WNC Smart Start Leaders Join State Legislators For Discussion


April 8, 2019

Courtesy Photo

Participants of the session, pictured from left to right, are Brianna McMinn, Sen. Edwards assistant; Amy Barry, Buncombe Partnership; Deb Tibbetts, Smart Start of Transylvania County; Kristi Cook, Region A Partnership; Sen. Ralph Hise; Jennifer Simpson, Blue Ridge Partnership; Teresa Branch, Caldwell Partnership; Kathy Smith, Burke Smart Start; Sonia Gironda, Henderson Partnership; Sen. Chuck Edwards, Barry Gold, Foothills Partnership and Rep. Josh Dobson.

Area Smart Start leaders joined state legislators on Friday, March 29, at First Baptist Children's Development Center in Marion, to provide an overview of local Smart Start programming and convey the importance of continued funding and support for the littlest constituents in Western North Carolina.

Leaders from Buncombe Partnership for Children, Blue Ridge Partnership for Children, Partnership for Children of the Foothills (McDowell, Polk and Rutherford counties), Smart Start Partnership for Children (Henderson), Smart Start of Transylvania County, Caldwell Partnership, Burke Smart Start, and Region A Partnership for Children joined Sen. Chuck Edwards, District 48, Sen. Ralph Hise, District 47, and Rep. Josh Dobson, District 85, for a roundtable presentation and discussion.

The presentations highlighted several of the most important initiatives offered through Smart Start, and shared a combined vision for continued growth, development and funding support from the North Carolina legislature. Smart Start funding supports initiatives that improve quality of licensed child care, efforts to reduce the cost of child care, access to health services and family support. Attending legislators were also given a tour of the First Baptist Children's Development Center, which offers both Pre-K and school-age programming, and currently enrolls 99 children.

"I think today's discussion was a positive exchange of ideas, and we are excited about our state's continued interest in supporting families and young children in our communities," said Deb Tibbetts, executive director of Smart Start of Transylvania County. "It is wonderful to have state legislators who are willing to partner with us to ensure that we can continue to provide the programs offered through Smart Start."


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