Windsor Circle Team Day with Durham Early Head Start

by Administrator 24. August 2015 14:08

Last Friday, Windsor Circle spent their company Team Day volunteering at Early Start Academy, one of our Durham Early Head Start child care centers! The enthusiastic group of 36 volunteers spent the morning sprucing up the outdoor learning environment and learning more about high-quality early education.


Through intense summer heat, these hard-working volunteers weeded, planted flowers, dug out a ravine, and put down mulch – just to name a few things!  


All of the Durham Early Head Start centers have state-of-the-art outdoor learning environments where children can learn, play and explore. Aside from the well-known benefits of outdoor play – such as obesity prevention, learning from sensory experiences, and encouraging physical activity – engaging in meaningful outdoor activities has a deep impact on the healthy development of young children. Allowing children to explore the natural world provides a multitude of learning opportunities, and an outdoor play space can ignite a child’s learning and imagination in a way that is much different than inside the classroom. 

Windsor Circle is a Customer Retention and Predictive Marketing platform for retailers. Founded in 2011, this Durham start-up powers big data integrations, advanced customer segmentation, and predictive and automated marketing programs. Windsor Circle has made a commitment to giving back to the community by focusing on early childhood education through volunteerism and by offering their professional insight and expertise. 

We’re proud to partner with them and call them our friends, and we know the children at Early Start Academy are going to love learning and playing in their wonderful outdoor learning environment!

A conversation about Durham's early childhood mental health needs

by Administrator 6. August 2015 12:12

By: Kate Steber, MSW/MPH Intern at Durham's Partnership for Children

This week, the Partnership convened a meeting focusing on the mental health needs of Durham’s youngest children. In order to better understand early childhood mental health in Durham county, stakeholders gathered for two hours to discuss this important issue. 

The meeting attendees represented a large variety of agencies working with young children across Durham, including: the Center for Child & Family Health, East Durham Children’s Initiative, Durham Early Head Start, Lincoln Community Health Center, Carolina Outreach, El Futuro, Child Care Services Association, Duke Integrated Pediatric Mental Health, UNC-Chapel Hill, Durham Public Schools, Children’s Developmental Services Agency, North Carolina Infant/Young Child Mental Health Association, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, Durham County Department of Public Health, Exchange Family Center, Community Partnerships, and Durham County Social Services


The meeting began by briefly reviewing work being done in other counties across North Carolina to address early childhood mental health. Next, attendees were asked to discuss the specific mental health needs of children age zero to five. This task provided a long list of important needs in our community including more trauma-informed care, more provider trainings, and greater understanding of healthy social-emotional development. The conversation then shifted to discuss the challenges and barriers families in Durham face when trying to access mental health supports for their young children. Attendees again shared a variety of concerns including long waiting lists and not enough bilingual providers. The meeting concluded with brainstorming potential next steps to improve the mental health system in Durham for its youngest citizens. 


The Partnership is grateful to have had the opportunity to host this meeting and learn from early childhood mental health experts in the community. Thank you to all of our partners who attended the meeting and shared their knowledge and expertise with us! We look forward to continuing this work and conversation in Durham. 

For more information on early childhood mental health resources in Durham, be sure to check out the resource guide we created. Please email us at if you know of other agencies we should include! 

Annual Kids Count Report Ranks NC 35th in Nation on Child Well-Being

by Administrator 22. July 2015 16:18

The number of children in North Carolina living in poverty has increased by 25 percent since 2008, according to a new report released yesterday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Casey Foundation's Kids Count® Data Book uses data from the U.S. Census, Department of Education and other federal agencies to measure a series of indicators linked to children's long-term success. Our state ranks 35th in the country for children's overall well-being, a measure that includes rankings for education, economic well-being, health and family/community.

While the report is rather grim, North Carolina did make moderate gains in nine of the report's 16 indicators, including higher reading and math proficiency rates, lower teen drug abuse rates and significantly lower rates of uninsured children. However, the report paints a big picture of a state where many children and families have been left behind in the economic recovery of the past several years.

But this is not a reason to throw up our hands and cry defeat, because we know that high-quality early childhood programs have a profound impact on children and their communities. Investing in early childhood programs that promote good health, strong families and high quality early learning environments is the most effective way to allow all children to realize their potential and grow up to be productive adults who can give back and strengthen our communities. Everybody wins when children have the early experiences that they need in order to thrive. 

The opportunity to make the most powerful changes lies in early childhood, and this report shows that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Please continue to be a voice for young children in Durham and across the state. Click here to sign up for our advocacy e-alerts, get more involved in our legislative efforts, and find out how you can be a champion for young children in Durham!

Click here to download North Carolina's full 2015 Kids Count profile.

Center for Child & Family Health celebrates grand opening of new facility

by Administrator 5. June 2015 11:21

On Tuesday, June 2nd, the Center for Child & Family Health celebrated the grand opening of their new home on Kent Corner in Durham. It was celebration full of community members, collaborative partners and local supporters who share a common goal of serving Durham’s young children and families. 

We partner with CCFH in many ways, particularly through Smart Start and Durham Early Head Start. Healthy Families Durham, a program housed at CCFH, is funded by the Partnership through Smart Start and offers voluntary early childhood intervention services through an intensive home visiting program designed to prevent child abuse, improve parent/child interaction, and increase parenting skills. Healthy Families Durham serves families with multiple stressors from pregnancy through 3 years of age using the Parents as Teachers curriculum in the home to enhance child development, health and safety. Family support workers see families in their home on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for up to 3 years and also provide families with case management services to connect them to appropriate community resources.

We also partner with CCFH to provide the home-based program model of Durham Early Head Start. Families receive 90-minute weekly home visits in English or Spanish by highly trained home visitors using the Parents as Teachers curriculum. This strengths-based approach focuses on promoting the parents’ role in school readiness and healthy child development. There are currently 36 expectant parents, infants, toddlers and their families served through this home-based program.

Healthy Families Durham staff and Partnership staff at the grand opening

CCFH’s new facility is a strong anchor for the community and a more accessible neighborhood resource for the families they serve. Congratulations to our great partners on this wonderful development!

Click here to see more pictures from the event.

Early Childhood Bus Tour shows impact of high quality care, programs and services

by Administrator 21. May 2015 13:11

Yesterday, the Partnership hosted community leaders and volunteers for another Early Childhood Bus Tour. This event allows us to invite participants to learn more about our work throughout Durham and view the community through the lens of early childhood. 

We kicked off the event by asking attendees to build Blast-Off to Kindergarten Kits, which is a key part of the Transition to Kindergarten Initiative and one of many volunteer opportunities here at the Partnership. After introductions and kit-building, attendees joined us as we traveled to Healthy Families Durham, Bryson Christian Montessori School, and Forest View Elementary.


The first stop on the tour was to the Center for Child & Family Health to learn more about Healthy Families Durham, a program that is funded by the Partnership through Smart Start. Visitors got to see the brand new facility and learned about importance of early intervention and home visiting for high-risk families with young children. They watched a powerful video showing a home visit with a young child and heard about another activity at Healthy Families Durham, the MAMA’s group, which works to counteract social isolation for Spanish-speaking mothers.  


The next stop on the tour was Bryson Christian Montessori School, where participants had a chance to enjoy the beautiful day in the state-of-the-art outdoor learning environment. This school is one of three Durham Early Head Start centers, and visitors got to see first-hand how the classroom can be extended from inside to outside by touring the gardens, theater area, trails, and many other features of the outdoor learning environment. The Partnership also administers the state-funded NC Pre-K program at Bryson’s, offering high-quality early education to 4-year-olds in Durham who will benefit most from services. Guests got to visit an NC Pre-K classroom and even got to see a performance of a special song that their new “friends” prepared just for them!


Our final stop was Forest View Elementary, where guests learned about the Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) Initiative, a collaboration with Durham Public Schools. Forest View is home to a TTK Transition Team that hosts several events each year for rising kindergartners and their families, giving them an opportunity to meet future classmates, tour the school, interact with kindergarten teachers, and participate in parent-child activities. Attendees heard from the school Principal, Title 1 Coordinator and a Kindergarten Teacher, all of whom expressed a lot of gratitude for the collaborative relationship with the Partnership and the impact it has had on their students and families. Before leaving, guests had a chance to peek into some of the kindergarten classrooms, ending the tour with some smiling young faces.


All participants left the bus tour with a deeper understanding of the scope of the Partnership’s work, as well as the need for community-wide commitment and efforts to ensure that every child in Durham enters school healthy and ready to succeed. One way you can join this work is to become even more informed, involved and invested! Sign up for our email list for news and advocacy alerts, subscribe to this blog, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, join us on a future bus tour, and contact Davida Major for information about upcoming activities and volunteer opportunities at the Partnership.

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.

Happy #GivingTuesday!

by Administrator 1. December 2014 16:11

We have a day to give thanks, two days to get deals, and now we have a day to give back! Here are two ways you can support the Partnership, invest in young children and families in Durham, and celebrate this national day of giving. 

Make a gift!
Please make a gift to the Partnership through the INDY Week Give!Guide to help prepare young children in Durham for success in school and in life!

When you contribute anytime before Dec. 31st, you have a chance to win prizes from our partners at Mateo, Bull City Burger & Brewery, Pompieri Pizza and the Cupcake Bar. And since today is a Big Give Day, you'll also be entered to win a special package from the Fearrington House Inn. Give big and win big!

Tweet with us!
We are thrilled to be a recipient of the 2014 GSK IMPACT Award! Now, with your help, we could win an additional $10,000 to help build a healthier community! 

Join us on Twitter today as we discuss how quality outdoor learning environments are crucial to a child's development. Help us bring the classroom outside so children can learn, play and grow healthier! Follow along and chime in with #GSKimpact, @GSKUS and @DPFC_NC!

New Report Shows Family Well-Being Is Critical for Healthy Child Development

by Administrator 12. November 2014 12:55

Excerpted from NC Child; November 12, 2014.

A new report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights the need to take a family-centered, two-generation approach to lifting children out of poverty. The KIDS COUNT® policy report, Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach, makes the case that public policymakers and the private sector must address the interrelated needs of parents and children to ensure their future success. The report shows that parents need tools and support to overcome obstacles like child care, housing and the stress of managing a family with insufficient resources. In North Carolina, 50% of all families with young children are low-income. [In Durham, nearly 30% of children birth to 5 live in poverty].

“Children excel when they live in economically secure families with parents that have the support of a network of community resources,” stated Michelle Hughes, executive director of NC Child. “And thriving children result in a workforce that has the skills and education to compete in a global economy.”

One of the primary challenges facing low-income families is finding safe, affordable child care that is flexible enough to accommodate unpredictable service industry employment. A lack of reliable child care can mean fewer hours or even a lost job, which has a negative impact on the family and economy. 

As a result of a provision in the most recent state budget, fewer children are eligible for child care subsidies, particularly in the 6-12 age group. As a result of this change, many parents have to make difficult decisions about keeping their jobs or staying home to care for their children. According to a recent survey, 18% of North Carolina parents reported that childcare issues impacted their ability to work.

The report also highlights paid family and sick leave as a policy that can be adopted by public officials and business owners to allow parents to care for their children and themselves without losing income or even their jobs. It also focuses on the impact of excessive stress levels for parents and children and how to provide caregivers with the support they need to be loving, nurturing parents, even during difficult circumstances. To raise healthy children, parents must have the opportunity to take care of their own emotional, mental and physical health.

For more information about NC Child, please click here.

To read the full report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, please click here.

Report finds child poverty is at highest point in 20 years

by Administrator 23. October 2014 13:51

According to a policy analysis published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, child poverty in America is at its highest point in 20 years. Among other findings, the report reveals that 1 in 4 children don’t have enough to eat; 7 million children don’t have health insurance; 1 in 3 children is overweight or obese; 1 in 5 experiences a mental health disorder; a child is abused or neglected every minute; and 5 children are killed daily by firearms.

Despite this overwhelming need and the fact that children account for 24% of the overall U.S. population, only 8% of federal expenditures are focused on children. 

“It shouldn’t be this hard for kids to grow and thrive in the world’s richest, most powerful nation,” said co-author Bruce Lesley, president of child advocacy organization First Focus.

We know that the effects of poverty are most destructive in a child's early years. Here in Durham, nearly 30% of children birth to 5 live in poverty. Poverty has far-reaching consequences for young children, negatively impacting brain development, physical and emotional health, and educational achievement. These are key building blocks for productive adult lives, and that foundation begins with a child’s earliest experiences. 

In response, the Partnership leads initiatives that address the multi-faceted effects of poverty. Early intervention and two-generation strategies that serve both parent and child create better futures for everyone. By increasing access to high quality care for low-income children, we buffer toxic stress and promote healthy development; parents, in turn, can work or go to school. We fund evidence-based programs that address mental health and behavioral issues, help prevent child abuse and neglect, empower parents through education and support, and encourage healthy physical habits through nutrition and outdoor learning environments that combat childhood obesity. We know that this work is making an impact. 

The JAMA Pediatrics report calls upon the federal government to set goals for eliminating child poverty and put strong measures in place to protect our young citizens. Their recommendations include expanding support for policies and programming similar to what we do here in Durham to serve our community’s young children and families. 

“Overwhelming, bipartisan support by American voters exists for measures that would enhance our nation’s investments in and focus on children’s health and well-being... The needs of our nation’s children have never been greater.”

As we are in the midst of election season and prepare for the NC General Assembly to enter its session, please consider how our legislative leaders can better support early childhood issues. Visit the North Carolina Child Care Coalition's action center and sign up for our advocacy updates to get more information on how you can become a champion for young children. 

Hillary Clinton announces early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents

by Administrator 14. October 2014 10:20

This past weekend, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) new early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents. The toolkit – Books Build Connections – provides updated, practical resources for pediatric professionals, as well as guidance for families on the importance of talking, reading, and singing with their children to promote early learning. The toolkit will be shared with the AAP’s 62,000 pediatrician members at their annual convention this week.

In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced a partnership with Too Small to Fail (a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation), Scholastic Inc., and Reach Out and Read to raise awareness among parents about early language development. The organizations have committed to supporting early literacy and ensuring that doctors, parents and caregivers have the information, tools and books they need to promote talking, reading out loud and singing to children every day starting in infancy.

Early literacy is a crucial part of a child’s development, as reading to children enhances vocabulary, builds important communication skills, and gives them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life.  But many low-income children are exposed to very little reading before entering school, and in fact, studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper class families hear 30 million more words than their lower income peers.

“Coming to school without words is like coming to school without breakfast or books,” said Clinton.

This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words, which puts children born with the fewest advantages even further behind. Unfortunately, it’s easy to understand how the achievement gap is evident long before children start school. 

"Fewer than half of children younger than 5 years old are read to daily in our country... now, more pediatricians are taking a stand to spread the news more widely through our recent policy, toolkit and partnership with Too Small to Fail. Talking, reading and singing with young children is a joyful way to build strong and healthy parent-child relationships, foster early language skills and promote children's development,” said James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP.

Pediatricians offer a nearly universal way to reach children before they begin school, and it is exciting to have the AAP’s 62,000 members as powerful advocates for reading and talking to children early and often! 

Click here to watch Clinton's full remarks at the AAP conference, and to read more about the early literacy toolkit, please click here. If you are interested in helping to inspire a love of reading through our Readers as Leaders volunteer program, please click here or contact Krissy Dunn.

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