NC To Get $56M For Early Childhood Education, Health

Jan 9, 2020

In this February 2019 file photo, Leigh Bordley, executive director of Durham's LEAP Academy, admires an airplane a preschool student built out of toys.
Credit Lisa Philip / WUNC

North Carolina will receive up to $56 million toward improving early childhood education and health outcomes for at-risk children, Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday.

Cooper's office said the two competitive grants, which will be distributed over seven years, come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The science is just overwhelming as how much of a difference that early childhood education makes in whether a child is going to succeed in school and in life,” Cooper said during a visit to a Cary day care center for the announcement.

A $40.2 million Preschool Development Grant from DHHS in part will help pay for professional development and coaching for early childhood teachers, as well as to expand a home-visitation program by nurses for parents of newborns, Cooper's office said in a news release.

The CMS grant, which could reach $16 million, implements “Integrated Care for Kids,” a program for children who receive Medicaid coverage and other services.

Speaking at the Bright Beginnings Child Development Center, Cooper said he is working on ways to improve pay for pre-kindergarten teachers and expand Medicaid coverage to more working people, such as those working in child care.