but here, the divide is especially stark. We support high-end department stores and specialty shops – and do a brisk trade at thrift stores. We savor nationally renowned restaurants, stock our carts at Whole Foods and Fresh Market – and fill backpacks with food so kids whose only decent weekday meal may be at school don’t go hungry on the weekend. Our poverty rate heightens the challenge of improving our schools. And while most low-income citizens are law abiding and affluent folks commit crimes, our high poverty rate nonetheless contributes to our crime rate.”
On January 24, 2013, End Poverty Durham and Durham’s Partnership for Children will present a Faith Summit on Child Poverty from 8:30 am to 3 pm at Union Baptist Church in Durham. Mark your calendars and plan to attend because the issue of poverty is something that affects us all.
5. November 2012 15:15
Local business visionary Bill Shore, Former Director of US Community Partnerships with GSK and Chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce, has taken a central role in charging business leaders from across North Carolina to take a stand for early childhood. Working alongside the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Bill has become one of the critical voices in “The First 2,000 Days” campaign that aims to educate on how a child’s quality of life and the contributions he or she will make to society can be directly traced to the first few years of life (the first 2,000 days). The campaign amplifies the message that high-quality early education yields higher graduation rates, reduced crime, higher earnings, and better jobs, while economists estimate that “every dollar invested in early education produces a 10 percent return on investment through increased personal achievement and social productivity.”
Bill is willing to share why investing in a child’s first 2,000 days is important to him. Partnership supporters and attendees at our 2012 Annual Meeting filled out “First 2,000 Days” postcards to share their stories.
Are you willing to share yours? To be the voice of young children across NC, click here.
26. October 2012 12:14
Thursday morning the Partnership was joined by more than 200 members of the Durham community to celebrate our 2012 Annual Meeting. Everyone from early childhood professionals to elected officials to local business leaders came out to hear from keynote speaker Dr. Robert Dugger along with our dynamic panelists, and to get a first look at the Partnership’s 2011-12 Annual Report.
Dr. Robert Dugger, co-chair of ReadyNation, addressed the crowd about the economic impact of early childhood investment. He spoke to the many reasons it is important to support early childhood programs, focusing on the need to “produce a new generation of young adult Carolinians with capabilities and skills required to compete globally.” Dr. Dugger emphasized the high return on investment for early childhood programs, explaining how top quality prenatal and pre-kindergarten programs can pay for themselves in a few short years. With elections on the forefront, Dr. Dugger challenged audience members not to vote along party lines, but to vote kids first. We can transform North Carolina into a place where legislators who do not put kids first will have to find a new line of work.
Following Dr. Dugger’s speech he was joined by Alexandra Forter-Sirota, Michael Goodmon, Patrick Hannah, and Harold Sellars for a lively panel discussion facilitated by Christopher Gergen. The panelists continued their conversation around Dugger’s theme of the economic impact of early childhood investment, zeroing in on how to build a coalition between the business and early childhood sectors. Goodmon expressed that a business cannot be successful in a community that is not successful. High-quality early childhood programs are a key building block in the foundation for the success of a community as a whole. Business leaders must be willing to stand up for this issue in which they are so inherently invested.
We would like to thank Dr. Dugger, our panelists, staff and all who attended the Partnership’s 2012 Annual Meeting for making it such a success! Moreover, we would like to thank our generous sponsors, Duke University’s Office of Durham & Regional Affairs, Robert Half International, United Way of the Greater Triangle, American Tobacco, Careli Party Rentals, The King’s Daughters Inn, Mechanics & Farmers Bank, and Burt’s Bees. The winner of our donated Burt’s Bees gift basket will be announced on Facebook today!
» Check out event coverage in today’s Herald-Sun.
18. October 2012 17:05
Don’t forget to RSVP for the Partnership’s 2012 Annual Meeting, which will be held on Thursday, October 25th from 8:30 to 11 am at Bay 7, American Tobacco Campus. The event will bring attention to early childhood education and its impact on Durham’s workforce, educational system, economy and future viability.
Communicating the theme “Are You In? Informed, Involved, Invested,” the public event will include a release of the Partnership’s 2011-2012 Annual Report, which highlights the successes and outcomes of the early care and education, health and family support programs and initiatives funded and managed by the organization. The Partnership’s 12 funded programs and multiple community initiatives are responsible for building the early foundation that more than 23,000 children, birth to age 5, across Durham County need to be equipped with school readiness.
To share this message, the Partnership will welcome Dr. Robert H. Dugger, Chairman of the ReadyNation Advisory Board and a nationally-recognized expert who is committed to making the successful development of children a top economic priority of the nation. Dr. Dugger is the founder and managing partner of Hanover Investment Group, chairman of the Invest in Kids Working Group, and a Trustee of the Committee of Economic Development.
The keynote address will be followed by a panel of local business leaders guided by Christopher Gergen, founder of Bull City Forward. Discussion will focus on early childhood as an economic imperative and how to work collectively to ensure a better future for our children and a strong, vibrant future economy.
Please RSVP to Kelly McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
» Read more about our Annual Meeting here.
» Meet our panel members by clicking here.
28. August 2012 16:00
On Thursday, October 25th, 2012 from 8:30 am to 11 am, the Partnership will hold our 2012 Annual Meeting at Bay 7, American Tobacco Historic District. We would like to extend an invitation to our community of supporters, including early childhood advocates, community partners and volunteers.
We are pleased to welcome Robert H. Dugger as our keynote speaker for the event. Dugger is a founder of ReadyNation, chairman of the Invest in Kids Working Group, and a Trustee of the Committee of Economic Development – all projects focused on ascertaining and communicating the economic growth and job creation value of investing early in the lives of children. In his home state of Virginia, Dugger is a board member of Smart Beginnings, a member of Governor Kaine’s Strong Start Pre-Kindergarten Council, served as co-chair of Governor Warner’s Virginia Early Learning Council, and is a founding board member of the Alexandria Community Trust. Dugger has had a long and varied career in business and public service. He is an expert on government policy, as well as on the effects of public policy on domestic and global markets and financial institutions.
Following our keynote will be a panel of local leaders in discussion around early childhood as an economic imperative.
Please let us know if you are able to join us to hear this critical message and to reflect on a year of outcomes in the world of early childhood. RSVP to Kelly McCoy at email@example.com or (919) 403-6960 ext 230.
24. August 2012 12:34
We know that early care and education is responsible for laying the groundwork for Durham County’s future economic success by building a ready workforce. Research shows that high-quality programs prepare young children to succeed in school and become part of tomorrow’s leaders.
But what impact does the early care and education industry have on families’ economic viability? It is an interesting perspective to view early childhood through the lens of working parents who rely on these programs in order to contribute to the workforce and the economy.
According to the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, the early care and education industry statewide generates $1.7 billion annually in gross receipts — more than computer programming, outpatient care, textile mills and more. It also employs nearly 50,000 people — more than the chemical manufacturing industry, nursing care facilities and superstores. Investments in the early care and education industry ripple through communities and are essential to economic development.
The most recent data – from 2011 – shows us the impact of early care and education in Durham County:
- 17,998 children under six live in families where their sole parent or both parents are working.
- Generates more than $63,400,925 in revenue annually.
- Includes 384 licensed child care programs that directly employ 1,952 people.
- Provides safe learning environments for 7,472 young children.
- Provides high-quality child care to 61% of all young children enrolled in child care, increasing their chances of succeeding in kindergarten.
» Read the statewide report from the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
» View the widget to find out how early childhood education impacts other NC counties.