Allison Satterfield, Executive Director of Person County Partnership for Children addressed the Roxboro Kiwanis Club at its Feb. 10 meeting at La Piazza restaurant in Uptown Roxboro. She began her current position in November upon the retirement of Ann Garrard. She told club members that she was formerly with the Piedmont Community College Foundation, and expressed appreciation for the support of the club for various community projects, including those of both her former and current employers.
Satterfield informed the attendees that a three-year strategic planning process is currently underway at the Partnership, and that there is also some staff hiring in progress. Included in its efforts is the Angel Tree program, which provided 134 needy children in Person County with Christmas gifts in 2019.
“The Partnership serves children ages birth through 5. It provides training and technical assistance to local day care facilities. There are approximately 30 such licensed facilities in our county. Salary and education supplements are made available through the Partnership for these child care providers” said Satterfield, as she referenced a crisis in the state relative to early childhood workers.
“The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has been sponsored by the Partnership for over 20 years, and is made possible by the United Way and civic contributions. It provides a book per month for children ages birth through 5, without charge to the families. The Little Engine That Could is the first book that a child beginning the program receives. The last book sent to the child is entitled Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.” She emphasized the importance of parents reading to children. “There are over 1,300 children in the county who receive these books monthly, and sign-up is free of charge. There are state funds which assist with this effort locally as well,” Satterfield said.
“Parents as Teachers is also a Partnership program. It involves monthly group meetings and home visits to help with parenting skills and provide developmental information.” said Satterfield, as she alluded to the fact that this program is being evaluated for some positive changes.
The Partnership-sponsored event Week of the Young Child is upcoming, April 13 through 17. This involves a chamber of commerce breakfast and other activities associated with the effects of adverse childhood experiences. It will be kicked off by a banquet for child care providers. Person County Recreation, Arts and Parks and some other local organizations will sponsor a race, and there will be a downtown parade as well.
County demographic data is being analyzed to determine the best ways to serve the children of Person County. A total of $56 million has been earmarked at the state level to support initiatives for young children, with a focus on rural areas, so Person County should benefit.
Satterfield noted that some dedicated child care providers are retiring, so recruitment is an issue. Statewide, around 50 percent of providers have an unaddressed trauma in their own life, so supporting them with resources is important. Technology will be a focus, particularly in educating parents about setting limits on electronic device screen time.
Some data suggests that Person County is losing young families. There are currently between 2,500 and 3,000 young children locally, and having good child care is an economic development tool as well. The rate of infant mortality is an additional concern. It is 5.1 times higher among African-American families, so there is an interest in determining the causes for this disparity.
She closed by saying that “there is much work to be done,” and she encouraged the club’s continued support. She was presented with a contribution from the club in support of the Partnership programs.