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To support communities in improving outcomes for young children and families, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has released county data for the 10 goals and more than 50 measures that are part of the state’s Early Childhood Action Plan. These new data reports are available for all 100 counties and cover issues such as infant mortality, food and housing security, emergency room visits, child health, foster care, early learning and early literacy.
The Early Childhood Action Plan County Data Reports are a resource for communities to create aligned action to support children’s healthy development. Each report includes data disaggregated by age, race, ethnicity and geography. A recent report Opens in New Window by the University of North Carolina’s Jordan Institute for Families called on the state to increase access to and transparency of early childhood data. The Early Childhood Action Plan County Data Reports are one response to that recommendation. State-level early childhood data is available through an online data dashboard, launched earlier in the year.
“Together, we can build a state where all children get a healthy start and develop to their full potential in safe and nurturing families, schools and communities,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD. “It will take all of us working together to realize our bold goals, recognizing that much of that work happens in local communities. We are committed to ensuring that our community partners have the data they need to drive informed-decision making.”
The NC Early Childhood Action Plan was launched in February 2019 by Governor Roy Cooper, created with input from more than 1,500 North Carolinians. It provides a framework to measurably improve outcomes by 2025 for children from birth through age eight, driving the state toward a vision where young children are healthier, safer and thriving. The most rapid period of development in human life happens from birth through age eight. Children’s earliest experiences are built into their bodies — shaping the brain’s architecture and creating the foundation for future health and learning.
Communities are encouraged to engage diverse perspectives to better understand the early childhood data made accessible through the county data reports. “The reports provide a snapshot of how our children are doing, but not the root causes behind what is driving the data,” said Rebecca Planchard, DHHS’ Senior Early Childhood Policy Advisor. “Data is a helpful and important springboard to engage our communities, ask questions and work together to support our children and families.”
All 100 county reports are available online for download at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/early-childhood-action-plan-county-data-reports. Webinars will be held to help counties understand and utilize the information in the reports. Registration information about the webinars is available at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/early-childhood-action-plan-webinars.
For more information about the Early Childhood Action Plan visit ncdhhs.gov/early-childhood.