Priorities that Produce Results

Supporting our children

to kickstart our community​

  • Collaborate with community leaders and stakeholders for a coordinated system approach
    with a specific focus on Prenatal to age 3
  • Implementation of a universal family connection and referral strategy which provides initial
    screening and referrals for maternal depression, early care and education, and child health
    and developmental services to all newborns in Watauga County
  • Address issues of child care quality, accessibility, and affordability, both for providers in a
    sustainable business model and for families in access to care with an emphasis on infant and
    toddler slots/programs
  • Increase availability of evidence-based models of home visiting and parent education for
    families with young children ages birth to 3 with an emphasis on those impacted by trauma,
    poverty and addiction.

Education should be one of our top funding priorities; talking about it does not help the families and students who desperately need promises fulfilled.

Watauga County has established an Early Childhood Education and Development Fund for the purpose of advancing the strategic priority to ensure that every child in Watauga County has an equal opportunity, including access to quality early childhood education.

The purpose of the Early Childhood Education and Development Committee is to make policy and funding recommendations to the Children’s Council of Watauga County Board of Directors for Watauga County’s Early Childhood Education and Development Investment Fund.

Committee Members

County Commissioner – Billy Kennedy

Municipal Government – Shane Fox

Chamber of Commerce – David Jackson

Business/Economic Development – Joe Furman

Funder/Community Investment – Kindsay Reeder

Pediatrician/Medical Professional – Dr. Molly Benedum

Higher Education – Dr. Pamela Shue

Early Childhood Professional – Crystal Kelly

Parent Representative – Maria Julian


The fund will be held and managed by the Children’s Council of Watauga County. Allocations can be made bi-annually to projects or programs that are in alignment with the goals and priorities of the fund and as recommended by the Early Childhood Education and Development Committee.