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Smart Start Programs & Services

Smart Start of New Hanover County provides services to strengthen families, enhance the quality of and access to childcare, and promote children’s health and emergent literacy skills.  We offer services directly and through our funded partners.

The following services are available for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year:


Community Outreach and Education

Community Referrals

Knowledgeable referral counselors help families identify and access services to meet their child’s needs. Information is available on topics such as child development, early intervention for special needs, child care subsidy, and more. Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731. Links & Resources page.

Resource Room

Early childhood professionals and families can check-out curriculum guides, resource books, videos, children’s CDs, and theme boxes with educational toys and activity ideas.  Laminating services, die cuts, a computer work station, museum passes, baby wear and other items are also available. Membership requires a small annual fee. For more information, click here. Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731. Resource Room page.

Community Outreach and Education

Accurate and relevant information about children birth to age five is shared with parents, community members and public officials to strengthen the early childhood system.  Services include community events, work-groups, and distribution of information via social media, print materials and public speaking. Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731

Early Childhood Education

Child Care Referrals

This regional partnership covering seven counties in southeastern NC provides trained specialists who offer families free, customized referrals to child care, after-school, pre-school and summer camps, including location, operating hours, program costs, and quality standards. Information is provided to help families understand and identify high-quality child care.  Specialists work with community partners to ensure accurate and current data is shared. Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731 or Puzzles Region, 800-653-5212. Learn More

Child Care Subsidies

Smart Start of New Hanover County provides funding to the New Hanover County Department of Social Services’ child care subsidy program.  Qualifying families receive assistance in paying for high-quality child care for their children birth to age five.  NHC Department of Social Services, 910-798-3400 Learn More

Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance

To improve and maintain the quality of care and education for young children, individualized consultation is provided to child care professionals on room arrangement, daily schedule review, and practice assessments using the Environment Rating Scales.  Knowledgeable staff lead specialized workshops on topics such as First Aid and CPR, Playground Safety, CLASS™, and many others.    Some trainings are eligible for CEUs – call for more information. Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731 Learn More

Professional Development Connections

Smart Start Professional Development Connections (SSPDC) provides support and incentives to early educators with the goal of raising the education levels of professionals working with young children.  Dedication to Education Bonuses will be available to individuals who have achieved high education levels and to the centers who have achieved established criteria.  Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731. Learn More

Behavior and Inclusion Support

The goal of this program is to support early childhood professionals and families to promote the healthy social-emotional behaviors in young children and the inclusion of children with special needs in early care and education settings.   Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731  Learn More

Curriculum and Assessment

North Carolina Pre-K teaches are provided information, coaching and tools to enhance their assessment of and individualized instruction to four-year-olds in the NC Pre-K programs in both public and private settings.   New Hanover County Schools, 910-254-4168  Learn More

Parenting Supports and Family Strengthening

Parents as Teachers TM  (PAT)

Parents are supported in promoting healthy development of their children and school readiness through the use of an evidence-based home visiting model.  Parent knowledge of child development and model parenting practices are fostered, and the early detection of developmental delays is improved.  Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731 Learn More

Young Parents Support Program

Young Parents Support Program supports young parents using group meetings (Circle of Parents) and home visiting to work towards the common goal of building family strengths in the areas of family management, communications, nurturing, and positive discipline.  Communities In Schools of Cape Fear, 910-343-1901 Learn More

Triple P ®  (Positive Parenting Program)

Using evidence based principles, Triple P offers advice and tools that parents need to raise confident, healthy children, and to build stronger family relationships.  Individual support on specific issues as well as general parenting information in a seminar series is provided and available to all parents.  An intensive group is also available to participants referred from NHC Department of Social Services.  Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731  Learn More

ABC ®  (Attachment and Bio-behavioral Catch-up)

This 10 week, strength-based program helps families with children six months to two years learn ways to strengthen the secure attachment between a child and their caregiver. Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731 Learn More

Circle of Parents ® 

Smart Start’s Circle of Parents support group is for parents of children with special needs or special health care needs.  The group meets weekly through-out the school year.  Meals and a children’s circle for children up to age 12 are provided.  Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731 Learn More

Early Literacy

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

If you have a child under five years of age, you may register your child to receive one free book each month until his or her fifth birthday while funding allows.  Smart Start of New Hanover County, 910-815-3731 Register Here

Raising a Reader TM

Early childhood professionals are provided with materials and strategies for engaging families in reading activities.  Families develop book sharing routines with their child which advances early literacy for children birth to age five. New Hanover County Public Library, 910-798-6367   Learn More

Reach Out and Read

This nationally recognized, evidence-based program encourages school success by partnering with medical providers to “prescribe” books and shared reading activities for families.  At scheduled well-check visits, children ages 6 months to 6 years receive a new, high quality, culturally and age-appropriate book. Primary care providers coach parents in developmentally appropriate reading activities to use at home.  New Hanover County Public Library, 910-798-6367  Learn More