When children thrive we all benefit from a well-educated workforce, safer communities, and a more prosperous economic future. NC Child, a data-driven child advocacy organization, recommends the following six priorities to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to become successful adults:
1. Maintain and restore funding for infant mortality prevention programs as recommended by the Child Fatality Task Force.
2. Ensure that Medicaid reform proposals address access to high-quality physical and behavioral health care for children and families.
3. Protect North Carolina’s early childhood infrastructure, including Smart Start, NC Pre-K, and child care subsidy, which drives high-quality early care and education ensuring all children start school healthy and ready to learn.
4. Ensure that young children with developmental delays and disabilities have access to critical services by restoring funding to the Early Intervention program.
5. Raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18 for youth who commit misdemeanors with adequate resources to fund the policy change.
6. Reinstate the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to improve household financial security for working, low-income families.
Every year, the General Assembly makes hundreds of decisions that affect the lives children and families. NC Child recommends that legislators use the following principles to guide their decision-making:
Ensure the health and safety of all children. All children should grow up in safe, stable and nurturing homes and communities. All children should have access to adequate food and shelter and medical care.
Invest in the future. The future prosperity of our state depends upon the healthy development of our children. The ingredients that lead to successful outcomes for children include: strong families and communities, a rigorous education, access to health care, and economic stability.
Strengthen and modernize critical infrastructure. Over the past several decades, North Carolina has built critical infrastructure that supports the healthy development of children and families: public schools, early childhood education, and health care. Now is the time to strengthen and modernize these institutions.