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An 18-month initiative to help four Tier 1 and Tier 2 communities strengthen leadership capacity within their local early childhood development systems.

Participants in the KidsReadyNC initiative reflect on the program.

From April 2018 to October 2019, the Institute for Emerging Issues served as organizing partner on the KidsReadyNC initiative, coordinating a four-person support team of content and process experts delivering technical assistance to leaders from four participating communities (Catawba, Chowan, Randolph, Rockingham counties). 

The question the KidsReadyNC initiative successfully answered was whether a (mostly) virtual assistance model could strengthen leadership capacity in local early childhood development systems in lower-resourced communities and do so much more cheaply than conventional face-to-face support efforts.

Over eighteen months, the KidsReadyNC initiative increased leadership capacity while generating early “wins” and leaving each community with both strategies and momentum to generate positive childhood outcomes over time. 

The initiative’s final report highlights key learnings and offers guidance for others considering a virtual support approach. Understanding the value and limitations of virtual support approaches is especially attractive in a time of social distancing and mid- to long-term challenges to governmental budgets. While the active support phase of the KidsReadyNC initiative concluded before the pandemic began, an Addendum to this report offers updated reflections from the participating communities on the use of virtual support technologies following a year of working remotely. 

We chose to be part of the KidsReadyNC initiative because we were looking for what’s next. I believe that we should be working to be better tomorrow than we are today, and in order to do that, we’ve always got to be on the cutting edge.

Sheila Evans

White Oak Elementary School, Edenton-Chowan Schools

KidsReadyNC Resource Library

The Institute for Emerging Issues is grateful for the support received from
The Belk FoundationThe Duke Endowment and The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. The KidsReadyNC initiative would not have been possible without it. 

The Institute would also like to thank the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Community Development Department for its contributions.

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