NCDHHS Celebrates the Week of the Young Child™

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

North Carolina’s future prosperity depends on the success of its young children today – that’s why early childhood has been a key priority of both Governor Roy Cooper and NCDHHS. When the COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges for all North Carolinians, including families with young children, North Carolina’s Division of Child Development and Early Education took bold, early action to stabilize the state’s child care industry, supporting families, child care providers and educators who have remained open for business.

Every year, NCDHHS celebrates the Week of the Young Child™ (WOYC), and in 2021, as we rebuild from the COVID crisis, it feels particularly important to celebrate our state’s children. April 10 – 16 marks the 50th anniversary of WOYC, and this year coincides with the 50th anniversary of North Carolina's first child care licensing law, and the establishment of the Office of Child Day Care Licensing - the beginnings of today's Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE). 

WOYC is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), focusing public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child™ in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children's success in school and later life.

Home to more than 300 hardworking team members, DCDEE was established to ensure the health and safety of children in child care programs, to promote quality child care by implementing evidenced-based standards, and to increase access to quality child care for families and children across North Carolina.

Who are the people that serve the 1.1 million young children across North Carolina? Read the about a few of the DCDEE employees who work tirelessly to make our state a better place for children to learn and grow, and why they chose careers that help protect children in across the state. 

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Christopher Clement, Disaster Coordinator

Chris makes sure DCDEE staff and child care facilities have everything they need to operate safely during any kind of disaster. During the pandemic, he     has worked many hours to equip the DCDEE building to make it safe for employees to return. Chris is a leader/member of the division's Diversity Team and he lives the values of the department every day.

From Chris: “Creating a better future for the world starts with children. Providing a safe learning environment allows children to explore their imagination and experience the world around them. Giving each child the chance to reach for the stars is the reason I work for the Division of Child Development and Early Education.”


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Sheronda Harris, Central Investigations Team Supervisor

Sheronda oversees a team of investigations consultants. She ensures that cases of child maltreatment are investigated appropriately and that children in child care programs are kept safe. Sheronda is a very supportive supervisor, which makes a challenging job easier. She is always professional when handling difficult situations and genuinely cares about her staff.

From Sheronda: “I chose to work for the Division of Child Development in Early Education, in part, because I remember my experiences in childcare in Raleigh, NC in the early 1970s.  My favorite caregiver, at that time, was Ms. Fredrick. I always knew I was safe there. I learned something new every day. I want every child in the state of North Carolina to experience what I did; in a safe and healthy environment. Every child deserves the opportunity for a positive and nurturing experience in childcare. Every parent must be assured; while they are working, their children are in great hands. It is our responsibility to ensure that those things happen.” 


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Dr. Brenda K. Williamson, eLearning Moodle Coordinator

Brenda is responsible for all the eLearning opportunities for both the DCDEE staff and the broader child care community. She is responsible for supporting teachers and students with the Moodle application, the main learning tool used by the child care community for delivering online training. The availability of quality training hosted by DCDEE through Moodle prepares and renews the child care community to perform their job with the latest skills and knowledge. This behind the scenes effort is very important when considering the outcomes for young children. Brenda has been in the field of education for 36 years, facilitating culturally, developmentally age-appropriate, learning experiences for children and their families along with adult learners.