06/27/08 — Wayne County child care advocates lobby for more legislative funding

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Wayne County child care advocates lobby for more legislative funding

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 27, 2008 1:45 PM

Child care professionals, advocates, parents and business leaders from Wayne County were among those who traveled to Raleigh Tuesday to meet with the legislators in the N.C. General Assembly.

The delegation formed part of Smart Start's statewide "Tuesdays for Tots" initiative, discussing important issues facing young children and working families on behalf of the Partnership for Children of Wayne County.

Don Magoon, executive director, said the Partnership, which is a Smart Start agency, is committed to ensuring all children start school healthy and ready to succeed.

"However," he added, "the challenges facing working families in our area are expanding and, as a result, our partnership is being asked to do much more with much less.

"Today's meeting was an important step in helping our local legislative leaders better understand the needs of young children and working families throughout our community."

Tuesdays for Tots is Smart Start's signature advocacy effort. It takes place each year during the legislative session. The one-on-one meetings with legislators is geared toward educating lawmakers on Smart Start successes, while discussing the challenges faced by young children and their families.

Smart Start, one of North Carolina's nationally recognized and award-winning early childhood initiatives, is a public-private venture that provides early education funding to all 100 counties in the state.

Currently, funding is at $203.6 million from the state, but over the past eight years, has experienced $25.7 million (or $79.9 million if adjusted for inflation) in budgetary cuts. As a result, partnerships across North Carolina are asking the General Assembly for a $44.7 million increase during the 2008 session to keep pace with critical issues serving families and young children.

Among those who made the trip to Raleigh were Annette McLamb of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, parent Natalie Kemp, Sandra Grant of Wee Are the World Too Child Care, and Kim Best and Patty Huffman, representing the local partnership.