To provide Smart Start services each local partnership develops a comprehensive plan that targets the greatest needs in their community among three core services: child care (quality, affordability, and availability); health; and family support.
Smart Start legislation mandates how much from each local partnership’s allocation should be spent on specific services.
Programs must meet Smart Start’s evidence-based and evidence-informed standards.
We only invest in best practices for our children.
Smart Start child care programs
Improving child care is an important part of the Smart Start mission. In Chatham County, 75% of parents of young children work full time outside the home. The Chatham County Partnership for Children works to improve the quality of child care; to make child care more available; and to make child care more affordable.
Improving the QUALITY of Child Care
To improve the quality of our child care facilities, we:
- help child care programs enhance the quality of their work
- help teachers learn more about teaching young children
- help child care facilities become safer and better equipped for learning
- help reduce turnover of child care teachers to provide stability for our children.
Making Child Care AVAILABLE – Child Care Resource and Referral
We know we do not have enough child care facilities for all the families who need it and are working to make more available.
Making Child Care AFFORDABLE
For many families, the greatest obstacle to getting quality child care is money. Child care can cost as much as $1500 a month. At least 30% of our county’s Smart Start allocation goes to subsidizing child care for families that need it.
Based on a family’s income, this cost can be 30% or more of their gross family income. Our goal is to help working families so that they do not have to pay more than 10% of their income for child care. This way they will have enough of their income to buy food and medicine and cover other living expenses.
Quality Subsidy Family Services – Chatham County Department of Social Services – Miranda Moore 919-642-6918
Provides child care subsidies for families who qualify on the basis of income and need. Family counselors assist families with finding and choosing child care.
Smart Start children’s health programs
Outreach for Emotional Difficulties
Child Care Behavior Consultation – Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project (CHTOP). This program provides screening for children identified as having behavioral and social emotional problems in child care settings. Strategies are developed with parents and child care providers to improve the child’s success in the classroom. On-site consultation and instruction is provided to teachers to enhance their skills about responding to challenging behaviors.
Ensuring Access to Health Services
Child Care Health Consultant– Chatham County Public Health Department, The Child Care Health Consultation Program (CCHC) has been bringing health education to Chatham County’s child care facilities since 1995. The CCHC is staffed by a public health educator who helps child care providers develop and improve health, safety, and nutrition practices. A major goal for the Partnership is for each family to have an identified health provider, the CCHC helps connect children with a doctor and with other health resources when needed.
Assuring Better Child Health and Development – Chapel Hill Training-Outreach Project (CHTOP). This project seeks to ensure developmental screenings and referrals are properly performed by all child health care providers. On-site training and technical assistance is provided to medical practice sites to facilitate the identification of children who may benefit from early intervention services.
Smart Start family support programs
The Partnership is committed to helping families do their best. The programs we fund give families the opportunity to
- discover more about how children grow and learn
- share ideas with other parents
- get ideas on how to discipline their child
- get help paying and finding child care
- find resources for their child’s special needs
- help their child get prepared for kindergarten.
To meet the diverse needs of the county’s families, we fund a group of programs that include small support groups, parent education classes, and home visiting services. Many of these services are also available in Spanish.
Helping Fathers be their Best
Focus on Fathers – Chatham County Public Health Department – Anthony Izzard 919-545-8382. This program gives fathers the opportunity to increase their knowledge of parenting, child development, and children’s health issues, while assisting fathers in attaining their employment and educational goals. Program participants take part in discussion groups, workshops, home visits and regularly scheduled family outings.
Engaging Families in Early Literacy
Raising a Reader – helps families who have children in child care learn how to better support early literacy in their family.