All children in Cabarrus County, birth to age 5, live in stable, safe environments, are healthy and ready for school success.

Why Is This Important?

Evidence indicates that children learn more during their first six years of life than they do at any other point in their lives. Addressing the disparities in access to early childhood development and educational opportunities can significantly boost and have long lasting impacts on a child’s future health outcomes. Seventy-one-percent of children, 6 years old and younger, live in a household where their parents or single parent reports to work. Although there has not be a dramatic increase in the five and younger population, resources for early childhood education and care are becoming increasingly more challenging to access, as staffing shortages and cost limit availability. The early years are extremely critical and many studies have shown that early childhood interventions can produce long lasting impacts on a child’s cognitive, physical, social, emotional and behavioral development.

This results supports efforts to address with the following Healthy NC 2030 indicators:

  • Health Indicator 5: Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Health Indicator 6: Third Grade Reading Level


Similar to housing, the government has set the recommendation of how much families/people should spend on childcare. For housing, individuals should not spend more than 30% of their income on rent/mortgage + utilities, for child-care a two-child household should only spend 7% of their income on childcare or they are considered ‘cost burden’. In Cabarrus County two-child households are spending 24% of their income.

Child Care Cost Burden is the percent of median household income a two-child household spends on annual childcare costs.

Why is affordable childcare important?
When child care is affordable and accessible, it can increase opportunities for parents or guardians to pursue further education or participate in paid work to earn income, and in some cases, gain healthcare and retirement benefits to support their families. When much of a paycheck goes toward child care expenses, households face difficult trade-offs in meeting other basic needs such as paying rent or mortgage, affording doctor visits, healthy foods, utility bills, and reliable transportation to work or school. 


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