Advocacy & Awareness


Why Early Childhood Matters

The early years are so defining that by the time a child turns eight, his or her third grade outcomes can predict future academic achievement and career success.  Investing in creating opportunities for high quality child development directly leads to positive outcomes for both children and the community.  When we invest in early childhood children are more likely to read on grade-level by the end of third grade, graduate from high school, stay healthier throughout their lives, get higher paying jobs and contribute more toward the costs of important public services.

The COVID-19 has starkly demonstrated that child care is part of North Carolina's critical infrastructure. The crisis has shown the extent that our state relies on the early education system so that healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers have been able to keep working long hours to fight the virus and care for the sick.  As state and local leaders begin the long work of recovery it is important that our early education be intact.  North Carolina parents can't go back to work without reliable, high-quality child care.

Child care and early childhood education are part of our economic infrastructure, and they are vital for families in North Carolina. Please join us in asking our elected representatives to invest in emergency funding to keep early childhood education alive. To contact your state legislators, click here.

How You Can Help Build a Brighter Future for our Youngest Children:

For Policymakers
Invest in our state's child care and family support infrastructure now for a stronger 
North Carolina today, tomorrow and beyond.
For North Carolina Business Leaders
Talk with your local policymakers about why investing in child care, early learning, and 
family support infrastructure now is critical for your business's success today, tomorrow 
and beyond. 
For Community Members
You don't have to be a policy maker or a business leader to make a difference in children's lives!
For more ideas, access our toolkit by clicking the link above.


High-quality investments result in stronger families and multi-generation outcomes.  Indeed, investments in early childhood yield a 13% return on investment through gains in employment, health, reduction in persistent crime, and other life achievements.  Participating in quality early care and education programs also enables parents to seek, secure, and retain employment, increasing household income and positively affecting family stability.  Too often, however, families must make choices. 

Half of working fathers and three quarters of working mothers report turning down opportunities, changed jobs, or left work altogether to tend to their children.  This has a direct negative impact on the workforce and socio-economic equity.


Childhood development is an important determinant of health over a person's lifetime.[3] Early developmental opportunities can provide a foundation for children's academic success, health, and general well-being.[10] Preschool-aged children experience profound biological brain development and achieve 90 percent of their adult brain volume by age 6.[11] This physiological growth allows children to develop functional skills related to information processing, comprehension, language, emotional regulation, and motor skills.

[11, 12] Experiences during early childhood affect the structural development of the brain and the neurobiological pathways that determine a child's functional development.[13]

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Impact in 5 Years,  "Early Childhood Education"


Quality early care and education have resounding effects. They lay the groundwork for individuals to complete high school and postsecondary education, while decreasing the likelihood of the need for public assistance and chances of coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

Research shows that children enrolled in high quality preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades, less likely to run into trouble with the law, and typically earn around $2,000 more per month as adults than those not enrolled.

Determinant 1, "Leading on Opportunity Report Executive Summary"