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Office Location:

Valerie Woodard Center
3205 Freedom Drive
Charlotte, NC 28208
Hours: Mon-Fri  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Web Services

​MeckBetter Together

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MeckBetterTogether is a campaign that aims to maximize the efforts of child and family caring agencies and the community to support families and address safety and wellbeing of children, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This joint child and youth caring initiative is the result of partnerships between DSS, CMS, Smart Start, CCRI, Parks & Recreation, and the Library.

The online toolkit below includes County and community partner resources that are available to residents. This list will be monitored and updated with the most current information available.

Child Safety

Prevent Child Abuse NC

As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC) remains steadfast in our mission to ensure that child maltreatment prevention is a priority for North Carolina and all communities have the knowledge, support and resources to prevent child abuse and neglect.

We know that times of crisis put families under great stress and can lead to significant increases in the risk of child maltreatment. North Carolina expects a rise in both domestic violence and child abuse and neglect cases as families are socially isolated and the unemployment rate skyrockets. In this environment, any family may be at risk.

If you suspect child abuse, please call 980-31-HELPS (43577)

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Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center

Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center coordinates the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of the most serious cases of child abuse in Mecklenburg County. We provide a physical environment where a child’s well-being is our first priority and break the cycle of abuse through training, education, and community outreach.

All children should grow up safe, healthy, and protected. Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that children have nurturing relationships and safe environments. It is vital that adults learn how to recognize and respond when children and teens need help due to concerns of abuse or neglect. Pat’s Place offers a variety of educational opportunities to prepare for this responsibility. Groups of all kinds may request training, including educators, parents, youth serving organizations, communities of faith, and other concerned citizens.

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Children's Alliance

The Children's Alliance is a network of approximately 40 public and private agencies in Mecklenburg County which collectively serve at risk children and families in our community. Beyond sharing information and collaboration, The Children's Alliance engages in a variety of public policy matters. We believe that our collective voices lend an important influence in shaping policies and legislation that impact children and families. Our website has current information about our member agencies and information on how to contact them for appropriate services.

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Suspect Child Abuse?


Gun Safety and Prevention

Did you know that roughly a third of U.S. homes with children have guns? In fact, nearly 2 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns. Parents may not realize what a serious injury risk a gun in the home is, especially for children. is the only parenting website backed by 67​,000 pediatricians committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.

View a poster on Gun Safety.

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BeSMART is a public education campaign asking gun owners and non-gun owners alike to take simple steps to reduce the number of unintentional shootings, suicides, and homicides that occur when children or teens gain access to guns that are not stored responsibly. Our organization is non-profit and not political. We don't discuss gun laws or policies. Our intent is to elevate awareness of gun safety practices that save lives.

The BeSMART campaign encourages parents and caretakers, gun owners and non-gun owners alike, to ‘Be SMART’ and take these simple steps:

  • Secure guns in homes and vehicles.
  • Model responsible behavior.
  • Ask about unsecured guns in other homes.
  • Recognize the role of guns in suicide.
  • Tell your peers to be SMART.

  • Learn More

Announcements and Opportunities

December Monthly

Recreational Activities

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Park and Recreation

Mecklenburg County's Park and Recreation are offering afterschool programs and out of school days. Our out of school day programs take place during days CMS is not meeting that are not County Holidays. The program is from 7:30am-5:30pm and we have a variety of scholarships available.

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Youth Basketball

Educational Resources


Smart Start of Mecklenburg County

Smart Start of Mecklenburg County is a private, nonprofit partnership that funds local programs for children ages birth to five and their families. The Partnership mobilizes resources, forges partnerships, and supports families to improve early childhood health, education and development and ensure children are prepared for kindergarten. Their four areas of focus are early care and education quality and accessibility, family support, health, and early literacy for children birth to five. Visit their programs page for a complete list of funded programs.

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Smart Start Programs:

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Ready4K is a research-based text-messaging program for parents with young children. Each week, you will receive age-appropriate facts, tips, and opportunities to boost your child's learning by building on existing family routines via text message. This tool is easy to use and free, though data and message rates do apply.

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Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Dolly Parton Imagination Library provides FREE books to children living in Mecklenburg County until their 5th birthday. Enrolled children receive one age-appropriate book in the mail each month.

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The Basics Mecklenburg

The Basics Mecklenburg is a public education campaign built on five evidence-based parenting and caregiving principles essential for healthy brain development for children from birth to age three. Eighty percent of brain growth happens in the first three years of life. All children can benefit from engaging in these fun, simple, and powerful learning experiences. "The Basics" brain development campaign works with various local partners to ensure that every parent and caregiver is fully supported to use "The Basics" practices in everyday life.

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MECK Pre-K is a FREE, high-quality pre-kindergarten program for eligible four-year-old children in Mecklenburg County. Classrooms are located in four-and five-star childcare centers across the county, and are taught by licensed teachers and teacher assistants. MECK Pre-K was created in 2018 to improve access to quality early childhood care and education for children in Mecklenburg County. Research shows that pre-kindergarten makes a difference in school readiness, not just in the short-term to get children ready to succeed in school, but in the long-term as children grow up, become employed, and contribute to the strength of the community. MECK Pre-K is administered by Smart Start of Mecklenburg County and funded by Mecklenburg County. View this brochure for more information on how to apply.To apply online, visit

Apply Now

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Read Charlotte

Read Charlotte is a collaborative, community-wide initiative to double the percentage of third grade students reading at grade level from 39% in 2015 to 80% by 2025. Housed under the Foundation For The Carolinas, Read Charlotte is organized as a backbone organization leading a collective impact effort across Mecklenburg County. Focusing on the continuum from birth through third grade, Read Charlotte builds collaborative partnerships and provides resources on proven practices and/or programs. Read Charlotte plays a leadership role but does not directly operate the programs. Working groups comprised of experts and community members have helped to select strategies, identify community indicators and define a strategic plan that will guide Read Charlotte’s work through 2025.

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Reading Checkup

Reading Checkup is a free online tool for Mecklenburg County families to help PreK-3rd grade children stay on track with reading. Parents and caregivers can use the Reading Checkup to find out their child’s current reading and vocabulary levels and get recommendations for family-friendly activities they can do at home. The minimum technology needed is a smartphone.

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Child Care Resourcess Inc. Programs

Child Care Resources Inc. is a private, non-profit child care resource and referral agency that works with families and communities to help ensure that all children have access to high-quality, affordable early learning and school-age opportunities and experiences that enable them to succeed in school and in life.

To learn more about CCRI and the services we provide, please visit our website.

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Child Care Search

Child Care Search offers free, personalized referrals to licensed child care providers. Parents can contact our call center or use our eSearch tool to find child care programs that meet their families’ needs and preferences..

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Child Care Subsidy

Child Care Subsidy - CCRI administers child care financial aid to help income-eligible families better afford the cost of quality child care for children ages birth to 12. There is currently no waiting list for child care subsidy for children birth to preschool (age 5).

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Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership

Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership helps low-income families with infants and toddlers afford high-quality child care, health and mental health services, and family supports.

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Raising Smart Girls

Raising Smart Girls is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education resource for parents of girls aged 3 to 12. Our mission is to demystify STEM for you and your girls and, by doing so, inspire a generation of fearless female leaders and innovators.

Are you new to STEM Education and want to learn more? Check out our answers to the Top 7 questions parents have about STEM learning. Looking to fill up your child’s time at home meaningfully? Try one of our carefully curated STEM activities from our Activity Database. Looking for supplemental resources to support remote learning? Find over 150 resources in our learn at home guide. Want to be in the know and receive recommendations for STEM resources weekly? sign up for our newsletter to stay connected!

Sign up for our newsletter

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) provides academic instruction, rigor and support each school day to more than 143,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in 180 schools throughout Mecklenburg County. CMS is proud of its diverse mix of students who represent 184 countries and speak 204 languages and dialects. CMS offers an extensive range of magnet programs in 70 of its schools to nurture the talents of students who have interest and ability in specific areas. CMS also educates, supports and meets the needs of students with learning and physical disabilities.

Get important information by visiting the CMS back-to-school page.

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Communities In Schools

Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside schools, CIS connects students to caring adults and community resources to help them succeed inside and outside the classroom and reach their greatest potential.

PDF Brochure

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Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Did you know that you can continue to stay connected to the Library while staying home? How would you like to participate in a virtual storytime with your family or receive resume help all from the comfort of your couch? Join Charlotte Mecklenburg Library every week for a wide range of virtual programming for children, teens and adults.

When libraries and schools work together, everyone wins. All CMS students are automatically enrolled in the ONE Access program. Your student’s school ID number is their library card! This means any CMS can use their school ID number to access a wealth of digital resources.

Did you know you and your virtual learner can use your library card or ONE Access number to access for free? All you need is a library card and an internet connection to engage in 10 sessions with a live, online, qualified tutor every week!

Have you visited our Digital Library branch? The digital branch is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even in bad weather or in the middle of the night, the digital branch is open.

As of July 1, the Library is now fine free. In addition, anyone who had a fine will now have a zero balance. By eliminating fines, the Library encourages all users to come back to the Library, as well as attract new users to experience our resources, services, programs and offerings. This is a great opportunity for children and families.

Looking for homework help resources for your student?

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Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Events:

STEAM Month | Goodbye Main Library | Family Literacy Night


Get the most up to date information on COVID-19.


Health and Wellness

Smith Family Wellness Center

The Smith Family Wellness Center is an integrated care clinic offering low cost medical and counseling services to uninsured families and individuals residing in East Charlotte.

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Teen Health Connection

Teen Health Connection is a medical practice that specializes in providing comprehensive health and mental health services for adolescents and young adults ages 11 to 25. Through an exclusive community collaboration with Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital, Teen Health Connection’s mission is to improve the health of adolescents by providing physical and mental healthcare, education, advocacy, leadership development, and research through connections among adolescents, parents, and the community. They offer a wide range of services including adolescent gender health, outreach education and drug prevention and parenting support.

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School-Based Mental Health

The school-based mental health (SBMH) program is a collaboration between CMS, Mecklenburg County and eight mental health agencies. Mental health therapists from the agencies are housed in schools to provide outpatient mental health therapy during the instructional day.

Download SBMH Guardian information.

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Mental Health America of Central Carolinas (MHA)

The mission of Mental Health America of Central Carolinas (MHA) is to provide help, offer hope and promote mental wellness through advocacy, education and prevention in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties.



MeckHope is a collaborative initiative to bring urgent and preventive mental health and drug/alcohol-related services to Mecklenburg County residents during COVID-19.

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Parent Support


COVID-19 and Homelessness

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Greater Charlotte Hope Line

The Greater Charlotte Hope Line is a 24/7 hotline for Mecklenburg County residents seeking help for parenting support, domestic violence and sexual assault. This free resource is confidential, safe, and staffed by highly trained advocates who have the knowledge and empathy necessary to help those who call. We provide a single source for crisis intervention services as well as support and prevention programming through education, guidance, emotional support and referrals to appropriate community services.

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Call 980.771.4673 anytime day or night to speak to an advocate for assistance with parenting issues, domestic violence, or sexual assault.

CIP (The Crisis Intervention Program)

The Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) is a year-round program that assists individuals and families who are experiencing a heating or cooling related crisis, a life threatening or health related emergency and have a final notice or past due utility bill. If you’re behind on your heating or cooling bill, need to pay a utility deposit or a reconnection fee, help may be available.

Residents can apply by:

  • Visiting our All ACCESS POINT to apply for benefits, submit documents for existing cases and much more
  • Visiting North Carolina ePASS to apply online.
  • Calling our DSS Call Center at 704-336-3000 to complete a telephone application
  • Downloading the Energy (CIP or LIEAP) application in English or Spanish and:
    • Mailing completed application to 301 Billingsley Road, Charlotte, NC 28211
    • Emailing completed application to:
    • Dropping off completed application at either one of our DSS locations located at 301 Billingsley Road, Charlotte NC, 28211 or
      The Community Resource Center at 3205 Freedom Drive, Suite 1000, Building A, Charlotte, NC 28208

  • Walking in to apply at either of our DSS locations

  • CIP Flyer
    CIP Flyer - Spanish

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    LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program)

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    The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), is a federal program available December - March that assists households with their home heating needs, so they won't have to choose between heating their homes and paying for other basic needs. You do not have to be at risk of disconnection or delinquent to take advantage of this one-time, direct vendor payment in the amount of $300, $400, or $500. Residents must meet the income guidelines, be responsible for the bill, provide their account number and show proof of income. The Department of Social Services is now taking applications from Mecklenburg County residents who may need help paying their energy bills. Assistance is available December 1, 2021 - March 31, 2022 or until funds run out. December is application priority month for residents age 60 or older, or disabled and receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services. All households can apply January - March 31.

    Visit to learn more.

    LIEAP Flyer
    LIEAP Flyer - Spanish


    Food and Financial Help Resources List


    Finances, Food, Housing, & Clothing

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    National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

    The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse - is an Office of Family Assistance (OFA) funded national resource for fathers, practitioners, programs/Federal grantees, states, and the public at-large who are serving or interested in supporting strong fathers and families.

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    Office Location:

    Valerie Woodard Center
    3205 Freedom Drive
    Charlotte, NC 28208
    Hours: Mon-Fri  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


    Web Services