Statement from Cindy Watkins, President, The North Carolina Partnership for Children


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 17, 2016
Press Contact: Heather Strickland, 919-821-9564,

The following statement is in response to a study by Duke University researchers that found that children who were enrolled in North Carolina’s early childhood programs (Smart Start and NC Pre-K) performed better throughout elementary school, with gains lasting through fifth grade.

From Cindy Watkins, President, NCPC:

“Starting early with quality care and education has life-long benefits – we know this,” stated Cindy Watkins, President of the North Carolina Partnership for Children, the organization that oversees the Smart Start network. “The educational outcomes of this study conducted by Duke University, combined with the long-term benefits of our health and family support programs, further reinforce the need to invest in strong foundations for our youngest children to set them up for success in school and life.”

  • Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy:
  • Duke Today:
  • News & Observer article:


About the North Carolina Partnership for Children and Smart Start: Smart Start is a network of 75 nonprofit local partnerships that serve all 100 North Carolina counties. This network is led by The North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC) that ensures fiscal and programmatic accountability, and coordinates the statewide network to create better outcomes for children and families. Learn more about NCPC and the Smart Start network at


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