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Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties’ Travel to Raleigh to Ask Gaston and Lincoln County Legislators to Maintain Investments in Early Childhood Programs

Submitted by on May 24, 2012 – 4:51 pm

Raleigh, NC – On Tuesday, May 22, child advocates from Lincoln and Gaston Counties traveled to the North Carolina General Assembly as part of Smart Start’s statewide “Tuesdays for Tots” initiative.  The constituents met with the legislative delegation from each county and asked members to restore $18.8 million to Smart Start. In 2011, Smart Start funding was reduced by 20% ($37.6 million), disproportionately more than any other component of the education system. As a result thousands of children are no longer benefiting from much-needed early childhood programs.

Left to right: Senator Chris Carney, Mike Linker, Executive Director of the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties, Amy Simmons, Director at the Grace School in Stanley, NC, Amy Wadsworth, Public Information Coordinator and Representative Jason Saine.


“There are only 2,000 days between the time a baby is born and when that child shows up for the first day of kindergarten,” said Michael Linker, Executive Director of the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties.  “We’re meeting with legislators to discuss the needs of children in our community, the research that supports programs like Smart Start, and why investing in our youngest citizens is a wise investment for families, the economy and our society as a whole.”


State funding for Smart Start has been cut by $80 million over the last decade. These cuts are occurring at the same time that economists, military leaders, law enforcement and business leaders are advocating that investments in young children are one of the strongest investments for sustained growth and job creation, protecting our national security, and providing children with the opportunity to reach their potential.


Created by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1993, Smart Start is a network of 77 nonprofit local partnerships led by a state-level organization, The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. working together measurably to measurably increase the health and well-being of young children, 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.

•           Ensuring that children have access to preventive health care.


Local residents traveling to the North Carolina General Assembly included: Michael Linker, Executive Director of the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties, Amy Wadsworth, Public Information Coordinator of the Partnership for Children of Lincoln & Gaston Counties, and Amy Simmons, Director of the Grace School in Stanley and PFCLG Board member. The group met with the following members of the Lincoln and Gaston County legislative delegation. They included Representative William A. Current, Sr., Representative Kelly E. Hastings, Representative John A. Torbett, Representative Jason Saine, Senator Chris Carney and Senator Kathy Harrington.

For More Information, contact:

Amy Wadsworth, Public Information Coordinator, 704-922-0900



The Partnership for Children of Lincoln and Gaston Counties is a nonprofit organization that brings community groups together to serve the needs of children from birth to five years of age. The Partnership implements North Carolina Smart Start programs and funding through a variety of measures, including its collaboration with local child care centers to enhance quality, provide educational support and refer parents to quality child care options

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