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What is the difference between Smart Start and the Partnership?

Smart Start is North Carolina's nationally recognized initiative to ensure that every child reaches their potential and is prepared to succeed in a global community. Smart Start helps working parents pay for child care, improves the quality of child care, and provides health and family support services in every North Carolina County.

Smart Start measurably increases the health and well-being of young children birth to age five, building the foundation for all future learning by:

  • improving children's early care and education programs so that they are safe, healthy, and provide opportunities for children to learn skills they need for success in school;

  • providing parents with tools that support them in raising healthy, happy, successful children; and

  • ensuring that children have access to preventative health care.

The Anson County Partnership for Children is the local initiative charged with carrying out the 
Smart Start mission in our community.

Is the Partnership just for low-income families?

No. The Partnership works to ensure all children have the skills they need to be happy, healthy, and successful in school and in life.

Are your services free?

Most services are provided at no cost to families or child care providers. However, if there is a cost associated with the service, the cost will be listed.

How can I enroll my child in the Partnership child care center?

Smart Start and the Partnership are not a child care centers.

What is the difference between Smart Start and Head Start?

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program that targets low-income 3- and 4-year-olds. Smart Start is funded through state and private funds and provides various services for all children from birth to five years of age and their families.

How is Smart Start funded?

The state funds Smart Start through the North Carolina General Legislature. Other funds are provided by private donations and grants from corporations and foundations to provide additional services through the Partnership.

Is the Partnership a state agency?

No. The Anson County Partnership for Children is a private nonprofit organization. We have a local Board of Directors with the community and business representatives. Our Board sets boundaries and makes critical operational and funding decisions. In addition, some Board positions are designated for representation by specific organizations.

How do I know if a child care program provides quality service?

The State of North Carolina has implemented a star rating system to help parents choose quality child area. This is a voluntary program. Church child care centers and those with a temporary license may choose to opt-out of the system. The state monitors licensed child care programs according to specific criteria. Programs are given one to five stars, with one star being the lowest and five stars the highest quality.

Is financial assistance available for low-income families who need child care?

Yes. Smart Start funds a subsidy program through the Anson County Department of Social Services. Qualification requirements take into account family size, salary, and other information. Although there is usually an extensive waiting list, we still encourage you to apply if you need financial assistance to pay for child care.


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