North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan: Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2021-2022)

In February 2019, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released an Early Childhood Action Plan that documents ten goals related to improving outcomes for young children. The plan addresses physical health, social and emotional well-being, cognitive development, learning competencies and social environments. 

For the past three years, this team has been conducting research to develop innovative, practical, evidence-based policy and implementation guidance to help the state reach its goals. In 2021-2022, the team’s aim was to analyze the current landscape of child and family housing resources in North Carolina, particularly as it intersects with structural racism and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on this analysis, team members worked to develop a comprehensive resource to be used by the North Carolina Integrated Care for Kids (NC InCK) program and others. 

To garner qualitative data about current resources and gaps in service provision, the team hosted focus groups and conducted family interviews, learning from those with lived experience. The team also conducted a systematic review of empirical literature and compiled information on policies and practices in North Carolina and other states. They hope that their research and recommendations for both policy- and practice-level change will help inform effective integration between housing and early childhood services at the state level.

Learn more about this project team by viewing the team's video.


Summer 2021 – Summer 2022

Team Outputs

Early Childhood Housing Instability and Homelessness in North Carolina:  Landscape and Recommendations to Address Unmet Needs (publication by Laura Stilwell, Michelle Franklin, Ainsley Buck, Stephanie Green, Sophie Hurewitz, Sophie Johnson, Karina Vasuveda, Beth Gifford, Gillian Sanders Schmidler, Rushina Cholera. 2023. Margolis Center for Health Policy)

Evidence-Based Solutions to Tackle Childhood Housing Instability (2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Early Childhood Housing Instability and Homelessness in North Carolina: Informing Cross-Sector Alignment (poster by Sophie Hurewitz, Karina Vasudeva, Ainsley Buck, Stephanie Green, Sophie Johnson, Laura Stilwell, Michelle Franklin, Beth Gifford, Gillian Sanders Schmidler and Rushina Cholera, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. See earlier related team, NC Early Childhood Action Plan: Achieving Goals with Innovative, Evidence-based Policy Solutions (2020-2021).


Image: Early Childhood Action Plan, courtesy of the 2019-2020 project team

Early Childhood Action Plan.

Team Leaders

  • Rushina Cholera, School of Medicine-Pediatrics: Primary Care Pediatrics
  • Michelle Franklin, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Elizabeth Gifford, Sanford School of Public Policy-Center for Child and Family Policy
  • Gillian Sanders Schmidler, School of Medicine-Population Health Sciences|Margolis Center for Health Policy

/graduate Team Members

  • Laura Stilwell, Public Policy Studies-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Ainsley Buck, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Stephanie Green, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Sophie Johnson, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Ruthie Kesri, Political Science (AB)
  • Juliana Mayer, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Darshan Vijaykumar, Public Policy Studies (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Marsha Basloe, Child Care Services Association
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dan Kimberg, Student U
  • Madlyn Morreale, North Carolina Medical Board
  • Karina Vasudeva, Undergraduate Student, UNC-Chapel Hill