Joy Everhart (Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships) received new funding from Guilford County Partnership for Children for the project “Equity in the Earliest Years Program.” Dannette McCain is a co-principal investigator on the project.
There is a critical need for addressing social issues as early as infancy and toddlerhood. In North Carolina, a child can become involved with the Juvenile Justice System at the age of six. According to the 2017 annual report of the NC Juvenile Justice System, 1,364 juvenile justice complaints were received in NC for children ages ten and younger. In addition, children with low socioeconomic status who do not receive quality early childhood education can be impacted by devastating consequences and life outcomes. For example, students living in poverty who do not receive high quality early childhood education are 50% more likely to be placed in special education, 60% less likely to attend college, and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime (Heckman, 2008).
These facts point to the importance of equipping ECE Professionals with knowledge and skills to (1) build equitable, high quality early learning environments and (2) work effectively with infants and toddlers facing multiple risk factors for negative outcomes in later childhood and beyond.
The target population for this project is ECE Professionals in Guilford County. As a pilot of the EEY Program, the initial plan for this funding cycle is to train 25 professionals, including teachers, teacher assistants, and childcare center directors. In selecting the initial cohort for this program, priority will be given to those working directly with infants and toddlers in programs serving predominantly children of color from families with lower incomes, given their elevated risk of juvenile justice system involvement.