Early childhood lays a foundation for the future. As a community, we must commit to investing our resources and attention to the critical years of birth to age 5 to ensure children are prepared for success in school and life. Children cannot advocate for themselves, and as a result, their needs are often not addressed in public policy. Durham’s children need you to be their voice! Stay informed on the issues and connect to what’s happening at the NC State Legislature so that you can take action when critical issues arise. Speak up about the importance of a child’s early years, and let everyone know that investing in early childhood is the best investment we can make.
The Partnership invests public dollars where there is a proven impact for young children and their families. Over the past 15 years, the population of children birth to age 5 in Durham has grown from 17,000 to more than 23,000 children. But state funding has followed the opposite route, and Smart Start funding is now more than $5 million less than it was in 2000.
Children’s needs for health care, quality early care and education, and family support programs have grown exponentially, but current funding levels mean that fewer children will have access to high-quality child care, fewer families will receive support and early intervention services, and fewer teachers will be able to continue their education to support young children in the classroom.
We need more voices in the movement, urging North Carolina’s leaders and policymakers to continue to advance the availability, affordability and quality of its early education system. Our state has long been a national leader in its commitment to early care and education, with a multi-faceted, blended structure that allows us to serve more children and families. All of these programs must be sustained to protect public investments, ensure program quality, and guarantee future results for young children, their families and communities, and our economy.
As a community, we must commit to investing our resources and attention in the critical first five years to ensure children are prepared for success in school and life. Please become an advocate and a champion for young children today!