Early Childhood Building a Strong Foundation for North Carolina’s Children The foundation for future learning, health, and well-being is built during early childhood. Governor Cooper wants all North Carolina children to get off to a strong start in safe and nurturing families and communities, with access to high-quality opportunities to learn and thrive. When we give children a fair chance for a strong foundation in their first years of life, we give them a better future and create healthier and more vibrant communities for all of us. The NC Early Childhood Action Plan released on February 27, 2019 and created at Governor Cooper’s direction lays out a bold vision and roadmap for how the state can create better futures for our young children by 2025. Governor Cooper’s budget makes critical investments toward achieving these goals to ensure North Carolina’s children are healthy, safe and nurtured, and ready to succeed, including increased investment in Smart Start and NC Pre-K.