The Success Equation, an initiative of Children First/CIS, unites our community to reduce poverty through education, collaboration and public policy advocacy resulting in an environment where all children can thrive. Would you like to become more involved and engaged in helping to end child poverty in Buncombe County?

Below are quick opportunities to learn, share, and act.


Our friends at NC Child have released a new report highlighting the extraordinary increase in the number of children placed in the foster care program due to substance misuse. North Carolina has seen a 50% increase over the past 10 years.

Read the new report about this phenomenon and the potential that closing the health insurance coverage gap has to help parents get the treatment they need to keep their families together.

“Substance use disorder is a tragic disease that can tear apart families and leave children without stable, nurturing homes,” said Whitney Tucker, research director at NC Child and the report’s author. “The opioid epidemic is driving this crisis to a new level in our state. Closing the health insurance coverage gap won’t end the opioid crisis, but it’s a powerful strategy that we can implement immediately to help thousands of uninsured parents get the treatment they need to keep their families together.” Read the full story in Carolina Public Press.


In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in North Carolina, renters need to earn $16.35 per hour — North Carolina’s Housing Wage . That’s the news from the release of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s report Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing.

Each year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage — the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at Fair Market Rent. The average renter in NC earns $14.66 per hour, 9% less than the state’s Housing Wage. A minimum wage worker in North Carolina must have 2.7 full-time jobs or work 90 hours per week to afford housing.


54% of our local students qualify for the free and reduced meal program at their schools, so when summer begins, many of these children are at high risk of food insecurity. The Super Summer Meals program originated to help alleviate this risk. A collaboration between the USDA, Buncombe County Schools, Asheville City Schools and partner organizations, this program is a federally-funded, state-administered program which reimburses providers who serve healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas at no charge during the summer months. There are no applications or qualifications to participate in this program- any child from 0-18 can go to an open site and get a meal. Now in its 6th year, this feeding program continues to see high participation rates, with 147,436 total meals served during the Summer of 2017Here is the list of current open sites.


Children First/Communities In Schools, the umbrella organization for the Success Equation, was one of 540 organizations from 50 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico that signed a letter asking the Secretary of Homeland Security to halt the separation of children from their families at the border. Due to public outcry and joining together of many voices, the policy was changed so that families are no longer being separated. Butthis does not alleviate the issue surrounding the 2,500 children who are still separated from their parents or the conditions faced by families still coming to the border. Under the current plan children will be kept waiting in custody and brought back to their parents only when the parents’ deportation proceedings are completed. The situation is even worse for parents who are seeking asylum, as they may be separated from their children for the months or years their case might take to reach a decision. Read the full letter. Read an article on CNN explaining the current plan.


Find out how you can get even more involved
in creating community where all children can thrive!

  • Sign up for our Action Alerts for up-to-the-minute alerts on important policy decisions and ways you can make your voice count for kids!
  • Follow us on our Success Equation Facebook page and on Twitter @CFCISAdvocacy to receive information and updates on how you can help create a community where all children can thrive.
  • Check out our Local, State and Federal Advocacy Tool-kits to guide you in engaging with our elected officials.
  • Volunteer to participate in monthly phone banking to inform our neighbors on important issues impacting children and families. Contact Jodi Ford at 828-620-9091


The Need

No child chooses to be born into poverty. All children deserve to be well cared for, healthy, safe, and educated so they have opportunities for success in the future. Unfortunately, children in poverty usually experience poorer health, safety, and education, as well as greater levels of toxic stress, than children from families with more money. In Buncombe County, right now 1 in 4 children in our county is living in poverty.

Children from low-income families are more likely to come to school behind, have undiagnosed learning disabilities, score lower on academic achievement tests, and drop out of school.  They have less access to adequate health care and are 6 times as likely to live in homes without enough food, in high-crime neighborhoods.

Children from low-income families are also more likely to experience parental joblessness, substance abuse, homelessness, and/or absence of a parent – leading to toxic stress levels that brain research shows hardwires young children’s brains and slows cognitive and emotional development.


History of the Success Equation

bookIn 2010, Children First/CIS launched a listening project to document the experience of families facing poverty in Buncombe County. 113 low-income people,  including teen and Latina mothers, participated in focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Additionally, we interviewed service providers that work with low-income families. Interview participants represented a wide geographic range: from public housing in the city, the Emma community, south Asheville, east Asheville, and Barnardsville.

Children First/CIS presented the issues raised by the listening session to a broader community summit for action ideas. In May 2011, Children First/CIS hosted a two-day appreciative inquiry summit attended by 120 participants representing local organizations, community leaders, low-income individuals and interested community members.  Out of this summit, an Action Plan was created and committees formed.

The current  Success Equation Action Plan includes emphasis in the three key focus areas identified from interviews and at the summit: Early Childhood Development  •  Child &Family Supports  •  Family Economic Stability


Our Roles

The Success Equation unites our community to alleviate the root causes of child poverty. We do this in Buncombe County through the following roles:

  •  Educator – reporting poverty data, messaging about poverty’s impact, and inspiring broader dialogue focused on solutions.
  • Advocate – building a local advocacy voice supportive of public policy and investment in effective programs that meet children’s basic needs and place them on a path to success.
  • Convener – connecting individuals, businesses, government, schools, faith communities, and organizations to enhance promising strategies, collaborations, and creative/provocative ideas.


rand xanax 2mg prices
Top of Page