Moore County leads Tri-Share Child Care pilot

RALEIGH — In a move aimed at addressing the critical issue of affordable and accessible child care, Moore County has been chosen as one of three counties to spearhead North Carolina’s new Tri-Share Child Care pilot program.

The Tri-Share pilot seeks to create public/private partnerships to improve child care affordability by sharing the burden equally between employers, eligible employees, and the state.

Inspired by Michigan, which in 2021 was the first state to launch a Tri-Share program, the pilot was also designed with an eye on employers being able to retain and attract employees as well as being an effort to secure and strengthen childcare businesses in the state.

To qualify for Tri-Share, families need to be employed with a participating business and have a household income between 185% and 300% of the federal poverty level, roughly $58,000 to $93,000 for a family of four.

Employers interested in joining the program are encouraged to reach out to Partners for Children & Families or their local Smart Start partnership for further information. A list of Smart Start Local Partnerships can be found by visiting:

Tri-Share’s funding was part of the 2023 state budget and included $900,000 in nonrecurring funds for each year of the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium. The funds will be equally divided among three regional hubs. The budget funding mirrored unpassed bills filed in both chambers for the pilot program.

The Moore County Chamber of Commerce and Partners for Children & Families jointly made the announcement.

Partners for Children & Families, Inc., a longstanding charitable organization based in Moore County and serving as its Smart Start agency, will oversee the administration of the Tri-Share program in Moore County and six adjacent counties: Chatham, Cumberland, Hoke, Montgomery, Richmond, and Scotland.

Amy Cubbage, President of the North Carolina Partnership for Children, highlighted why Partners for Children & Families was chosen.

“Partners for Children & Families was selected to lead a Tri-Share region because of their strong community ties, particularly regarding workforce relations; leadership within early care and education, and relationships with other Smart Start local partnerships,” Cubbage said.

The endorsement of the Tri-Share application by various entities including the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, Moore County Government, Northern Moore Family Resource Center, and neighboring Smart Start partnerships underscores the widespread support for this initiative.

Since February 2022, the Moore County Chamber of Commerce has led a dedicated task force focused on addressing childcare challenges, further demonstrating the community’s commitment to finding sustainable solutions.

“The goal of the Child Care Task Force is to provide resources to recruit and train child care workers and to increase the availability and accessibility of child care in Moore County,” said Linda Parsons, President and CEO of the Moore Chamber of Commerce.

Parsons expressed satisfaction at Moore County’s selection as a regional hub for Tri-Share, recognizing the program’s potential to positively impact local families and businesses alike.

Stuart Mills, Executive Director of Partners for Children and Families, acknowledged the instrumental role played by the Chamber and its task force in securing this opportunity.

“We look forward to working even more closely with the employers and child care providers in Moore County, but also with the Smart Start partnerships in each of these adjacent counties,” Mills said. “This is an opportunity for all of us, but particularly for the children of these seven counties.”

As Moore County takes the lead in implementing Tri-Share, it sets a precedent for proactive measures aimed at addressing childcare affordability and accessibility, serving as a model for other regions across North Carolina. By fostering collaboration between public and private entities, Tri-Share heralds a promising future where quality child care is within reach for all working families.