There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when he or she will begin kindergarten. During that time, brain architecture is forming, creating the foundation for all future learning.

Smart Start Partnership for Children invests in young children and their families to provide the opportunities children need to be successful in school and in life. Our mission is to support, educate, and advocate to build a strong foundation for young children in our community, and we are accomplishing this by partnering with local organizations that:

• Improve the quality of early childhood education;
• Increase access to affordable, high-quality care for children while their parents work or attend school;
• Provide the tools families need to support their child’s healthy development;
• Expand early literacy opportunities so that every child in Henderson County begins school ready to learn to read.

Our vision is one where all families have access to quality services so that children in Henderson County have an opportunity to reach their full potential. 

We are a Smart Start Partnership.

Smart Start as a network was created in 1993 as an innovative solution to a problem: children were coming to school unprepared to learn. Policymakers recognized that progress would require tapping into the same innovative spirit that inspired private sector advances, and therefore established Smart Start as a public/private partnership. Independent, private organizations work in all 100 North Carolina counties through the North Carolina Partnership for Children and 75 Local Partnerships, including Henderson County's own Smart Start Partnership for Children. 

Our partnership, which turned 20 years old in 2020, continues to grow every year! We have expanded our original staff from 2 to 7 current staff members. Annually, Smart Start Partnership for Children gives away over $400,000 in Smart Start Scholarships to provide access to high quality early care and education, while providing over 40,000 books through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

Smart Start partnerships work with service providers, early childhood educators, families, and communities to ensure high quality, effective implementation of programs to support young children and their families. Our everyday work is grounded in our commitment to diversity & inclusion, equity, cultural humility, building resiliency, and community partnerships. We continue to grow and thrive while working to build a strong foundation for the young children in our community.