Cary, NC – The Lucy Daniels Center’s early childhood education program has earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals. In voluntary compliance with the association’s rigorous new standards, the Center went through an extensive self-study process, measuring its programs and services against the 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related accreditation criteria.

“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Deborah Mugno, Ed.D., the Center’s education director.

Nationally, only 8% of preschools and other early childhood programs are accredited by the NAEYC. The Center is one of only two programs in Cary to earn this distinction.

“The NAEYC accreditation system raises the bar for child care centers and other early childhood programs,” said Jerlean E. Daniel, Ph.D, executive director of NAEYC. “Having earned NAEYC accreditation is a sign that the education program at the Lucy Daniels Center is a leader in a national effort to invest in high-quality early childhood education.”

The Lucy Daniels Center offers early childhood education through two part-day programs: the Child Enrichment Program, which gives typically developing children ages 2-5 “a little extra help” in their social and emotional development; and the Early Intervention Program, a therapeutic preschool and kindergarten for children ages 3-6 who are facing more significant challenges to their emotional health.

In addition to the NAEYC accreditation, the Center’s early childhood education program has been designated a 5-Star Center by the N.C. Division of Child Development, Department of Health and Human Services (its highest rating) and is also accredited by the Alliance for Psychoanalytic Schools.

The Center, founded in 1991, is now the Triangle, NC, area’s largest and most comprehensive non-profit provider of mental health services exclusively for children. In addition to its school-based programs, the Center treats children up to age 11 through an on-site mental health clinic, Family Guidance Service, and children up to age 5 from low-income families through SecurePath, an in-home therapy program in partnership with Wake County SmartStart. Additionally, the Center provides a range of free community outreach programs, including Lucy’s Book Club, to promote healthy social and emotional development for all children. Learn more about the Center and its programs at


The Lucy Daniels Center, founded in 1991, is devoted to promoting the healthy emotional development of young children. It is the largest and most comprehensive non-profit agency providing children's mental health services in North Carolina's Triangle region. The Center serves children up to age 11 who have behavioral or social difficulties or show signs of emotional problems through mental health assessments, family counseling, and therapy in both one-on-one and classroom settings. The staff of more than 25 social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and educators offers individualized care for each child and family.

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