On March 27, 2019, King County Executive Dow Constantine visited the Encompass Early Learning Center to learn more about our Child Care Health Consultation (CCHC) program. The CCHC program, which was developed in 2018 thanks to funding from King County’s Best Starts for Kids initiative, provides free guidance and support to center-based child care, home-based child care (family, friend, and neighbor), and preschool programs with the goal of empowering child care providers to nurture the healthy development and school readiness of all children in their care.
On his visit, Executive Constantine met with Behavioral Health Manager Megan Walsh, Child Care Health Consultation Nurse Caitlin Young, and Director of Pediatric Therapy Programs Kim Kanzler to learn more about the services and supports we have been providing to child care providers since receiving Best Starts for Kids Child Care Consultation funding in May 2018.
Our support consists of consultation, observation, and workshops for parents and teachers focused on reducing expulsion rates and creating a direct path for developmental assessment referrals. We’ve offered after-hours trainings and one-on-one mentoring for teachers. “We want to empower providers to be mindful of what they bring to the table—the way they were parented, their education, their experience—and help them to provide the best possible early learning experience for the kids in their care,” says Young, who leads the program at Encompass.
We talked about how we have provided information and resources on cleaning and sanitizing, promoting brain development, supporting children’s social and emotional competence, and trauma-informed care.
After meeting with staff at the Early Learning Center, Executive Constantine traveled to Little Ark Family Child Care with Walsh and Young to see firsthand the impact of the program on local child care facilities. “Childcare providers contribute to the health and well-being of kids throughout King County, and we are making sure they have the support, tools, and research they need to succeed,” said Executive Constantine in a blog post about the visit. “By offering consultations with health experts, we are helping childcare providers offer the safest, healthiest experience possible for children throughout our region.”