Anne Laukaitis Champion for Children Award

The Anne Laukaitis Champion for Children Award is in honor of Anne’s distinguished Smart Start leadership and her long career dedicated to the service of young children and families in Cabarrus County. This award is given annually to an exceptional individual at the local level who is devoted to public service and whose leadership qualities have resulted in significant change for the betterment of young children, families, and communities. Among the leadership qualities the recipient will exemplify are:

  • Passionate commitment to the vision of a stronger community for children and families.
  • The ability to lead and inspire others in pursuit of that vision.
  • Personal integrity, humility, and professional will.
  • Willingness to work hard, stay the course even in the face of adversity, and acknowledge the contributions of others.
  • An unbridled and optimistic pursuit of possibility.

The Twelfth Annual Anne Laukaitis Champion for Children Award will be given at the 2021 Annual Meeting/Voices for Children Luncheon of the CCPC Board of Directors on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at All Saints Episcopal Church Parish Hall. The recipient will be honored and will receive a plaque of thanks at the meeting. The family of the recipient will be invited to the Annual Meeting/Voice for Children Luncheon to share in the award presentation.

Nomination Procedures

Who can make nominations? Nominations for the Anne Laukaitis Champion for Children Award can be submitted by anyone that works and serves in Cabarrus County. The nominee must have worked to improve the lives of young children in Cabarrus County and exemplifies the above listed leadership qualities.

When is the deadline for award nominations? Nominations must be emailed to Ann Benfield at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed (P.O. Box 87, Kannapolis, NC 28082-0087) by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 15, 2021.

Who will review the nominations? The nominations will be reviewed by CCPC board of directors or the appointed Nomination Review Committee.

Who should I call if I need additional information? Please call Ann Benfield 704-933-8278 ext 4 or 202-297-4733 email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions regarding the nomination or award.

Download the Nomination Form


PAST Award Recipients

2020 - Dr. russell suda

 2019 - Paula Yost, Cabarrus Co. Child Protection Team

paula cropped

Ashlie Shanley presented the award to Paula Yost Schupp, calling her a trademark attorney who is devoted to the welfare of our children. Paula volunteers countless hours heading the Cabarrus County Child Protection Team and facilitates meetings and the sharing of resources between our local child protection agencies so that they can serve our children better. Paula is also a loving mom, a wife, an attorney, and the owner of the Country Law Shack in Mount Pleasant.

Paula's extraordinary passion for helping children in our community is the reason why she was named the Anne Laukaitis Champion for Children Award recipient for 2019.

2018 - Starla Hatley, ABCD/Reach Out and Read

starla hatley

Download the Nomination Form

award winners 2009-2020

2009 Debbie Biggerstaff
2010 Felicia Wilson
2011 Pam Smith
2012 Norman Franklin
2013 Andrea Palo
2014 Rev. Donald Anthony & Angela Ward
2015 Jackie Whitfield
2016 Ashlie Shanley
2017 Andrea King & Wilma Means
2018 Starla Hatley
2019 Paula Yost
2020 Dr. Russell Suda

Opportunities for Public Input on Fair Housing Issues

The North Carolina Department of Commerce is conducting a survey and a series of public meetings to learn more about how North Carolina residents are discriminated against when searching for housing. It is against the law for anyone to be denied housing based on their race, the color of their skin, their religion, their sex, their national origin, a disability, or familial status (having children or being pregnant).

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Cabarrus Partnership for Children Awarded $150,000 Grant to Improve Population Health & Equity

Groundbreaking Effort Brings Public Health, Healthcare, and Social Services Together to Advance Community Health

The Cabarrus County Partnership for Children (CCPC) has been awarded a $150,000 grant to support a collaboration between governmental public health, healthcare, and social services. The grant funds, provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and awarded through the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) and the Center for Sharing Public Health Services (CSPHS), will advance the efforts of the Cabarrus Partnership for Children to implement an innovative multisector partnership between governmental public health, healthcare, and social service organizations, along with the engagement of Cabarrus County, with the ultimate goal of aligning the three sectors’ work to improve population health, well-being, and equity for all.

Cabarrus Partnership for Children is one of 10 organizations to be awarded a Cross-sector Innovation Initiative (CSII) competitive grant. The initiative breaks new ground as it seeks to create an unprecedented effort toward achieving systems alignment between public health, healthcare, and social services, supporting strategies that address both population-focused efforts and the social needs of individuals. With the support of a community-based effort, the collaboration will elevate the focus on population health, thereby improving the health and well-being of everyone in Cabarrus County, particularly during this time of need.

Funding for the Substance Use Network (SUN) Project

“Cabarrus Partnership for Children is proud and excited to be awarded these funds, which will be used to implement the Substance Use Network (SUN) Project,” said Ann Benfield, Executive Director of CCPC. “We are pleased to partner with the Cabarrus Health Alliance; Atrium Health; Cabarrus County Department of Human Services; Genesis, A New Beginning; McLeod Addictive Disease Center, Inc.; the NC Department of Public Safety; and community members to work toward improving population health, well-being, and equity for all.”

The SUN Project aims to develop a cross-sector collaborative system of compassionate care that uses best practices to support the health, safety, well-being and recovery of pregnant patients with a substance use disorder, their infants, and families.

“This new trend holds promise, and this initiative can be even more far-reaching and impactful with additional partners and long-term commitments,” said PHNCI Chief Innovations Officer Jessica Solomon Fisher, MCP. “Bringing these three sectors together for this grant opportunity – along with the engagement of the community – has the potential to achieve unparalleled improvements in health and equity, and innovative solutions to complex problems that impact the health and well-being of communities everywhere.”

The CSII grants, made possible with support from the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provide approximately $150,000 to each of the 10 grantees to implement alignment innovations over the next 24 months. The initiative will emphasize the role and value of health departments in cross-sector collaborations while increasing understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that these collaborations represent for health departments.

“The level and complexity of the work required to advance the health of communities is far beyond what any one sector can achieve alone,” said CSPHS Director Gianfranco Pezzino, MD, MPH. “We can achieve far greater results by working together and using innovation to make lasting improvements in population health outcomes. Working together means not only working across sectors, but also ensuring the community is engaged as an equal partner.”

In addition to receiving funding support, CCPC will also receive technical assistance and the opportunity to participate in a Learning Community designed to facilitate peer exchange and share expertise. As learnings are captured, they will be evaluated and widely disseminated to the field through a variety of tools, resources, stories and other communication materials.

“This is a truly groundbreaking effort that will help us to better understand what facilitates or impedes cross-sector collaborations, the unique role of governmental public health in these efforts to align different sectors, and the value of this work to all partners involved,” said Monique Shaw, MPH, Program Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information, contact Gina Hofert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the Cabarrus County Partnership for Children

Cabarrus County Partnership for Children connects purpose, people, and programs to ensure child well-being in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. The Partnership is a collaborative organization and contracts with many community partners in order to implement health, early education, and/or family outreach services to support children and families.

Click here for more information about the SUN Clinic.

Leandro - A Sound, Basic Education Begins at Birth

Leandro v. North Carolina is a lawsuit filed in 1994 by five low-wealth school districts who claimed the state was not providing children with the same educational opportunities as students in higher-income districts. In 1997, the NC Supreme Court ruled that the state's students have a constitutional right to a "sound, basic education." This constitutional right has been and continues to be denied to many North Carolina children.

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