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What's in a (new) name? For this long-time Guilford County nonprofit, everything.

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GREENSBORO — Guilford Child Development, one of the biggest nonprofits in central North Carolina, has changed its name to “Children & Families First.”

Leaders say they made the decision to better reflect that the organization is no longer only serving children — and that it no longer only serves Guilford County.

Children & Families First is the state’s largest Head Start agency, and its well known for providing that federal early childhood program and various other education, care and assistance programs for young children. But for years now, the organization has also provided services to parents, such as job readiness, financial literacy and GED classes.

Children & Families First (former Guilford Child Development)

The group even has a nurse visitation program to help first-time mothers get quality care before and after birth.

“All of our work is what we call a ‘two gen’ approach, so two generational,” said Maria Layne-Stevens, the organization’s chief executive officer. “Childhood doesn’t develop in a vacuum. They develop in the context of their family and their home. So absolutely we embrace that.”

In 2021, the organization also started providing “Early Head Start” pre-school for Rockingham County infants and toddlers. The group’s center there joined 13 other early-learning centers the group runs across Guilford County.

And this year the organization added training and apprenticeship programs for early childhood teachers.

In keeping with the change in name, the group has a new mission as well: “A community where every young child can achieve, and parents can succeed.”

The organization has actually been through several name changes since its founding in 1967 as United Day Care Services. At the time, a coalition of Greensboro-area organizations came together to create a single agency aimed at providing high-quality childcare for low-income families in the city.

Today, Children & Families First employs over 350 people and serves more than 6,000 children and families per year.

“We are excited,” Layne-Stevens said, “about the new opportunities that will come to us as we reflect the true meaning of who we are and what we do, and what we are here for.”

Contact Jessie Pounds at 336-373-7002 and follow @JessiePounds on Twitter.

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