Supporting Early Care and Education Programs with COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies
COVID-19 highlighted the need to strengthen the relationships between local health departments (LHDs) and early care and education (ECE) programs to improve local public health partnerships. The Maternal, Child, and Adolescent (MCAH) team’s Pediatric Vaccination portfolio works to establish and sustain collaborative mitigation recommendations for COVID-19 transmission, increase immunization coverage and access, support chronic disease prevention, and other public health goals for young children. Funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NACCHO collaborates with member LHDs and implementation partners, Child Care Aware of America® (CCAoA), and PennState Extension – Better Kid Care (BKC), to increase public health messaging, training, and easily accessible resources to over 50,000 ECE providers and caregivers.
COVID-19 ECE Mitigation Checklist
NACCHO, in partnership with CCAoA and the CDC, developed a COVID-19 mitigation checklist to support ECE programs in providing a healthy and safe environment for providers, children, and families.
View the full COVID-19 ECE Checklist for ECE programs here. To download a section of the checklist, please select from below.
Section 1: Planning and Preparing
Section 4: Classes/Cohorts and Physical Distancing
Section 5: Cleaning and Disinfecting
Section 6: Immunizations
Section 7: Staff Resilience and Support
Building Sustainable LHD-ECE Partnerships
NACCHO, in partnership with CCAoA, are working to strengthen relationships between local health departments (LHDs) and early care and education (ECE) programs. In the Spring of 2022, NACCHO and CCAoA invited LHD staff and child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) to share how LHD-ECE partnerships changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of these listening sessions, NACCHO and CCAoA identified 3 recommendations for LHDs to engage in relationship building and support of ECE programs and spaces:
- Enhance Training and Technical Assistance – Offering workshops and educational resources on relevant topics such as nutrition, infectious disease prevention, safe sleep practices, and child development, will helps ECE program staff gain knowledge and skills to create healthier and safer environments for children.
- Facilitate Community Partnerships – LHDs have the unique opportunity to lead collaborative efforts with ECE programs and other community stakeholders to create healthier environments for children. These partnerships help leverage community resources and expertise to benefit children and families.
- Strengthen Health Education for Families – LHDs should be a trusted source for health education and resources for communities they serve by elevating consistent messaging through communication campaigns and other communication techniques.
Full Summary Brief coming soon.
Food Access and Nutrition Security
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many social determinants of health (SDoH) including food insecurity. NACCHO aims to understand the complexities that LHDs face to provide evidence-based solutions for families impacted by food insecurity in ECE settings. Throughout 2022 and 2023, NACCHO learned from its’ membership network the challenges LHDs and ECE programs face related to food insecurity.
Full Executive Summary coming soon.
For more information, please contact William Rowe ([email protected]).
Child Care Aware of America® (CCAoA) works with a national network of more than 500 child care resource and referral (CCR&Rs) agencies and other partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable, child care. CCAoA leads projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, conducts research, and advocates for child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. CCAoA also provides child care assistance for military families through Fee Assistance and Respite Child Care Programs that have served more than 150,000 families and worked with more than 60,000 child care providers over nearly two decades. With funding from NACCHO, Child Care Aware of America has provided over 150 hours in technical assistance to child care providers through their CCR&R agencies, developed various resources and handouts for providers and families, and convened mental and resiliency experts to better address provider mental health outcomes.
Better Kid Care provides evidence-informed professional development to early care and education and youth development professionals to improve the quality of their care and educational practices. Online training is available for child care professionals with more than 300 relevant courses. With funding from NACCHO, Better Kid Care has developed two online training modules, facilitated various webinars, provided technical assistance to ECE providers and caregivers, and disseminated a host of resources for the ECE workforce.