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NCDHHS celebrates the Week of the Young Child, recognizes North Carolina early educators

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RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services joins partners across the state and nation in celebrating the “Week of the Young Child” April 2-8, 2022. The annual event honors young children, their families and the adults who shape their early development.

 “During the Week of the Young Child, we celebrate early childhood teachers who help build healthy young brains and bodies that prepare children for success in school and life,” said Susan Gale Perry, NCDHHS chief deputy secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being. “An excellent early childhood workforce is a bedrock of our economy now and for the future — helping parents go to work and shaping a strong future workforce.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions and challenges to child care programs across the country. NCDHHS is helping North Carolina’s early care and learning network recover and rebuild even stronger, ensuring access to quality services for families and high-quality learning environments for young children. Last year, NCDHHS announced a historic $805 million investment in North Carolina Child Care and Stabilization Grants to provide direct financial relief to early care and learning programs. More than 90% of programs receiving the Stabilization Grants are using the funds to raise traditionally low teacher salaries and to retain and recruit these essential educators. 

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“Working families need reliable, affordable child care, and young children need early childhood teachers who help them develop to their full potential,” said NCDHHS Division of Child Development Director Ariel Ford. “Week of the Young Child is a time to celebrate the professionalism and dedication of North Carolina’s early care and learning teachers, give thanks for the temporary federal funds fueling child care recovery after the pandemic and commit to long-term investment in the profession that raises North Carolina.” 

Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, focusing public attention on the needs of young children and their families and recognizing the early childhood programs and services meeting those needs.

 North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed April 2022 as “Month of the Young Child” and April 2-8, 2022 as “Week of the Young Child,” encouraging all North Carolinians to support efforts that increase children and families’ access to high-quality early childhood education.