Smart StartRichmond County
Richmond County Partnership for Children in North Carolina

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I enroll my child in the Partnership for Children?
    Richmond County Partnership for Children is not a child care center or just one program. The Partnership funds many community programs that are directed by other agencies as well as Partnership staff. Each agency has its own application process and eligibility requirements. Consult our list of programs for contact information for each agency and program. Current Programs

  2. How is the Partnership for Children funded?
    The Partnership is funded by the state through the North Carolina General Assembly. Other funds are provided by private donations and grants from corporations and foundations.

  3. Is Smart Start operated by the state?
    No. The Partnership is a private non-profit organization with a local board of directors representing the community, business and the service sectors. The board sets policy and provides overall direction.

  4. Is the Partnership only for low-income families?
    No. Our mission is to ensure that ALL children are healthy and ready to learn when they enter school. This includes programs in areas of health, education, family support and early child care. We do fund some programs that are partially based on family income such as child care subsidy, More At Four, etc.

  5. Are services free?
    Most services are free. There are minimal charges for classes and some Resource Lending Library services.

  6. Does the Partnership pay for child care?
    Not directly. The Partnership partially funds a child care subsidy program that is provided through the Richmond County Department of Social Services to eligible families. Contact their office at 910.997.8400 to see if you qualify for child care assistance.

  7. How do I choose a child care program?
    Consult our webpage Choosing Child Care for a checklist to help you choose quality child care

  8. How do I know if a child care program provides quality care?
    Quality care means meeting the developmental needs of each child in a classroom as they develop both their minds and bodies in a safe, loving, nurturing, and healthy environment. The state has implemented a star rating system to help parents choose quality child care. This is a volunteer-based program. Church child care centers may opt out of the system. Licensed child care programs are monitored by the state according to specific criteria. Programs are given one to five stars with one-star being the lowest and five-stars being the highest quality. Also see Choosing Quality Child Care Overview for more information on searching for child care.

  9. How can I get copies of parenting information?
    Check out the Parenting Tools and Resources For Parents sections of our website for publications you can download and links to other valuable websites.