Durham, Onslow, and Sampson receive federal Early Head Start grants
Smart Start partnerships in Durham, Onslow, and Sampson Counties received a total of $6.2 million in federal stimulus funding to help expand Early Head Start across North Carolina. The partnerships, which lead and convene early education efforts in their communities, will use the funds to provide home-visiting services and help more children access high-quality child care.
Decades of research show that the earliest years of childhood are critical to brain development and lay the foundation for all future learning. In addition, children who have positive, nurturing relationships with their parents and caregivers have better health and social skills. Early Head Start is a federally-funded program with services for low-income families that enhance children’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development; help pregnant women access prenatal and postpartum care; and support parents in fulfilling their parental roles.
These goals are often served through access to high-quality child care and home-visiting programs in which trainers go into the home and show parents, a child’s first and primary teachers, developmentally-appropriate activities for their children. Home-visiting programs may also offer comprehensive medical, nutritional and social services.
Durham’s Partnership for Children received $3.3 million to create Early Head Start programs in Durham for the first time. The county has 15,600 children birth to three years of age, of which almost a quarter, live in poverty. Durham’s Partnership for Children will serve 120 children with a focus on supporting homeless and special-needs children.
The Onslow County Partnership for Children received nearly $1.5 million to implement Early Head Start in Onslow County for the first time. The Partnership will begin a home-visiting program for 72 low-income pregnant women and children with specific emphasis on serving the Hispanic community and children with disabilities.
“The federal government’s investment means a brighter future for North Carolina children, who will be better prepared to succeed in school and become productive members of society as adults,” said Stephanie Fanjul, President of The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc., the organization that leads Smart Start. “Years of experience and collaboration with early education programs in the state make Smart Start the ideal vehicle to maximize this stimulus money and best serve local families.”