There are a number of studies and evaluations of the Smart Start initiative found through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center. Smart Start has reaches thousands of children every day in the state of North Carolina and is getting children better prepared for school. The true success of Smart Start is achieved in local communities where local partnerships are administering the initiative to meet local needs.
Since Smart Start began:
155,140 families have received child care subsidies so they can work;
387,800 children have received important preventive health screenings to detect health problems before they become serious;
424,000 children have been educated in higher quality child care facilities;
246,500 parents have received health and parenting education; and
more than $125 million in private contributions have been received.
Children Are Better Prepared for School
According to a Frank Porter Graham Study in Orange and Mecklenburg Counties, children who received Smart Start services were better prepared when they entered school. Scores on kindergarten assessment tests were higher for those children who received Smart Start services.
Child Care Quality Has Improved
Research by UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center shows that Smart Start is increasing the overall quality of child care. In addition, the number of top quality child care centers has increased by more than 60 percent in Smart Start counties.
Teachers Are Better Educated
Before Smart Start in Ashe County, only 5 percent of child care teachers and providers had earned their North Carolina Early Childhood Credential. Today, thanks to Smart Start and T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) grants, 100 percent of the teachers and providers in the county have completed their training and have earned the child care credential.
Teacher Turnover Has Been Reduced
Thanks to Smart Start and T.E.A.C.H. the teacher turnover rate in Orange County has been reduced to 22 percent, the lowest turnover rate in the state.
Children Are Healthier
One pressing health need in almost every county in North Carolina is the lack of dental services for young children, especially those on Medicaid. Smart Start partnerships are helping make progress by offering dental clinics and finding dentists to volunteer their time and expertise to serve young children. In Catawba County, dental screenings were made available for children in every child care center in the county. Of the children that were screened, 82 percent had never seen a dentist. In Jones, Craven and Pamlico Counties the "Smile Mobile" offers free dental care to children under the age of six in the three county area.