It’s not easy maintaining a healthy environment for young children. As a child care director or owner, you may need additional support to achieve best health and safety practices in your program. As a Quality First participant, you have access to this kind of help. Quality First offers you the services of Child Care Health Consultants (CCHC).
CCHCs are health professionals who provide expert guidance and technical assistance on a wide range of health and safety topics. They can also provide resources to assist you in serving children with special health needs.
Here are five important reasons to get to know your CCHC.
1. On-call expert advice
When health and safety issues come up, you’ll have a go-to person dedicated to answering your questions. Your CCHC provides on-call support that is both responsive and customized to your needs. Your CCHC can also provide you with answers to unique health issues, additional resources and research information for you, so that you can address issues quickly.
Yaninn Lopez, director of Divine Children Preschool and Daycare in Phoenix, said, “I call on our CCHC because she’s so knowledgeable. I call her weekly with questions, and she gives me insight into issues.”
2. An in-house trainer
Every year, you’ll need trainings for your staff to meet licensing requirements. Why not have the trainings in-house and customized to the needs of your program? Your CCHC can provide health and safety trainings and provide follow-up observations to help staff put their learning into practice..
Jamie Nolan, director of East Valley Learning Center in Gilbert uses the trainings every year.
“She educates my staff for free by providing trainings,” said Nolan. “We have to do 18 hours of trainings, and to have those trainings from someone who is already coming to our facility twice a month, it makes it easier.”
3. Family support
Research shows families look at health professionals as trusted sources of information. Your CCHC can help you partner with families to support children’s healthy development. Your CCHC can also provide information for families and referrals to additional health resources in your community.
“She’s really good at any type of developmental questions,” says Lopez. “She explains to parents, from a nurse’s perspective, why certain things are or aren’t appropriate. She bridges the gaps between new parents and new practices. She brings data to back up her recommendations. This helps with parents, because she’s a trusted source.”
4. Creating policies
Having a CCHC to help your program stay aligned with and update your policies with the latest practices is essential to creating a safe and healthy environment for your staff, children and families. Your CCHC can also help you create health and safety policies to help you achieve higher standards of care.
“My CCHC has made my job easier as a director by providing amazing support in many areas of our program,” said Misty Totman, director of Nana’s Place Academy in Glendale. “We have created and updated policies to ensure they are consistent and effective because of her help.”
5. A connection to supportive partnerships and resources
If you don’t have time to network with local partners, your CCHC is already doing that for you. Your CCHC works as team member with you, other child care programs, families, local public health agencies, child care resource and referral agencies, and other partners. Your CCHC can connect and update you on important news and opportunities to provide the best care for your children, families and staff.
“Our CCHC conducts an annual health and safety inspection that provides us with valuable insight into areas needing improvement,” said Michele Leyendecker, director of Tiny T-Birds Early Childhood Center in Bullhead City. “Then she works alongside us to problem-solve to bring us back into compliance. This not only helps keep our environment safe for our children, families and staff, but also helps prepare us for our Quality First assessment and accreditation visits.”
You can learn more about your local CCHC by visiting QualityFirstAZ.com/cchc.