FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions that may help as you determine your need for Smart Start services:

Q: Does Smart Start pay for child care?

A: No, however you can contact Work Family Resource Center at 761-5100 or the Department of Social Services at 703-3805 to see if you qualify for child care assistance.

Q: What does “Quality” child care mean to my child?

A: 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. See http://ncchildcare.dhhs.state.nc.us/general/home.asp for more information on the star rating system which is used to determine quality.

Q: What is the Environmental Rating Scale (ERS)?

A: The Environmental Rating Scales are tools, which the state will use to measure the “quality” of care offered by programs in North Carolina. The state uses four different scales: the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-R), the Preschool Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-R), the School Age Environment Rating Scale (SACERS) and the Family Day Care Rating Scale (FDCRS). Trained assessors will visit child care programs to observe the children and their environment. Assessors will score programs on how well or how often certain events occur. Assessors will look to see if good health (sanitation) practices occur in each area of the facility. Assessors will check to see how the caregivers interact with children, the use of language, and whether they respond to the children’s needs. Activities will be observed to see whether the children have opportunities to play and learn according to their levels of development. For more information see www.fpg.unc.edu.

Q: Is Smart Start operated by the state?

A: No. Smart Start of Forsyth County operates as its own entity. We have a local Board of Directors from various companies and organizations that sets boundaries and makes key decisions for the future plans of our partnership.

Q: Is Smart Start only for low-income families?

A: No. Smart Start works to ensure that all children have the skills they need to be ready for kindergarten. This also involves health or developmental screenings, access to higher quality child care and various support for families. However, our family subsidy program does have restrictions on family income.

Q: Is Smart Start affiliated with Head Start?

A: No, though Smart Start administers the enrollment for subsidized pre-kindergarten classes such as Head Start, More at Four, and Title 1. Head Start is a federally-funded preschool program that targets low-income three and four year olds. Smart Start is funded by both state and private funds and provides a variety of services for children ages birth to five, regardless of family income, with the exception of our subsidy programs.

Q: Where can I get free or reduced medical care or insurance for my child?

A: Free and reduced medical insurance is available in Forsyth County, and qualifying depends on family size and income. See our Preventive Health page.