In Forsyth County, 48.5% of young children are at risk of falling behind in reading

Why early childhood?

When children thrive, we all thrive.

Research shows that every dollar spent on early childhood initiatives provides over eight dollars in benefits back to society. However, nearly half of the children entering school in Forsyth County are at risk of falling behind their peers in reading. Fewer Latino students are reading at grade level than in other parts of North Carolina.

Poverty has a lasting impact on our youngest residents.

While Forsyth County boasts a growing economy, approximately 36 percent of Forsyth County children are experiencing poverty. Research shows that living in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood is equal to missing one year of school.

We work to achieve equitable and sustainable access to opportunity.

We invest in equitable opportunities to improve educational and health outcomes for all young children and their families.

Our Process

We collaborate to tackle tough issues.

We work in a connected way with nonprofits, parents, and caregivers. We provide technical assistance so organizations can work collaboratively with the families they serve.

We listen and learn together.

Parents told us that they want to support their children’s learning at home and be leaders in their educational success. They’ve requested more information about health and education services and report that existing services are not aligned.

We build capacity.

We partner with the community to build the capacity of new leaders, deepen relationships, and improve local, county, and state policies to support thriving communities and a healthier state.

We invest in long-term change.

We work holistically to foster sustainable systems change. We review data, consider community context, gather input from experts, support the development and implementation of strategies, and continually monitor progress.

Strategic Goals

Of babies born in Forsyth County, 10.3% are born with a low birth weight, with African American babies experiencing a rate of 15.5%.

Improve birth outcomes through early intervention.

What we know: When families have access to quality health services, it improves birth outcomes and sets children up to learn and thrive. Unfortunately, Forsyth County consistently ranks last of North Carolina’s largest, urban counties in indicators of health for young children and adults.

What we do: We’re investing in evidence-based home visiting programs; working to improve access to care and resources; and supporting parents, caregivers, and teachers to identify children’s behavioral health needs.

In 2013, 54% of children entering kindergarten in Forsyth County schools were at risk of falling behind in reading.

Increase access to quality childcare and early learning.

What we know: Early experiences and environment can have a lasting impact on brain development, setting children up for later success in school and life. However, expensive programs, long waitlists, and bias keep many children—particularly low-income children and children of color—from accessing and thriving in formal childcare.

What we do: We’re working to improve kindergarten readiness by increasing access to universal pre-K and ensure informal caregivers—family, friends, and neighbors—have access to high-quality resources, because that’s where many children are getting their care. We’re also focused on reducing bias in formal care and improving the alignment of birth-to-eight learning systems.

Forsyth County ranks as the second worst out of 2,478 counties nationally for economic mobility for children born into poverty.

Support family success by building an inclusive economy.

What we know: To help young children in Forsyth County thrive, we have to help families thrive. Forsyth County ranks as the second worst out of 2,478 counties nationally for economic mobility for children born into poverty, and this impacts how well they succeed in school.

What we do: Working with our Local Impact program, we’re exploring ways to build the local will for economic mobility, advance opportunities for families with low incomes, improve opportunities for youth ages 16 to 24 who are not connected to work or school, and improve the safety net.

Updates and Reports

Forsyth Family Voices

A community engagement initiative that trained service providers to interview parents and caregivers (largely low-income and of color) about families’ strengths and what they need to help their children succeed.

Early Childhood Service System Analysis

Conducted in partnership with Forsyth Futures, this research created a comprehensive map of services that impact early childhood development, to understand systems gaps and opportunities for alignment.

Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care Study

Surveyed parents and caregivers to learn more about informal childcare arrangements in Forsyth County, because only 34 percent of young children in the county are enrolled in licensed and regulated care.

Our Team

Program Officer

Project Manager