This post is part of a series on the state budget featuring the voices of North Carolina experts on what our state needs to progress so that all North Carolinians have a fair shot to get ahead.
What do North Carolina’s children need in order to get a solid start in life, and what priority should children have in the annual legislative competition for state funds? Child advocates like us are pressed every year to tell the legislature what we think is most important for our state’s 2.3 million children to grow into thriving, successful adults. And every year we make the case for a range of effective, research-based policy solutions in health care, early childhood education, child care and child safety.
But after 30 years of working to make North Carolina the best place to be a child and to raise a child, we can say this without reservation: our children will most surely thrive when we support the families and the communities in which they live. We cannot separate the fate of our state’s children from the reality of their parents’ lives, the condition of their neighborhoods, and the opportunities available or missing in their communities.
Unfortunately, many children in North Carolina are growing up in families living on the brink and in communities facing deep and persistent barriers to success and prosperity. These families live in small towns and rural areas, but also in suburbs and city neighborhoods. They are striving to make ends meet, but low-wage jobs with few benefits are often the only ones available to them. Read more