Early childhood funding is once again up in the air. The rumor is the Health & Human Services conference subcommittee slashed Smart Start’s funding by an unreasonable $28.2 million—of which $21.6 is recurring. Because of restrictions built into the legislation, all of this money must come from programs to improve the quality of early childhood programs, to provide family support, and to improve children’s health—effectively cutting more than a quarter from these programs.
Our children deserve better than this. A cut this large, particularly when combined with other cuts to young children, will seriously harm North Carolina’s early childhood system which has served as a national model. If a cut this large were to pass, it will take decades just to get back to where we are today. We need to remind our policymakers that early childhood investments are a win-win. They are essential for our children and families to thrive. And, our economy cannot recover without them nor could it prosper in the future. Just look at the facts:
- Early childhood programs create jobs—47,000 in North Carolina in 2007.
- Early childhood programs help parents get back to work. Keeping children in care allows parents to work and look for work, while preserving the jobs of child care workers.
- Today’s children are our future leaders, parents and workers. Our state’s prosperity depends on their healthy development and growth.
- The earliest years of infancy determine the architecture, the actual structure, of the brain.
- Research shows that everything from work force skills to lawful behavior stems from early childhood development, beginning at birth.
Voters already know this. They say funding for early childhood education should continue to be a top priority even in a difficult budget year. We need policymakers to listen. Please contact:
Conference Committee Chairs
- Also call:
- Majority Leader, Senator Rand, 919-733-9892
- Speaker of the House Joe Hackney: 919-733-3451
- President Pro Tempore Senator Marc Basnight: (919) 733-6854
- Governor Bev Perdue: (800) 662-7952