Rationale: The years prior to kindergarten are critical in shaping a child’s foundation for
later school success. Research demonstrates that learning begins at birth and that high quality early learning programs help children arrive in kindergarten ready to succeed. Yet in
Buncombe County, gaps in access to affordable high-quality child care options are expected to
persist due to limited availability. Currently less than 1/3 of children ages birth through five in
Buncombe County are enrolled in licensed programs (4,087 out of 14,319). In NC, the average
annual cost of center-based care for an infant is $9,254; $8,386 for a toddler; and $7,920 for a
- Attract, develop, and retain early childhood teachers.
- Increase percentage of kindergarteners entering public school who demonstrate proficiency.
- Increase the percent of children ages 0-5 served by high-quality licensed care.