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 three focus areas: Early Care and Education, Child Health, and Family Support.
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.
The Child Care Services Association’s Ready Infant Toddler Classroom Initiative (RITC) works with existing 4- and 5-star child care centers to improve the quality of services provided in their infant and toddler classrooms through a variety of strategies including consultation, quality improvement and professional development planning, and specialized training. In FY 2018-2019, RITC engaged more than double the number of classrooms and staff as projected, conducting a total of 318 site visits in 20 classrooms at 11 child care centers.
Through OCPYC’s support of the Orange County Public Library’s Time to Read program, 301 Storytime-to-Go bags were distributed in 30 classrooms at 7 child care centers across Orange County. These bags are loaned to participating child care providers to assist in the incorporation of language development and literacy strategies into the classroom, and include age-appropriate books, manipulatives, games, songs, and/or puppets.
“One teacher in particular this year has been dedicated to using the Storytime-to-Go thematic bags as part of her daily literacy activities. By using the bags she has increased the diversity of literacy activities in her classroom. She has taken the ideas from the bags and created her own flannel pieces and interactive activities. The bags have become a crucial part of her planning process and the children in her classroom are engaged and excited about receiving new books, music, and activities with each new bag.”
–Stephanie Knop, Orange County Public Library
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 the 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. The program requirements are built on the premise that to be successful academically in school, children need to be prepared in all five of the developmental domains: Approaches to Play and Learning, Emotional and Social Development, Health and Physical Development, Language Development and Communication, and Cognitive Development.