Monthly Archives: September 2009

Looking Forward

A letter from Stephanie Fanjul, President of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc.

Wow! I just got back from an incredible meeting with local Smart Start leaders. The energy was amazing and their accomplishments and work for our children is awe-stephaniefanjul NEW PHOTO_3x4at300dpiinspiring. In every community, Smart Start is the catalyst bringing together all those who touch the lives of young children to ensure children’s needs are best met.
 
While the economy has been struggling, Smart Start leaders have doubled their efforts to find other resources for the children we care so deeply about. They are literally bringing millions of dollars into North Carolina’s early childhood system through grants from federal, national, state and local funders. They have received money from Early Head Start, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, AmeriCorps, Kellogg Foundation, Duke Energy, BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of NC, the Chowan Hospital Foundation and many others. Early Head Start will increase the number of high quality infant child care settings all across the state and is expected to bring in more than $6 million over the next two years.

Smart Start leaders are taking Dr. Jack Shonkoff’s words to heart. The science is clear, investing in young children is the best use of our dollars. At a recent National Governors Association meeting he noted that while we have been making steady progress over the past decade, the time is ripe for a giant leap of innovation to ensure that all children benefit from quality early childhood experiences. The federal government is poised to invest billions in such innovation through the Early Learning Challenge Grants. The energy, passion and creativity that live in our Smart Start community will fuel that next leap in innovation. We are ready! 

Stay up-to-date with early childhood news by becoming a fan on Smart Start’s Facebook page.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Fanjul, President
The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc.

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Grow A Child

The Grow a Child website was created to help families find simple ideas to turn good parents into extraordinary parents. An eNewsletter keeps families informed about issues pertinent to their children. This month’s issue features discusses the importance of play. topleft_girl1

From birth children are eager and determined to understand how the world works. They do this through play, using all of the tools they have at their disposal. Through play children are able to explore their world, learn social and language skills, understand and try new ideas, learn to problem solve, and build self confidence.

Encourage your child’s play, and take some time to play with them!

The website features tips to set the stage for productive play.

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Call for Investment in Children

Step Up and Act for Children 2009 to call for investment in child health and early education

Child advocates across the country are planning nonpartisan events on Capitol steps the first week in October to call on federal elected officials to make children’s issues a higher priority. Action for Children and partners will be calling on our leaders to commit to increased investments in children’s health and early education.

Why: Calling on federal officials to make children’s health and early education more of a priority.

Action for Children North Carolina and more than 30 co-sponsors including the North Carolina Pediatric Society, the North Carolina Partnership, Inc. (Smart Start), the North Carolina Association of Educators and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina announce the following event.

What: Step Up and Act for Children 2009 — children’s performances and speakers calling for more federal investment in child health and early education

When: Monday, October 5, 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Who: Children’s performance groups (11:15-12) will include Hunter Elementary show choir and Hunter Elementary advanced orchestra

Press event speakers (12-12:30) will include:

  • Marian F. Earls, M.D., President, North Carolina Pediatric Society
  • Stephanie Fanjul, President of the N.C. Partnership for Children, Inc (Smart Start)
  • Worth Hill, Durham County Sheriff
  • Felicia Willems, mother and advocate for children

Where: Old Capitol building, southside (outside), downtown Raleigh (where Fayetteville St. dead ends into Morgan St.)

Full list of co-sponsors:
North Carolina Pediatric Society, Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, The North Carolina Partnership, Inc. (Smart Start), N.C. Health Access Coalition, N.C. Education and Law Project, North Carolina Association of Educators, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, United Way of North Carolina, The Mental Health Association in North Carolina, The Arc of North Carolina, Children and Family Services Association-N.C., IDA and Asset Building Collaborative of N.C., North Carolina Bankers Association, National Association of Social Workers – N.C. Chapter, Self-Help and the Center for Responsible Lending, El Pueblo, Goldsboro Pediatrics, The Arc of Wake County, Wake County Smart Start, Haven House, Council for Children’s Rights, Youth Homes, Inc., Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont, Alexander Youth Network, Forsyth Futures, Smart Start of Forsyth County, Youth Opportunities, Inc., Children’s Law Center of Central N.C., Children First/Communities In Schools of Buncombe County, Rainbo Renaissance Creative Solutions, Durham’s Partnership for Children, Guilford Education Alliance, Down East Partnership for Children, Appalachian Family Innovations.

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U.S. Department of State Invites International Leaders to Tour Smart Start Programs in Charlotte

Charlotte, NC— The U.S. Department of State has selected Charlotte as a location for distinguished delegates from around the globe to participate in a program entitled Early Childhood Education. On Friday, September 18, 2009, these delegates will visit the More at Four Pre-K program for at risk 4 year olds at First Ward Child Development Center. The More at Four program is funded by Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Office of School Readiness. The delegates will also visit Biddle Point Dental Clinic funded by Smart Start to serve low income children.

The event is coordinated through the International House’s International Visitor Leadership Program and designed to provide them with an overview of America’s child care and educational system, as well as touch on current U.S. trends and research on childhood cognitive, social, and physical development. They will explore shared international challenges regarding early childhood education, and tap into public policies and private educational initiatives that prepare children to become responsible and productive citizens.

Jane Meyer, executive director of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County, said “I am excited to be able to share the work of Smart Start and how it has helped young children across our state enter school healthy and ready to succeed.”

Participants represent the following countries: Bangladesh, Chile, Estonia, Honduras, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. More information on the International Visitor Leadership Program may be found at http://exchanges.state.gov/ivlp/ivlp.html.

For more information about Smart Start programs offered in Mecklenburg County, visit the Partnership’s Web site at http://www.smartstartofmeck.org or call 704-377-6588.

Smart Start is North Carolina’s early childhood leadership network dedicated to assuring that every child reaches his or her potential and is prepared for success in a globally competitive world. For more information, visit http://www.ncsmartstart.org.

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House to Take Up Early Learning Challenge Fund Today

From our friends at the National Association for the Education of Young of Children (NAEYC):

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to take up tomorrow the Early Learning Challenge Fund, which is Title IV of H.R. 3221.  (The bill primarily deals with student financial aid.) This is an important opportunity for new resources ($8 billion over 8 years) for grants to states to improve their systems of quality early learning and development across all types of programs.  The Early Learning Challenge Fund is paid by savings made in the student financial aid section of the bill and does not add to the deficit.
 
You can email your Representative at www.naeyc.org/policy/action
For a summary of the Early Learning Challenge Fund, go to www.naeyc.org/policy/federal/07_17_09
 
To read NAEYC’s press release on the Early Learning Challenge Fund, please go to

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Child Death Rate Drops to Lowest Ever

In 2008, North Carolina’s child death rate decreased to the lowest rate ever recorded, according to the N.C. Child Fatality Task Force, a legislative study commission which studies the causes of child deaths and makes recommendations to prevent future deaths.

Official figures gathered by the State Center for Health Statistics and the Child Fatality Prevention Team Research Staff show a rate of 71.0 deaths per 100,000 children from birth through 17 years of age.

“This represents a 5 % decrease from 2007, an 18 % decrease in the past decade, and a remarkable 33% decrease since the inception of the Task Force in 1991”, said Tom Vitaglione, co-chair of the Task Force, and a Senior Fellow with Action for Children North Carolina. “It is largely the result of increased appropriations and safety legislation passed by the General Assembly, the hard work of state and local agencies, and the attentiveness of parents in protecting their children”.

The release of these data begins the annual study cycle of the Task Force. “We are charged with examining why and how children die in North Carolina”, said Krista Ragan, the Research Director of the N.C. Child Fatality Prevention Team. “Our goal is to identify the factors contributing to these deaths and make recommendations that will further decrease child fatalities.”

Highlights of the data include:

Stated another way, if the 1991 child death rate of 107 per 100,000 children had remained the same in 2008, an additional 800 children would have died in that year – enough to populate an entire elementary school.

* As reported earlier, the infant death rate dropped by 3.5% in 2007. The new data indicate that the death rate for the 5-14 age group dropped significantly, while the death rates for the 1-4 and 15-17 age groups remained relatively the same.
* Sudden infant death syndrome accounted for 136 deaths in 2008, up from 98 in 2007. The study of this sharp increase will be given priority.
* For the second straight year, the number of motor vehicle-related deaths dropped by more than 10%. In part, this may be due to a drop in motor vehicle usage due to gas prices. It is also likely due to a series of safety laws recommended by the Task Force over the years, including the graduated drivers license system; child passenger safety seats and booster seats; enhancements in seat belt laws; and all-terrain vehicle safety requirements.
* The three bicycle-related deaths in 2008 is the lowest number ever recorded in North Carolina. Before passage of the bicycle helmet requirement for riders under age 16, recommended by the Task Force in 2001, the number of these deaths had crept up to 18 annually. Since many children still do not wear helmets, parents are encouraged to protect their children in this regard.
* Homicides (58) and suicides (22) have stabilized over the past five years. These tragedies continue to be the focus of Task Force studies.
* The General Assembly has asked the Task Force to study the 18 poisonings that occurred in 2008. These are generally drug overdoses. There is concern that children are gaining access to their parents’ prescription drugs.

The N.C. Child Fatality Task Force’s state data are available online at: http://www.ncchild.org/action/images/stories/PDFs/2008%20State%20Child%20Deaths%20Data.pdf

County-level data are available at: http://www.ncchild.org/action/images/stories/2008%20County%20Child%20Death%20Data.pdf

In 1991, the N.C. General Assembly adopted a child fatality prevention system. This system includes the N.C. Child Fatality Task Force, the policy arm of the system; the State Child Fatality Prevention Team (under the direction of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner), which reviews individual cases and identifies statewide trends; and local child fatality prevention teams in all 100 counties, which review local cases and recommend local changes needed to prevent future child deaths.

Action for Children North Carolina is a leading statewide nonprofit organization based in Raleigh and is the 2008 winner of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits’ Nonprofit Sector Stewardship Award. Since its founding in 1983, Action for Children has been the leading voice for North Carolina’s children. Action for Children is the KIDS COUNT partner in North Carolina and the state affiliate of the national organization, Voices for America’s Children.
For more information, visit http://www.ncchild.org.

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SAVE THE DATE: STEP UP and ACT FOR CHILDREN 2009

Press Event and Call to Action
October 5, 2009, 11:15 a.m.
South Side of the Capitol grounds, downtown Raleigh

The first week in October, child advocates are planning nonpartisan events on Capitol steps across the country to call on federal elected officials to increase investments in children and make children’s issues a higher priority. Come out to help Action for Children and partners call on our elected federal officials to commit to increased investments in children. This year’s event will focus on health care for children and early education.

Food, Fun and Entertainment!

  • A step troupe from a local university will be Stepping Up for children
  • Other children’s performances
  • Children’s activities — help make a banner for use at the press conference, and more
  • Free Step Up 2009 t-shirts for adults and children
  • Refreshments will be provided

Press event speakers will include:

Thank you to all our Step Up and Act for Children 2009 co-sponsors!

North Carolina Pediatric Society, Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, The North Carolina Partnership, Inc. (Smart Start), North Carolina Association of Educators, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, United Way of North Carolina, The Mental Health Association in North Carolina, The Arc of North Carolina, Children and Family Services Association, IDA and Asset Building Collaborative of N.C., North Carolina Bankers’ Association, National Association of Social Workers – N.C. Chapter, Self-Help and the Center for Responsible Lending, El Pueblo, Goldsboro Pediatrics, The Arc of Wake County, Wake County Smart Start, Haven House, Council for Children’s Rights, Youth Homes, Inc., Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont, Alexander Youth Network, Forsyth Futures, Smart Start of Forsyth County, Youth Opportunities, Inc., Children’s Law Center of Central N.C., Children First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County, Rainbo Renaissance Creative Solutions, Durham’s Partnership for Children, Guilford Education Alliance, Down East Partnership for Children, Appalachian Family Innovations.

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