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The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today launched Raise North Carolina, a public education campaign about the value of the state’s early care and learning network to support children’s healthy development as well as families’ participation in the workforce. Led by the Division of Child Development and Early Education, the campaign shows how greater support and investments deliver positive outcomes for children, families and North Carolina’s economy.
“North Carolina has a proud history of prioritizing our young children and recognizing the critical importance of early care and learning,” said Susan Gale Perry, Chief Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being. “Keeping our commitment to North Carolina’s high-quality early care and learning is central to advancing the well-being of children, families and our state. High-quality early learning allows parents to work, prepares children for success and is a major factor in attracting businesses to our state”.
North Carolina’s early care and learning network is a partnership of those preparing young children for success in school and life while their families work, including child care centers, NC Pre-K programs, early childhood organizations and agencies, as well as early childhood professionals – like child care center teachers and owners. More than 35,000 early childhood professionals are central to raising North Carolina, impacting the lives of 265,000 young children and their families every year.
The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the critical role of early care and education programs in supporting the economy. North Carolina used funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to make a historic $805 million investment in early care and education programs, providing temporary financial assistance to help sustain their operations. Even so, the network remains under strain and requires additional support to retain, train and recruit quality early childhood teachers and serve the North Carolina families who rely on them.
“Our top priority is ensuring our quality early care and learning network remains a model for the nation and an accessible resource for all of North Carolina’s families,” said DCDEE Director Ariel Ford. “The Raise NC campaign highlights the value of North Carolina’s early care and learning network and the thousands of early educators who make it work.”
Raise North Carolina includes public service announcements featuring local families, providers and community leaders discussing the value of the state’s early care and learning network, along with social media posts and online resources. The campaign website, RaiseNC.nc.gov, serves as a hub for the public to learn more and support quality early care and learning with an online toolkit that includes easy-to-use materials like flyers, sample social media posts, graphics, talking points and more.