History & Impact

Since 1983, the impact of a unified voice for North Carolina’s children is better lives for millions of kids.

Here are a few highlights of what we’ve accomplished working together as child advocates transforming public policy over the last four decades:

  • Cut in half the number of uninsured children in our state, with hundreds of thousands more children getting the care they need each year; 
  • Halved the child death rate, saving tens of thousands of lives;  
  • Brought high-quality child care and preschool to thousands of young children each year;  
  • Removed many toxic environmental hazards from school buildings and child care centers;  
  • Raised the age of marriage to 16 in our state, with strict limits for 16- and 17-year olds; 
  • Ended the incarceration of teens in adult jails through a Raise the Age campaign for age-appropriate treatment of juveniles;
  • And much more!

How did all these huge impacts for kids happen? Learn more about the public policy changes – read our history here.  

Recent Legislative Victories & Updates

You are the voice for North Carolina’s children

Evolution of NC Child

Action for Children North Carolina


Action for Children North Carolina was founded in 1983 as the NC Child Advocacy Institute, to ensure that North Carolina’s children were healthy, safe, well-educated, and had every opportunity for success in life. 

Action for Children used research, data analysis, advocacy, and education to influence a broad cross-section of people and policymakers across the state. 

Action for Children played a prominent role in successful campaigns leading to the establishment of high-impact, legacy programs and initiatives. Those initiatives include the likes of Smart Start, created in 1993. Over the last 20 years, Smart Start’s efforts have nearly doubled the number of young children attending high-quality child care programs in our state. 

The organization also campaigned for the establishment of the Child Fatality Task Force in 1991. The results are more than 20,000 children’s lives saved through policies ranging from safe infant surrender laws, to improved driver education.

The Covenant with North Carolina's Children


The Covenant with North Carolina’s Children was founded in 1996 to give children a stronger voice at the state legislature. The Covenant was a membership-based organization composed of more than 50 service providers, professional associations, and other advocacy groups who worked together to identify the most pressing issues facing children and to take action on those issues.  

For nearly two decades, the Covenant played a major role in tackling the most important public policy decisions facing children. The Child Advocacy Network still includes many former Covenant members. 

NC Child


NC Child was created on January 1, 2014 through a merger of Action for Children North Carolina and the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, two organizations with a long history of effective advocacy for our state’s children. 

We advance public policies to ensure that every child in North Carolina has the opportunity to thrive – whatever their race, ethnicity, or place of birth.  

Since 2014 NC Child and our partners have advanced policy changes that make our kids’ lives better, including: 

  • The end of corporal punishment in all 115 of the state’s local public school districts;
  • Keeping teens out of adult jails through “Raise the Age” legislation;
  • Dramatic improvements to the state’s lead poisoning prevention program, eliminating exposures to lead for tens of thousands of young children each year; and  
  • The merger of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program with Medicaid, improving health coverage for tens of thousands of school-aged children – especially those with special health care needs. 

We still have so much more to do. Find out how you can get involved!