Caldwell County Smart Start will provide for the early literacy program – “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library” (DPIL).  The goals are to: 

  •  Increase young children’s access to books,

  •  Increase kindergarten readiness,

  •  Increase parent-child reading frequency, and

  •  Increase community collaboration. 

DPIL mails age-appropriate books to registered children (ages 0-5) on a monthly basis.  The books will belong to the children and children can receive books regardless of family income.  Caldwell County Smart Start staff will collaborate with other local organizations which champion literacy and reading, such as the Caldwell County Library and the Caldwell County Family Literacy Program in order to maximize the effectiveness of the DPIL.  Staff will monitor the success of the DPIL through surveys and follow-ups with the parents of the children receiving the books.

Complimentary to the DPIL activities may be the development of a locally funded program designed to create and support a pool of qualified volunteers who would provide story reading and storytelling to the children served by child care centers and family child care homes.


Contact: Hannah Romero, Program Specialist 



The Child Care WAGE$® Project provides education-based salary supplements to low-paid teachers, directors, and family child care providers working with children between the ages of birth-five. The project is designed to provide preschool children more stable relationships with better educated teachers by rewarding teacher education and continuity of care. The Child Care WAGE$® Project is offered throughout North Carolina as a funding collaboration between local Smart Start Partnerships and the Division of Child Development and Early Education. Counties that use Smart Start funding to support the Child Care WAGE$® Project may participate. 




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The Quality Initiatives activity will assist Caldwell County child care facilities in providing high-quality care for children ages birth through five.  All licensed child care facilities will be eligible to apply for technical assistance.  Technical assistance priority may be given to facilities which: 1) serve a higher number of children ages birth through age five; 2) receive no or limited technical support from other sources, 3) will be reassessed by DCDEE during the program year. The Quality Initiatives activity consists of two tiers: Level 1 and Level 2.  Quality Initiatives - Level 1 may support child care facilities holding a GS-110, 1 star, 2 star or 3 star-rated license in improving the quality of care provided for children ages birth through five through technical assistance.  Quality Initiatives - Level 2 may provide technical assistance to child care facilities holding a 4 or 5 star-rated license with a focus on maintaining or increasing the quality of care provided for children ages birth through five.  Quality Initiatives - Level 2 may also provide quality cash bonuses with the amount of the bonus dependent upon the star rating and number/frequency of children ages birth through five served at the facility.  


Contact: Kristy Campbell, Program Specialist 


Education Reimbursement

Education reimbursement grants may be available to individual child care professionals enrolled in an Early Childhood Education program who apply to Caldwell County Smart Start for financial assistance.  Requirements for financial assistance include: 

  1.  Employment in the Early Childhood field serving children birth through age five;

  2.  Application for education reimbursement assistance submitted to Smart Start prior to registering for coursework;

  3.  Notification to Smart Start of official enrollment in coursework;

  4.  Notification to Smart Start of completion of class/course within 30 days of completion;

  5.  Completion of the course with a grade “C” or higher;

  6.  Signed statement by the participating individual that they did not receive any other source of financial aid for the class/course including, but not limited to, TEACH scholarship, other scholarship, Pell grant, or other grants. Recipients of the grants will be contacted/surveyed up to three years past course completion to track their careers to determine the effectiveness of the program.

Contact: Hannah Romero, Program Specialist



Caldwell County families with children ages birth through five years of age will be eligible to participate in a Nurturing Parenting, Group-Based, Program which will be carried out by a qualified Service Provider.  Group sessions will meet on weekdays in Caldwell County throughout the year.  Typically, a group course will consist of approximately 40 contact hours for participants over multiple weeks.  Specific classes and schedules will be determined by the needs of the participants and structured by the Service Provider, with a minimum of four group courses provided annually.

Sessions will provide adult participants with Family Nurturing/Meal Time; Instruction of Parenting Concepts; Group Discussion; Questions and Answers; and Family Activity. Each session will provide child participants with Family Nurturing/Meal Time; Story Time; Creativity/Art; Learning Center Time; Play Time and Family Activity.

All Nurturing Program Facilitators (for adult sessions) will be required to hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a Human Services related field and be a certified facilitator in the Nurturing Parenting Model.  All Nurturing Program Facilitators (for child sessions) will be required to hold a minimum of a high school diploma and be a certified facilitator in the Nurturing Parenting Model in Child Facilitation.

Monitoring of participants’ progress will be achieved through Pre and Post Assessment; Pre and Post Nurturing Quiz; Observation; Participant Summary and Exit/Termination Survey.  Monitoring of the Service Provider’s outputs will be achieved by review of participants’ attendance; review of session content outlines; and review of participant surveys.


Contact: Caldwell Committee for Healthy Families, Program Facilitator 



Hannah Romero, Program Specialist 



The Purchase of Care (Subsidy) activity provides financial assistance, to be paid on a direct, per child, basis for the purchase of care and enhancements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligible or Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) eligible families. This program is administered through Caldwell County Department of Social Services. 


Contact: Caldwell County Department of Social Services, Program Administrator 


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Office: 143 Cedar Valley Road, Suite 111

Hudson, NC 28638

Mailing: PO Box 689

Hudson, NC 28638






Helping Caldwell County's children arrive at school healthy and prepared for success.