NC Legislature Programs for Children and Families

The following program is in need of funding by the legislature this session.  The articles let you know a bit more about the sucess of Smart Start.  You need to be able to evaluate programs as the budget is being developed.  Let your legislator know what you think is important for our children and families.  Mary

Raleigh News & Observer 

http://www.newsobserver.com/559/story/439667.html

“Underfunded, Smart Start falls far short”   

By Karen Ponder, President of Smart Start

RALEIGH – Today, I am issuing a challenge to anyone who cares about our children and our future. Help us meet the needs of North Carolina’s children. But help us do it in a new way, a better way.

I would like to say those words are mine. This simple, elegant call to action came from Gov. Jim Hunt a little over 13 years ago, just as lawmakers were preparing to meet for the 1993 legislative session. The new and better way the governor referred to was a program called Smart Start, an early childhood initiative designed to ensure that young children entered school healthy and ready to succeed.

Lawmakers heeded Hunt’s call, and today Smart Start is a nationally recognized, award-winning program operating in all 100 counties through 80 local partnerships statewide. Our new and better method of improving the quality of child care and making it more accessible, and offering family support and access to health care services, has been replicated in several other states.

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Daily Advance 

http://www.dailyadvance.com/featr/content/features/stories/2006/05/16/20060516edasmart_start.html

“Get a Smart Start” 

By ROBERT KELLY-GOSS

When Charlotte Cooper shows up at the Smart Start Child Care Resource and Referral service to collect toys and books for her family day care, she knows she’ll be making a selection of items that children will enjoy.

Cooper is just one example of how a program launched by former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt can change lives. Smart Start Partnership was created to help day care providers and families find resources for proactive, early childhood development, says the resource center director, Mary Douglass.

What Cooper did was discover the Smart Start center exists and use their resources to the fullest extent possible. While baby sitting a number of different children, she came across a family who had triplets and was in need of child care. Cooper understood that state law requires a child care provider with three or more children in her care at one time to become licensed.

“They (Smart Start) gave me technical assistance and training,” Cooper says.

Now Cooper runs a home-based child care service 24/7, 364 days a year – she’s off on Christmas. Families, she says, need help.

Helping families is what Smart Start is all about. And this isn’t a program that targets one specific group in the community. Rather, any family from any economic, social or other background living in the area can use Smart Start’s services.

It’s there for the entire community, Douglass says.

Thank you,

Action for Children