The Orange County Partnership for Young Children (OCPYC) is dedicated to ensuring that every child in Orange County arrives at school healthy and ready to succeed. We promote young children’s healthy development and school readiness by planning, implementing, and funding a variety of programs that address the critical issues facing young children and their families. Our work falls into four focus areas: Early Care and Education, Child Health and Early Intervention, Family Support, and Community Outreach and Engagement.
EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION
When young children have access to high-quality early care and education programs, it improves their chances of success in kindergarten and beyond. During the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s access to early care and education has become more important than ever.
The Child Care Services Association’s Ready Infant Toddler Classroom Initiative (RITC) works with 4- and 5-star child care centers to improve the quality of services provided in their infant and toddler classrooms. In FY 2019-2020, RITC engaged more than twice the number of child care staff as projected, working with 21 teachers in 10 classrooms at 5 child care centers. Services were provided remotely in the fourth quarter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Orange County Public Library’s Time to Read program works to boost child care teachers’ confidence in delivering literacy activities in their classrooms in order to improve the early literacy experiences of the children in their care. Time to Read supported 38 staff in 30 classrooms with Storytime- to-Go thematic bags throughout FY 2019-2020.
The OCPYC Smart Start Child Care Subsidy Program helps families access high-quality child care by assisting with child care tuition costs. Eligible families receive a voucher through the Orange County Department of Social Services, and tuition funds are paid directly to the child care program. Children receiving a Smart Start subsidy must enroll in child care centers or homes with a 4- or 5-star rating.
OCPYC Smart Start Subsidy Enhancements are also provided to 4- and 5-star child care facilities participating in Smart Start-funded activities to increase the quality of their program. These enhanced reimbursement rates are also provided on behalf of children receiving assistance through the Orange County Department of Social Services.
In addition to Smart Start subsidy funds, OCPYC provides financial and program oversight, as well as coaching and technical assistance, for the NC Pre-K program. NC Pre-K is designed to provide high-quality educational experiences to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year-olds. This year, children received a monthly book until the age of 5 through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and parents received text messages on language and literacy development through Ready 4K.