Measuring our impact

by Administrator 26. January 2015 10:48

To fulfill our mission of ensuring every child in Durham enters school ready to succeed, the Partnership supports early childhood programs that promote healthy development and learning and enhance access to high-quality child care. As the convener and facilitator of Durham’s early childhood system, it is our job to lead community strategies that respond to the needs of all 23,000 young children in Durham.

In order to do so, we invest in and work alongside high-quality early childhood programs with many collaborative partners. Each year, we evaluate the programs we fund to measure impact, track community indicators and needs, and report to our stakeholders on how we are doing in our efforts to prepare all children for school. 

All of our funded partners provide evidence-based/evidence-informed services that are monitored and evaluated to document real impact in Durham. Partnership staff works with each program to develop the projected services and outcomes which provide the evaluation plan for the fiscal year. Reporting and monitoring throughout the year ensures that these goals are met, and we hold our own community initiatives, such as the Touchpoints Collaborative and the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative, to the same high standards. We continue to strengthen our evaluation methods in order to have a more robust view of the efficacy of our programs.

In addition to staff, the Partnership’s Evaluation Committee plays a key role in strengthening the quality of data available to inform programming decisions. The committee of experts from the Durham community meets quarterly and provides input on evaluation methods, survey tools, and early childhood data sources. The goal of the committee is to develop a common understanding of community outcomes and indicators, and to ensure that meaningful data is collected to inform the Partnership’s work towards positive outcomes for young children in Durham.  

This year, we’ve a created a series of infographics to provide an overview of  the impact of Partnership programs, at both the program and community level.  Each day this week we will post a new infographic right here on this blog to showcase the great work being accomplished in the following areas: increasing access to high-quality child care, improving the quality of child care, supporting families, and mobilizing community partners.

Be sure to check back each day!

President Obama highlights early childhood education in State of the Union Address

by Administrator 22. January 2015 10:27

In the 2015 State of the Union Address this week, President Obama maintained his commitment to supporting access to high-quality early childhood programs. He mentioned the phrase "child care" eight times in his speech, making the connection between affordable care to other workforce ideas like paid sick time and maternity leave. 

"In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have - it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us."

The State of the Union address illustrated a growing recognition of the value of investing in quality early childhood programs. Child care has consistently been a focus of this administration, from the White House Summit on Early Education in December 2014, to reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Block Grant, to an increase in federal funding for programs across the country. But there is still much work to be done. 

As our own North Carolina General Assembly begins their work this session, we urge them to continue to advance the availability, affordability and quality of our nationally recognized early education system. Early childhood education has a lasting impact on later learning, health and success in school and in life. Early childhood education strengthens our economy and workforce by promoting productivity growth and job creation in the near term and cultivating a better future workforce. We know that early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make.

North Carolina's multi-faceted system must be sustained to protect public investments, ensure program quality, and guarantee future results for young children, their families and communities, and our economy. Please click here to sign up for our advocacy e-alerts to find out how you can be a champion for young children in Durham.

Attend the A.S.K. Conference on Feb. 21st

by Administrator 20. January 2015 12:19

Child Care Services Association’s 42nd annual A.S.K. Conference will take place on Saturday, February 21st from 8:30am-3:15pm at East Chapel Hill High School (500 Weaver Dairy Road). The A.S.K. Conferences provides a full day of training sessions and workshops for early childhood and school age education professionals. This is an outstanding opportunity for educators to be inspired and informed about effective teaching and developmentally appropriate practice.

This year, there will be more than 90 different sessions from which to choose, and topics were selected with deliberate intention to meet the professional development needs of early care and education teachers and program directors. Sessions will focus on: the application of recent research on child language and literary development; working with children with special needs; and evidence-based practice focused on early reading and cognitive development to promote school readiness and improved learning outcomes of young children, to name a few.

The Partnership’s own Paulette Stephens, Touchpoints Coordinator, will present a session on toxic stress, helping participants understand the causes and symptoms of toxic stress and how it affects the emotional, mental and physical well-being of young children.

All individual registrations ($70 per person) must be received by February 6th. Group registrations ($45 per person; must register together) must be received by January 30th. Continuing education units (CEUs) are available on specialized topics for early childhood educators, school age and youth development professionals and administrators.

For more information and to register, please click here.

Support children in Durham on MLK Day

by Administrator 16. January 2015 12:20

This Monday, January 19th, celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of a world in which every child has the chance to realize his or her full potential. Here are a couple of great local events where you can support young children in Durham!

NC MomsRising.org's annual MLK Birthday Party is on Monday, January 19th. This free family-friendly event will take place from 10:30am - 12:30pm at the Center Court at Northgate Mall (1058 West Club Boulevard) and will feature English/Spanish story times, songs, crafts, activities, performances, and birthday cake as people celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy in a way that children can understand. In continuing Dr. King’s commitment to service, participants are asked to donate nonperishable food (especially peanut butter, canned meat, and pasta), new packaged toiletries (soap, toothbrushes, diapers, etc.), or new underwear/ socks for children and adults for local families in need served by Urban Ministries of Durham.

At noon, attendees will sing Happy Birthday to Dr. King, learn freedom songs, share cake, and enjoy music and dance performances by special guests.

Click here for more details.

Book Harvest, a nonprofit which provides books to low-income children, will host the Dream Big Book Drive at the Carolina Theatre of Durham (309 West Morgan Street) on the afternoon of MLK Day, January 19th. From 1:00 to 4:00 that day, community members are invited to bring their book donations to the Carolina Theatre and to celebrate Dr. King’s 86th birthday by joining in service with Book Harvest’s volunteers and more than three dozen members of the North Carolina Literacy Corps.

Master of Ceremonies Tisha Powell of WTVD/ABC-11 will kick off the festivities at 1:00 pm. The event will also feature comments from Durham Mayor Bill Bell and other special guests, live music, food trucks, the Scrap Exchange, a photo booth, and a chance to tour the “Confronting Change” exhibit on the third floor of the Carolina Theatre. Last year's Dream Big Book Drive resulted in 33,677 donated books, and they hope to collect even more this year to spread the gift of literacy to children in Durham.

Click here for more details.

Make this day off a day on by giving back and supporting these great organizations in our community!

Welcome to Kindergarten information sessions

by Administrator 15. January 2015 11:17

Durham Public Schools is hosting two Welcome to Kindergarten nights for families with rising kindergarteners on Thursday, Jan. 15th and Thursday, Jan. 22nd from 6-7:30 pm at the DPS Staff Development Center (2107 Hillandale Road). These information sessions offer parents a chance to learn everything they need to know about entering kindergarten in Durham Public Schools, including what options are available, how to register, and how to get ready for school! Parents will hear from school staff, teachers, and the Partnership's Transition to Kindergarten program coordinator and will rotate through sessions on several different topics:

  • School Nurse & Child Nutrition
  • Transportation
  • Before/After School
  • Magnet Schools
  • Registering for Kindergarten
  • Typical Kindergarten Day & Literacy/Math Activities
  • Transition to Kindergarten

Accepting Transition to Kindergarten Mini Grant Applications

by Administrator 13. January 2015 11:42

The Partnership is once again offering mini grants for transition activities for families with rising kindergarteners as part of its Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) Initiative. The mini grants are intended to support early educators, elementary schools and child care sites in planning and implementing collaborative transition events. 

Mini-grants will be awarded to applicants who design transition to kindergarten events addressing the 4 key connections that support a smooth transition to kindergarten:

  • Child-school connections
  • Family-school connections
  • School-school connections
  • Child-child connections

Kindergarten teachers, child care teachers and directors, school principals, before and after school programs, PTAs, and/or other organizations that serve rising kindergarteners are all eligible to apply. Mini grant award amounts may vary based on events and activities proposed, and have typically ranged from $200-400 in previous years. Last year’s mini grants included activities such as summer transition camps, student portfolios, field trips to kindergarten classrooms, and kindergarten parent nights. More than 500 families participated at 16 different child care centers and schools throughout Durham.

Please click here to download the application and full instructions. Applications must be received by Wednesday March 4th, 2015. 

The TTK Initiative is a collaborative project of the Durham's Partnership for Children and Durham Public Schools that prepares children, families and schools for a successful entrance into kindergarten from formal pre-school programs or home settings. This initiative is sponsored in part by the Morgan Creek Foundation and Wells Fargo. Please contact Wren Davisson at wren@dpfc.net or 919.403.6960 ext. 224 for more information, or visit www.durhamgoestokindergarten.com.

Join us on our next bus tour!

by Administrator 7. January 2015 13:40

The Partnership invites you to view the community through the lens of early childhood by joining us on our first Early Childhood Bus Tour of 2015! 

This event illustrates the impact of high-quality care, programs and services that promote healthy development and learning for Durham County’s youngest children and families. The free tour is one of several offered throughout the year and is part of an ongoing effort to facilitate discussion among community leaders. Our next bus tour will take place on Tuesday, February 3rd from 8:30-11:30 am and will begin and end at the Partnership's office at 1201 S. Briggs Avenue. 

Throughout the tour, the Partnership will showcase community strategies and best practices for young children and families here in Durham, all while painting the big picture of ensuring that every child enters school healthy and ready to succeed. 

Our Early Childhood Bus Tours are generously sponsored by Mechanics & Farmers Bank. To read about our most recent bus tours, please click here and here.

Spaces on the tour are first come, first serve, and RSVPs are required. Please contact Krissy to RSVP at (919) 403-6960 or krissy@dpfc.net. We hope you can join us!

NC must rethink changes in child care subsidies

by Administrator 5. January 2015 16:12

Excerpt from editorial in the News & Observer on Jan. 2, 2015.

Lawmakers had a well-intentioned goal when they shifted eligibility standards for child care subsidies. Given the extensive waiting list for the subsidy, they reduced the family income eligibility for children between 6 and 12 years old so that more children under 6 would receive the aid. The idea was that younger children benefit more from child care than older ones.

But with the arrival of the new year, that change is meeting reality, and it's having unfortunate and unanticipated consequences: many relatives who take in grandchildren or nieces and nephews will earn too much to qualify for a subsidy for after-school care. Those who can't afford the full cost face the prospect of having the child or children put into foster care.

Stephanie Wells of Wendell has cared for her 6-year-old niece Jazilyn (pictured) since the girl was 18 months old. But now Wells, a state employee, may not be able to afford Jazilyn's full cost of after-school care, and she's wrestling with the prospect of having to turn her over to the foster care system.

It's counter-productive. Taxpayers will pay more to have the child in foster care, and her prospects for faring well afterward are diminished. North Carolina, unlike some other states, does not provide kinship support for children staying with relatives. Loss of the after-school subsidy will only increase the burden of trying to keep a relative out of foster care. The law also changed the measurement of family income to include not only the parent or parents but also the caretaker relative. When, for instance, a working grandmother's income is included, the subsidy is lost.

Finally, the new law requires that families pay the full co-pay - 10 percent of family income - rather than a pro-rated share even if the child is going only to after-school care a few days or hours a week. That makes it too expensive for some families that used the service only during certain work shifts or family situations.

In the upcoming session, the changes should be brought up for review and testimony taken from caregivers and social workers. The changes can then be reversed or modified. If lawmakers want more children from low-income families to have the benefit of child care, they should look for a way to fund that expansion with federal and state funds.

Click here to read the full article in the News & Observer.

Click here to sign up for the Partnership's advocacy alerts throughout the legislative session beginning Jan. 14th.

Holiday happenings at the Partnership

by Administrator 22. December 2014 10:00

It’s been a very busy holiday season here at the Partnership, full of fun events, celebrations, and wonderful reminders of why we do what we do!

Durham Early Head Start held its annual holiday party on Dec. 18th at Wheels Fun Park, and it was a blast, as always! DEHS children and their parents enjoyed a meal together, played in the obstacle course, had family pictures taken, and all went home with holiday gifts. It was a wonderful way to share the joy of the season and celebrate the impact that DEHS has in the community.

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We competed once again in the Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge, and we would like to take a moment to congratulate the winners! It was our pleasure to compete amongst these important non-profits, and we thank you all for voting for our tree.

FIRST PLACE:  The Coalition to Unchain Dogs

SECOND PLACE:  Second Pet Adoption

THIRD PLACE:  SPCA of Wake County

All decorated Christmas Trees will remain on display at Diamond View Park on the American Tobacco Campus through January 5, 2014. 

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Our annual Holiday Book Drive with Barnes & Noble has been a huge success this year thanks to the generosity of customers at Barnes & Noble at Southpoint. There is still one week left to purchase books! With your help, we know we can exceed our goal and kick off 2014 by spreading the gift of literacy to young children across Durham!

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There is still one more week to make your gift to the Partnership through the INDY Week Give!Guide!  When you contribute anytime before Dec. 31st, you have a chance to win prizes from our local business partners at Mateo, Bull City Burger & Brewery, Pompieri Pizza and the Cupcake Bar. The final Big Give Day is next Tuesday, Dec. 30th, so if you make your gift on that day you’ll also be entered to win a $100 gift card from Whole Foods. Give big and win big!

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The Partnership office will close on December 24th and reopen on January 5th. Thank you for your support this year and for preparing children to succeed. Happy holidays and happy new year!

United Way pilot program assists with health insurance premiums

by Administrator 18. December 2014 15:30

This week, United Way of the Greater Triangle announced a new pilot program in Durham County, PremiumHelp.orgto help low income families and individuals pay for health insurance premiums. 

“Access to healthcare is a fundamental basic need and reflects one of the core impact areas of our organization,” said Mack Koonce, president and CEO of United Way of the Greater Triangle. “For families that live at or just above the poverty level, health insurance can be out of reach even with the federal subsidies that come with the Affordable Care Act. For qualified enrollees, this program will reduce their monthly premium costs down to zero.”

Target populations will be based on economic status, not health conditions, and PremiumHelp.org will cover the balance of the health insurance premium (the amount due after the federal subsidy) for Durham County residents whose annual income is between 100 and 175 percent of the federal poverty level. Qualifying individuals who have already enrolled can still get assistance with their premiums going forward.

The initial pilot has received commitments of up to $1 million with the possibility of expanding the program in future years.

Click here to read the full press release from United Way of the Greater Triangle. Additional information is available at www.PremiumHelp.org.

For help with enrollment, please click here for a flyer about the Durham County Enrollment Event Series.

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