A top priority for Smart Start is increasing the quality of early care and education across the state. The goal is to promote high quality early care that is child-focused, family-friendly and fair to providers. For years, Smart Start subsidy funds have been used to increase the quality of early child care and education in the state. A top priority for Smart Start is increasing the quality of early care and education across the state. The goal is to promote high quality early care that is child-focused, family-friendly and fair to providers. For years, Smart Start subsidy funds have been used to increase the quality of early child care and education in the state.

  • The percentage of children in 4 and 5 star programs increased from 33 percent in 2001 to 73 percent in 2014.
  • The average star rating for children receiving subsidized care increased from 2.68 in 2001 to 4.36 stars in 2014.

% of Children in 4 and 5 Star Programs

avg Star rating for children in subsidized care

Smart Start partnerships manage subsidy funds within their communities to continue to improve early care and education across the state…

  • This allows for targeted solutions that address specific community needs by boosting quality, promoting access for children that are at the highest risk, supporting families, and assisting providers.
  • While the model for what works best looks different in every community, Smart Start subsidy scholarships allow communities to make data-driven decisions that best meet local needs.

Smart Start partnerships use subsidy funds to:

  • Improve the quality of child care programs across North Carolina.
  • Collaborate with other local organizations to ensure access to comprehensive early care and education for all participants.
  • Support families so parents can be active partners in their child’s success.
  • Assist child care providers in maintaining a sustainable business model for high quality care.
  • Prioritize subsidy funds for children and families that are most at risk.
  • Identify local needs and work with community partners to address challenges.