Smart Start of Mecklenburg County Becomes a Family Forward NC Certified Employer

March 2023

At Smart Start of Mecklenburg County (SSMC), we are committed to the health and well-being of our employees and their families. That's why recently, we became a Family Forward NC Certified Employer through Family Forward NC.

Family Forward NC, an initiative of the nonprofit North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF), designates employers that offer policies and practices that support the health and well-being of working families and children using NCECF's Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Measures of Success and Action Framework and guidance from medical and early childhood organizations across NC and the country.

At SSMC, we support our employees and their families by adopting new policies reinforcing equity and inclusivity values around parental leave and bereavement. SSMC has updated its parental leave policy to employees following the birth of an employee's child or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with adoption.

SSMC will provide 12 weeks of paid time off for eligible employees. That leave will be compensated at 100% of the employee's regular pay. SSMC has also updated its bereavement policy by providing three days of bereavement in the event of a death of a loved one, which includes but is not limited to immediate family, extended family, and close friends.

Family-friendly workplaces have a competitive advantage. But more importantly, the benefits of family-friendly workplaces are numerous and long-lasting for children and families. They include positive impacts on health, development and well-being, financial stability, and future career success.

Children whose parents have access to family-friendly benefits receive much-needed support and time with their parents during the most critical years of brain development. This leads to positive health outcomes, higher education attainment, and future career success. Pregnant workers, parents, and caregivers with access to family-friendly benefits also have improved health outcomes and are happier and more productive at work.

To learn more about Family Forward NC, visit Together, we can continue to ensure that all children turn five ready to thrive.