We want our children to have a flying start in life; be well-educated; enjoy the best possible health; live in a decent home; have access to an enriched environment including play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities; be listened to, treated with respect and feel safe.
The aim is for parents, educators and those involved in childcare education to be well-informed and have the right level of skills to help all our children stay healthy, develop well and fulfill their potential.
In Orange County, the percentage of children in poverty from 2009- 2013 was pegged at 17.8 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2009 – 2013. When families struggle to make ends meet, it impacts their children now and for years in the future. The effects of income on children start early with the way children’s brains are built, and continue through school, careers and health.
The Partnership believes that it needs to start as early in children’s lives as possible by creating a critical mass of adults who understand what it takes to help children succeed. To do this, it has created and implemented a comprehensive, outcome- focused plan to provide an avenue for community planning, shared learning as well as networking and development. The ultimate goal is to bring families and communities together to make sure children enter kindergarten healthy, happy and ready to learn.
Orange County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
The Orange County Partnership for Young Children funds the Orange County Campaign for Grade level Reading, a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the country to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. It focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation – grade-level reading by the end of third grade.
By the end of the third grade, if students are able to shift from learning to read to reading to learn, they will be able to master the more difficult topics they encounter in the fourth grade.
Data collected over the years shows that two thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to national reading assessment data. This disturbing statistic is made even worse by the fact that more than four out of every five low-income students miss this critical milestone.
Family Success Alliance
There is no magic formula to change the way poverty decreases the chances our children and our community have to succeed. That is why the Partnership is working with 21 other partners in the Family Success Alliance to adapt lessons from successful models such as the Harlem Children’s Zone, to Orange County. Such models improve children’s chances for educational and economic opportunities by serving a defined geographic area (a zone) and its children with a seamless “pipeline” of evidence-based programs, services, and supports from birth to career.
Up and running as a pilot in two zones – Zone 6 which is the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area and Zone 4 in rural Orange County – the program is focused on helping children living in poverty and adults for substance abuse, mental illness and chronic diseases.
The Family Success Alliance Advisory Council consists of 22 members representing a cross section of the community, local government agencies, and non-profit organizations. A representative from each of the selected zones will also be included. The Council is responsible for advising and making decisions on zone selection, resource allocations, program planning, and policy changes to ensure a pipeline of high-quality services exists in Orange County.