The Partnership for Children (PFC) of Cumberland County is a nonprofit organization with a successful record of making a difference for Cumberland County’s children. We are the local administrator for Smart Start, North Carolina’s early childhood initiative, and the NC Pre-Kindergarten Program. The central goal of PFC is that all children arrive at Kindergarten ready for success in school. This goal has been consistent over the 23 plus years of operation, and all its supporting goals are intended to drive toward that result.

Inequities at the Starting Gate

PFC recognizes that children neither begin nor end their education on an equal footing.  PFC invests in services for those identified in greatest need and those at risk of poor academic and long-term life outcomes. Inequities . . .

  • At the starting gate
  • In who attends preschool
  • In the quality of the facility
  • In who teaches young children
  • In the infrastructure that supports early childhood education
  • In funding streams

Our Role

PFC serve in the role as “the great equalizer” by leveling the playing field so all children start school with an equal chance of doing well. PFC serves as a community change agent, catalyst, investor, and capacity builder — in whatever combination is required to advance our mission.

Our Vision

Successful children ensure a thriving community and long-term economic prosperity.

Our Mission

Be the driving force to engage partners to achieve lasting positive outcomes for all children, beginning at birth.

Our Philosophy

The health and wellness of children from birth to five years of age sets the stage for future success. Between birth and kindergarten, infants, toddlers and preschoolers spend more time in early care and education (ECE) programs than any other setting or institution in the state. Therefore, ECE programs are critical for giving many children, especially low income and minority children, the best possible start in life.

Our Values & Principles

  1. Accountable: We believe that results matter and that a focus on TRANSPARENCY and EXCELLENCE yields improved OUTCOMES and STEWARDSHIP of resources.
  2. Innovative: We believe we should never accept STATUS QUO in a CHANGING WORLD.
  3. Child & Family-Focused: We believe in a system of care that is CHILD-CENTERED and FAMILY-FOCUSED, with services and supports that are STRENGTHS-BASED and COMMUNITY-BASED.
  4. Collaborative: We believe in JOINT EFFORT toward COMMON GOALS across all sectors to support families.
  5. Inclusive: We advocate for policies, practices, and systems that promote FULL and INCLUSIVE participation of children, families, and early childhood professionals.
  6.  Respectful: We ensure that each person who seeks our services is treated with personal RESPECT, COURTESY, COMPASSION and SENSITIVITY.

Our Goals

Fulfilling our vision and mission requires progress in four focus areas, across all programming:

  • Organizational Development: Internal Capacity To Realize Its Mission And Achieve Greater Impact
  • Engagement: Families and Communities Play a Leading Role
  • Strengthening Partnerships: An Innovative and Connected System
  • Programs: High-Quality Opportunities for All Children.

Our Theory of Change

Positively impacting the first five years, change lives, as illustrated in the video Change the First Five Years and You Change Everything

If . . .

  • Stakeholders learn about early childhood issues and efforts to influence early childhood planning and practice throughout the community;
  • Collaboration across governmental jurisdictions and across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors reinforce one another’s work and investments;
  • Existing programs, services, and funding streams are integrated into a flexible and comprehensive system of supports;
  • Service providers have knowledge and skills to implement evidenced informed practices to children and their families;
  • Customers, partners, & supporters learn about and access the resources  of Partnership for Children.


Improving Outcomes for Cumberland County’s Children with Evidence-Based Programs and Services

PFC strategically fund evidence-based/evidence-informedactivities and programs that are most likely to have positive outcomes for young children and their families.

Our approach:

  • Invest in Outcomes – The Smart Start Resource Guide of Evidence-Based and Evidence-Informed Programs and Practices provides local partnerships with evidence on program outcomes to support informed budget choices that produce targeted results for communities.
  • Monitor Effectiveness – A Quality Assurance process examines local partnership activities to review implementation of programs, data collection and reporting, and effectiveness.
  • Ensure Innovation – Continuous assessment of emerging research identifies other innovative strategies. If strategies are found effective, they are added to the resource guide to promote shared learning and innovation across the statewide network.

 The outcomes for Cumberland County:

Raise the quality of early care & education Increase the percentage of children in 4 and 5 star child care from 27% in 2001 to 72% in 2016.
Advance child well-being 61%  of children ages birth-5 with developmental concerns who have been referred for further assessment
Empower families Of those participating in parent education groups, all parents demonstrated increased in positive parenting practices.
Strengthen the Early Childhood System 94% of targets met byDirect Service Partners.


Other Resources