2024 “State of the Child Conference” Receives Grant Funding

Learning about learning at Heron Pond Montessori School.

A Community Foundation grant to Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County (CYP) will support the 2024 Dare County State of the Child Conference, planned for next spring. State of the Child conferences in Dare County date back to 1988, and have brought together parents, professionals, and interested community members to assess a variety of needs and issues impacting children and identify long-term solutions to address critical areas.

Children & Youth Partnership for Dare County is a nonprofit that was formed in response to the findings of the 1994 State of the Child Conference. In 1997 the Partnership began administering North Carolina’s nationally recognized Smart Start early childhood program for Dare County. Now in its 29th year, CYP offers programs which support children, youth, and families, including Baby Links, which provides contact from a registered nurse for new parents during a baby’s first year of life; Child Care Resource & Referral and Child Care Assistance, which help families find and pay for quality child care; Triple P Positive Parenting Program, Parents as Teachers, Raising a Reader, and Reach Out and Read programs; and Quality Early Learning program to assist and support licensed early learning centers and family child care homes.

Next year’s committee members and conference participants will represent a broad cross-section of the community, including parents, family- and youth-serving organizations, business leaders, human services agencies/non-profits, faith leaders, community stakeholders, and concerned citizens.

“Our goal for the spring conference is to bring greater community awareness about the importance of high-quality early learning opportunities for all Dare County children,” said CYP Executive Director Sara Sampson.

Conference co-chair Beth Storie added, “Conference leaders are working to create an atmosphere where information and ideas can be shared in ways that encourages real and honest communication. We hope to engage attendees’ hearts as well as their heads.”

“Our children are our most important priority, and I am honored to Co-Chair the State of the Child 2024 Conference with Beth Storie,” said Outer Banks entrepreneur and community leader Tess Judge. “The three previous conferences were particularly helpful in identifying and providing resources that enhance our children’s development from birth on. We know that high-quality early experiences are crucial, and we look forward to our 2024 conference and what new resources are revealed as we “raise up” our children during these times.”