2023 Child Care Heroes

Child Care Heroes 2023

One November 8th we’ll celebrate our 3rd Annual Child Care Heroes event – in person for the first time! We are so excited for this day of celebration and learning featuring inspiring keynote speakers, breakout sessions, a legislative panel discussion, networking opportunities with the early childhood community, and the presentation of the 2023 Outstanding Early Education Advocate Awards.


Keynote Speaker           

We are thrilled to have Lucy Recio joining us as our Keynote Speaker this year!  For more than 15 years, Lucy Recio has built campaigns, programs, and systems to inform birth to career education policy and shape public understanding and perception around the impact, and consequences, of divesting from our nation’s education system and the workforce that powers it.

Lucy’s community organizing and mobilizing expertise, alongside her commitment towards elevating and amplifying the voices, knowledge, and experiences of directly impacted communities, has allowed her to drive equity and power building conversations within the early childhood education space, secure more than $54 billion in COVID-19 relief dollars for the child care sector, and grow a national movement of early childhood education professionals invested in shaping the policies and systems impacting their lives.

She has held leadership roles at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI), and the Office of the Bronx Borough President in New York City, as well as supported numerous state and local organizations advance their policy, advocacy, and movement building strategies as a consultant.

Invested in nurturing multiple vehicles of growing advocate capacity and skill, Lucy is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for their online Early Childhood Education Policy Masters Program and has previously taught at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

A graduate of Georgetown University, Lucy holds a bachelor’s degree in international culture and politics, with a concentration in justice and peace studies, and a master’s in public administration, a distinction she received as a National Urban Fellow. A native of the Dominican Republic, but a New Yorker at heart, Lucy enjoys traveling, losing herself in a book, and authoring her life’s story through journaling—all acts she embraces as forms of nurturing radical joy.

Legislative Panel
We will be joined by four very special guests for the legislative panel at this event. The co-chairs of the Early Childhood Caucus – Sen. Jim Burgin, Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, Rep. Ashton Clemmons, and Rep. David Willis – will all be in attendance to offer their insight and perspectives on legislative action for child care as well as advice for advocates.

Breakout Sessions

Making Your Voice Heard: In this session, we’ll hear from three participants from the NC Early Education’s Advocacy/Leadership Academies: a parent, a child care center administrator, and a family child care home provider. Come and hear from these advocates about how they are using their voices to affect change.

Equity and Power in Early Education:In this session, participants will learn about the history of power within the United States, how to discover their own personal power, and the skills needed to advocate for change within the early childhood system. Specific advocacy strategies and tips will be provided so that participants can translate knowledge into action.

Child Care Subsidy and Economic Supports: Access to high-quality affordable child care is critically important for child and family well-being. Recent research links child care subsidies and other economic supports to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Reducing involvement of the over-burdened child welfare system in the lives of children and families is also important, particularly for families from historically overrepresented populations. This session will provide an overview of existing research investigating the link between child care subsidies and child maltreatment, explore data on the topic from North Carolina, and describe ongoing policy initiatives to expand access to subsidized care.

Early Childhood Workforce and Babies First NC: Babies First NC was an infant and toddler initiative implemented with Preschool Development Grant funds with a focus of increasing the quality of care for some of NC’s youngest citizens. Come join us to find out how project staff implemented quality strategies while responding to the COVID pandemic and the ever-changing early childhood workforce crisis. We will share the status of the infant-toddler workforce pre- and post-COVID and how the Babies First NC initiative was able to mitigate the most pressing issues to create 5-star quality classrooms in the central and eastern part of the state.



Outstanding Advocate Awards

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Sponsorship Opportunities

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