Welcome to Craven Smart Start, Inc.

Social Justice Begins in the Infant Room

Social Justice Begins in the Infant Room is the true story of the power of early childhood education!  The first 1,000 days of brain development pave the road for lifelong learning.  Without exaggeration, this road can be smooth or bumpy depending on the experiences we provide our youngest citizens.  This is a short, informative video that focuses on the reality of child care in Craven County.

Craven Smart Start Board Meeting

October 27, 2021
Time 1:00PM    Location: Police Headquarters

To receive information on how to attend the meeting, please email cherie@cravensmartstart.org

Referrals to child care programs

Click HERE to visit Child Care Resource and Referral Region 2 webpage

The State of North Carolina is urging all families who can keep their children at home, with a responsible adult, to do so.

Emergency and first responders and critical workers needing referrals to child care programs that are open and operating for children ages birth to twelve should call the statewide toll–free number listed below for assistance:

1-888-600-1685 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Callers to be served include:

Emergency and first responders
Hospital staff
Nursing and adult group home staff
Frontline health care providers
Child care program staff
Food service staff
Families of children who are homeless, receiving child welfare services, and/or in unstable or unsafe living arrangements
Others who are working to keep North Carolinians safe and healthy

Please note:   Effective April 1st,  the only licensed child care programs that are allowed to operate in North Carolina are those which have agreed to meet additional health, safety,  and other requirements specified by the NC  Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) and have been specifically authorized by DCDEE to remain open in April and May 2020.

Click on the links below for more information

Flyer – English

Flyer – Spanish

Appreciating the “Unsung Heroes of Craven County”

Click HERE to see pictures of our visits to our childcare providers. Thank you for your dedication to the children of Craven County!

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!

Sign up HERE for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library for free!

Smart Start and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are working together to get books into the hands of North Carolina’s youngest children. 
In 2017, North Carolina’s state lawmakers included $3.5 million in the first year and $7 million in the second year of the state budget for Smart Start to administer Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library across North Carolina.

The Smart Start network, made up of 75 local partnerships that serve our state’s communities, is signing up families across NC for Imagination Library which is a book gifting program for children from birth to age five. Together, we are working to ensure children develop a love of reading early on.

Please consider a donation to Craven Smart Start – Click HERE to donate.
For just $25, Craven Smart Start and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library can provide one child, in Craven County, age appropriate books, every month, for one year!


  • Craven Smart Start, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that administers Smart Start funds and programs in Craven County. Smart Start is designed to ensure that young children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. Donations are tax deductible. Financial information about this organization and copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 919-807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the State.