The North Carolina Child Health Report Card, created by NC Child and NC Institute of Medicine, tracks key indicators on healthy births, access to care, safe homes and neighborhoods, and health risk factors over time and by race and ethnicity. This year's report took an in-depth look at North Carolina children's access to health insurance.
Project Impact and other community organizations, such as the United Way of Forsyth County, are making a huge investment in our children, showing that they believe in our community and its future.
"By changing the way parents interact with their children daily around language and literacy, we will prepare children for lifelong success. And, by changing the way primary care physicians are trained, will create a whole new generation of medical providers addressing the social determinants of health and making the healthy development of children a priority, to help build secure families and strong communities."
More than 100 4-year-olds are in pre-kindergarten classes that didn’t exist last year thanks to an effort to expand early childhood education opportunities led by Forsyth County’s business community.
Project Impact — a six-year, $45 million investment in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools — has started quietly after it was unveiled last May. The first initiative was a three-week summer program called “pathway to K” that gave incoming kindergartners who’d languished on the pre-K waiting list a crash course in school ahead of starting kindergarten.
The primary focus of Project Impact will be on early interventions following the philosophy that it’s easier to catch kids up when they’re young when the gaps are smaller.
On a local level, there have been numerous community-driven coalitions and activities during the past 25 years. Maybe it was just because we had a soft spot in our hearts for our youngest North Carolinians. But at the recent Emerging Issues Focus Forum at N.C. State, business leaders, brain scientists, economists, and even corporate site selection experts agreed that there is also a rational economic reason to invest early: there appears to be a significant return on investment.
In this Focus on Forsyth, EdNC dug into the Reach Out and Read model of partnering with medical facilities to make books a fundamental part of every child's periodic well visits from infancy to age five.
It's an impactful national program brought to nine sites in the Forsyth community with the support of Smart Start of Forsyth County, another Great Expectations grantee.
"I understand we need to listen collectively to the parents in Forsyth County, so that together we can find ways to best prepare children to succeed in school... We’re eager to hear what parents say they need and what they bring to the table, before we prescribe solutions. We also have to listen to what the whole community needs and take stock of the good work being done by so many for our children. This helps us identify what’s working, spot gaps or redundancies in services, and stimulate solutions."
"This new round of funding for the Trust's Great Expectations initiative will continue its commitment to early childhood development but with a more nuanced focus, driven by a months-long effort to better understand the community's needs and capacity."
"First, we must implement a comprehensive, coordinated system that ensures accountability and alignment of birth through age 8 programs that put children on the path to reading proficiency.
Second, we must develop data systems that follow children’s progress and allow for early interventions to keep children progressing toward literacy in third grade.
Third, we must expand access to NC Pre-K – our high-quality pre-K program for four-year-olds – to give more of our children an opportunity to achieve reading proficiency by third grade.
No state has implemented all of the recommendations proposed by the Business Roundtable. We want North Carolina to be the first. I and my fellow North Carolina CEOs are committed to improving early childhood literacy. It is essential to the children of North Carolina, to North Carolina businesses, and to our state’s economy."