Forest City – Area Smart Start leaders joined state legislators on Friday, March 29, at First Baptist Children’s Development Center in Marion to provide an overview of local Smart Start programming and convey the importance of continued funding and support for the littlest constituents in Western North Carolina.

Leaders from Buncombe Partnership for Children, Blue Ridge Partnership for Children, Partnership for Children of the Foothills (McDowell, Polk, Rutherford counties), Smart Start Partnership for Children (Henderson County), Transylvania Partnership for Children, Caldwell Partnership, Burke Smart Start, and Region A Partnership for Children joined Sen. Chuck Edwards (District 48), Sen. Ralph Hise (District 47), and Rep. Josh Dobson, District 85, for a roundtable presentation and discussion.

The purpose of the round table was to educate our senators and representatives on Smart Start services, and create a greater awareness of how Smart Start funds are used and what they support.

Presentations highlighted several of the most important initiatives offered through Smart Start, and shared a combined vision for continued growth, development and funding support from the North Carolina legislature. Smart Start funding supports initiatives that improve quality of licensed child care, efforts to reduce the cost of child care, access to health services and family support. Attending legislators were also given a tour of the First Baptist Children’s Development Center, which offers both Pre-K and school-age programming, and currently enrolls 99 children.

“I think today’s discussion was a positive exchange of ideas, and we are excited about our state’s continued interest in supporting families and young children in our communities,” said Barry Gold, executive director of Partnership for Children of the Foothills and the session moderator. “It is wonderful to have state legislators who are willing to partner with us to ensure that we can continue to provide the programs offered through Smart Start.”

With support from NC Smart Start Initiative, Partnership for Children of the Foothills provides programs for children from birth to five years and their families in the areas of Child Care/Education and Family Support in McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties.

The Partnership for Children builds and sustains relationships with community agencies and service providers, offering creative and unique programs for children and their families, licensed child care centers and home family child care. For more information, visit: www.pfcfoothills.org

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