Local Financing for Early Childhood

Local Financing Options for Early Childhood Development
A Report by the Blue Ribbon Commission

Providing high quality early childhood experiences to children takes significant resources. Historically, federal and state governments have provided the large majority of early childhood development funding in our state, as they do across the country. But with competition for this funding increasing, many communities across the state are looking to boost local efforts and outcomes.

During the Fall of 2017, the Institute for Emerging Issues brought together a Blue Ribbon Commission of distinguished leaders from across the state to explore a wide range of local public and private funding streams. Over the course of four meetings, they drew upon the knowledge of experts from the NC Association of County Commissioners, NC Department of Commerce, NC Department of State Treasurer, the NC Early Childhood Foundation, NC Rural Center, The Forum for Youth Investment, Social Finance and the Public Consulting Group.

Released at the 2018 Emerging Issues Forum, the group’s report affirms the importance of early childhood development to our state’s economic future. It describes a range of local funding options, both pubic and private, available now to communities seeking to increase investment in and the effectiveness of early childhood development services.  It also takes note of others that could be made available with changes to state law.

There are four main findings:


Private and public capital play different — and complementary – roles in early childhood development


While local communities can and should invest in early childhood development, their capacity varies greatly across the state.


Even the state’s wealthiest communities are unlikely to be able to self-fund more than a fraction of the costs of providing these experiences to their children.


For all investments in early childhood development, we should demand results based on outcomes, backed up by the rigorous use of data and evaluation. We must pay particular attention to closing gaps in development outcomes across groups in our state.

Read the full report

View BRC Member List here.

IEI Staff Contact:
Pat Cronin
Assistant Director for Policy and Programs