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2019 Summit on Early Childhood

(Presented by BB&T and SC Department of Health and Human Services)

Keynote Presentations


Investing in South Carolina’s Workforce Infrastructure: Early Care and Education as Economic Development

(Keynoter presenters: Rob Grunewald)

Early care and education programs can have a substantial impact on children's futures. Long-term research studies show that investments in high-quality programs can yield high annual inflation-adjusted returns, particularly for children from disadvantaged environments. The presence of high-quality child care also provides important workforce infrastructure that allows parents to enter the workforce and be productive at their jobs. Grunewald co-authored Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return with Arthur J. Rolnick


The Power of Early Childhood Intervention through the Eyes of a Child

(Keynoter presenters: Liz Huntley)

The National Institute on Early Education Research rates Alabama’s Pre K programs as #1 in the nation. Liz Huntley will share how her state achieved this status along with her personal involvement. Scared, abused, and taken to the limit of a person’s capacity to endure tragedy, Liz Huntley reveals the perils of a childhood that would lead most to a broken life or premature death.  Thanks to the early intervention of caring educators, Huntley recounts her journey from unimaginable darkness to radiance. She will share her various perspectives on the value of quality early childhood programs as a child, an advocate and as a parent along with the science behind her work.



Conversation with the Keynoter

(Presenter: Rob Grunewald, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Join Rob for an in-depth discussion on how South Carolina could maximize its long-term economic development through high-impact investment in high quality early childhood programs.


Conversation with the Keynoter

(Presenter: Liz Huntley, Child Advocate & Attorney, Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC)

This is your opportunity to ask Liz questions about her myriad experiences with high quality early childhood programs from her perspective as a child, a parent, and as a very effective advocate.


Early Childhood: This is Public Health 

(Panelists: Dr. Judy Burgis, Professor and Chair of Clinical OB/GYN and Director of Pediatric and Adolescent Division, University of SC School of Medicine; Dr. Elizabeth Crouch, Deputy Director, Rural and Minority Health Research Center and Assistant Professor, University of SC Arnold School of Public Health; Dr. Aditi Srivastav, Director of Research, Children's Trust of SC; Dr. Rick Foster, Executive Director, Alliance for a Healthier SC)

Public health and medical professionals discuss the maternal and child health challenges experienced from our rural communities to our urban centers in South Carolina and beyond. These leading scholars will present the effect of various health disparities, as well as highlight the economic impact of these issues from prenatal experiences to childhood trauma. Finally, South Carolina's first State Health Assessment and State Health Improvement Plan will be presented, with a spotlight on its "Resilient Children" priority. #thisispublichealth



(Presenters: Richard Barr, Vice President of Strategic and Organizational Development, SC Center for Fathers and Families; Joel Philp, Director of Evaluation and Quality, SC Center for Fathers and Families)

When fathers are present, children, families, and communities thrive. For nearly 20 years, the SC Center for Fathers and Families Center has worked with fathers in our state to do just that. The Center will discuss the economic impact fathers have on their children, families, and our state. The Center will share research, tools, tips and strategies to engage fathers and minimize barriers to father child relationships.


Kinship Care and Child Development

(Presenters: Dr. Kimberly Janha (Facilitator), co-founder & CEO, Kindred Hearts, Pat Brown, Kinship Caregiver; Dr. Crystal Campbell, Executive Director, Dorchester First Steps; Daryl McCulley, Kinship Caregiver; Sharleta Woodall, Statewide Kinship Care Manager, SC Department of Social Services)

This session will provide an avenue for advocates for kinship care families and kinship caregivers to promote awareness of the age-old phenomena of blood and/or fictive kin raising children without the biological parents being in the home. Panelists will share their personal and employment experiences around kinship care and emphasize the importance of a collaborative system to aid caregivers in maintaining a thriving living environment for them and the children in their care. In addition to sharing information, this session is intended to begin to build a community around kinship care for the purpose of children having a healthy, safe, and well-functioning living experience.


The Business of Early Childhood Education and Care: A Community Palaver

Palaver: A village council meeting; a conversation between persons of different cultures or levels of sophistication

(Presenter: Shawna Bynum, Executive Director, The Franklin School; Rhonda Simmons, Executive Director/Owner, Little Fish Academy; Erica Hines, Parent, Stephanie's Preschool Blessing and Afterschool; Richie Simone Lee, Parent/Doula, Birthing with a Purpose)

The purpose of this session is to bring together early childhood stake holders, including community members, early childhood business owners/providers, and parents of young children to engage in a communal conversation/palaver to share ideas, experiences, and wisdom about the “Business of Early Childhood Education and Care”. Participants will join our invited guests in a community circle conversation addressing guiding questions focused on the ways in which various communities are addressing costs, business models, and collaborative efforts to provide culturally responsive, quality early education and care to young children in the state of South Carolina.


Kids Count Too: The Cost and Consequence of Children 0-5 and the 2020 Census

(Presenters: Debbie Robertson, Chief Partnership Officer, SC First Steps (Facilitator); SC Counts 2020 Project Managers Mary Dell Hayes, United Way Association of SC, and Chynna Phillips, Sisters of Charity)

The ten minutes it takes to complete the census will have a huge impact on SC's allocation of federal resources for the next ten years. A panel of census advocates will discuss the financial impact of a complete count. Small groups will design and share outreach strategies to take back to local communities to ensure kids ages 0-5 are included in the Complete Count 2020.


Building Comprehensive and Collaborative Early Childhood Systems in SC

(Presenters: Beverley Hunter, Program Manager, SC Department of Social Services ABC Quality; Jenny May, Preschool (section 619) Coordinator for SC, SC Department of Education Office of Special Education Services; Melissa Starker, Department Head SC Training System, Center for Child Care Career Development; Spencer Scott, Executive Director, Florence/ Marion First Steps)

Across South Carolina, state programs are engaged in collaborative efforts to increase the quality, alignment, and efficiency of early childhood systems to support child care providers and the children in their care. In this panel, you will hear about these exciting and innovative efforts as panelists will describe South Carolina's first early childhood workforce registry, the newly revamped ABC Quality, South Carolina's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), and the statewide implementation of the Pyramid Model, a framework to promote the social-emotional development of infants, young children, and their families.


Bridging the Gap between Men and Early Childhood Education Roles

(Presenters: Rashawn Aaron, Lead Teacher, Pee Dee Community Action-McMillan Head Start; Anthony Broughton, Assistant Professor & Program Coordinator, Claflin University School of Education; Fedrick Cohens, Executive Director for Curriculum & Instruction, Georgetown County School District)

Join us for an engaging discussion led by a panel that will explore the gap between men and the roles they hold in early childhood education. The main goal of the session will be to identify and address the barriers in order to encourage and empower more men to join the field of early childhood education as positive leaders and role models.


Providing Support for the Early Education of Homeless and Migrant Children

(Panelists: Linda Mirabel-Pace, State Coordinator of Title IX Part A (McKinney-Vento); Zachary Taylor, State Coordinator of Migrant Education, SC Department of Education)

Basic information will be provided on the federal statutes that protect the educational rights of homeless and migrant children. We will also explore the challenges facing homeless and migrant children in our state through the lens of early education as well as consider economic and other factors that highlight the importance of providing support to these vulnerable populations.


The Importance of Family Forward Workplace Policies

(Panelists: Beth Moore, Communications Director, SC First Steps; Brandi Parrish Ellison, Director of Policy & Programs, WREN; Bethany Griffith, Certified Financial Planner, Abacus Planning Group)

This session will provide an in depth look at how family friendly policies in the workplace can support the financial well-being of families with young children and the larger economy by exploring the experiences of large businesses, small companies, and working parents.


Investing Early: A Win for Our Workforce, A Prerequisite for Higher Ed

(Panelists: Mike Brenan, South Carolina President of BB&T and member of the SC Board of Education will be joined by Dr. Rusty Monhollan, President and Executive Director of the SC Commission on Higher Education and Dave Morley, author of “Investing in South Carolina’s Future Talent,” former SVP of Monsanto, and a Lifetime Board Member of Parents as Teachers National.  The conversation will be moderated by South Carolina First Steps Executive Director Georgia Mjartan)

Join us for a candid conversation on how investing in early childhood education, health and development impacts South Carolinians through college and career. Learning how to talk about the impact of early childhood programs and services from the perspective of economic development and higher education can help make the case for greater public investment.