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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Offering childcare providers the support, tools, and research they need to help children thrive

Summary

Executive Constantine’s Best Starts for Kids levy is now providing childcare centers, in-home providers, and to informal family, friend, and neighbor caregivers with the latest research and best practices for health, safe environments.

Story


A new initiative funded by Executive Dow Constantine’s Best Starts for Kids initiative offers health consultations to childcare providers, providing the latest research and best practices for healthy, safe environments.

The multidisciplinary teams of health experts visit childcare centers, family childcare providers, and informal family, friend, and neighbor caregivers to build trust and offer coaching and support. The partnerships will help King County achieve multiple outcomes, including more kids getting the vaccines they need, fewer days when kids are sick and can’t attend childcare, and fewer kids expelled from childcare. 

“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. “By offering consultations with health experts, we are helping childcare providers offer the safest, healthiest experience possible for children throughout our region.”

The multidisciplinary teams may include nurses, mental health consultants, nutritionists, and/or community health workers. Examples of the support they offer childcare providers include:

  • Coaching on developmental milestones
  • Checking crib bedding to ensure a safe sleep environment
  • Providing advice on how to prevent illness outbreaks or how to manage them when they occur
  • Helping providers understand medication management or how to care for children who have special medical needs
  • Providing advice on how to handle a child’s behavioral challenges, including how to modify a classroom environment or the teacher’s response to the behavior. 

Executive Constantine recently visited the staff at Encompass Northwest in North Bend, one of seven community-based organizations that successfully competed for $6.9 million in funding available over three years through Best Starts for Kids’ Childcare Health Consultation Strategy. 

From July to December 2018, the strategy reached 52 ZIP codes throughout King County, visiting 282 childcare sites, and serving 518 childcare providers and caregivers. 

Public Health – Seattle & King County has provided Childcare Health Consultations services for more than 30 years. With funding provided by Best Starts for Kids, Public Health is now able to make services available to new childcare providers and in more communities throughout King County to sustain and strengthen supports for children, families, and childcare providers.

“Childcare providers play a vital role in ensuring children are growing and learning in healthy and safe environments," said Patty Hayes, Director for Public Health - Seattle & King County. “Bringing health care expertise into childcare settings is a smart approach that puts prevention first, and supports the rapid brain development of young children that we know can have lifelong implications."

Promoting healthy and resilient children, youth, families, and communities

Best Starts for Kids is a voter-approved six-year levy proposed by Executive Constantine to help put every baby born and every child raised in King County on a path toward success.

It invests in promotion, prevention, and early intervention strategies that promote healthy and resilient children, youth, families, and communities. It is considered the most comprehensive approach to childhood development in the United States, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through age 24, and investing in safe, healthy communities that reinforce progress.

Here are a few examples of other Best Starts for Kids-funded initiatives:

  • Providing tools to more parents and caregivers during home visits so they can get their child off to a strong, healthy start.
  • Opening three School-Based Health Centers – located in Bellevue, Renton, and Vashon Island – where students can meet with medical-, dental- and mental-health providers at no cost.
  • Making it easier for children and youth to eat healthy, exercise, and avoid harmful substances, such as tobacco, vaping and firearms.
  • Preventing thousands of children, young people, and families from experiencing homelessness by providing case managers who offer customized internations and flexible funds to meet clients' specific needs.

Childcare Health Consultations Initiative

Organization Services Population Served Region Served
Northwest Center Provides trainings, consultations, and shared resources with a focus on inclusion of children with special needs, to increase access to high-quality, inclusive classrooms for children aged birth through five throughout King County. Childcare centers, family child cares, partial day preschool programs All of King County
Kindering Provides trainings, child observation, direct consultation including infant nurse consultation, and referral to additional services to child care providers in Renton/Skyway. Childcare centers, family child cares, partial day preschool programs, and informal caregivers Renton, Skyway
Encompass Northwest Offers trainings and childcare health consultations, including infant nurse consultation, to providers in rural East King County to provide tools and resources that will reduce childcare expulsions and create a safe and nurturing care environment. Childcare centers, family child cares, informal caregivers, before and after school care programs East King County
Chinese Information and Service Center Supports caregivers in providing a nurturing, healthy, and supportive environment and a strong early learning foundation for the children in by offering information, resources and support using a bilingual/bicultural approach. Program builds on protective factors and strengthens caregivers' skills in guiding children’s physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development and kindergarten readiness. Informal caregivers within Chinese immigrant community East King County, South King County, Seattle
Somali Health Board Provides trainings and consultations built on three core competencies: cultural understanding, public health expertise, and childcare system knowledge. In year three, SHB plans to replicate in partnership with Communities of Opportunity-funded community health boards to serve additional immigrant and refugee populations. Somali-owned family childcares South King County, Seattle
Living Well Kent Provides culturally diverse trainings and consultation services to bridge the gap between communities and effective services and ensure full access to high quality, culturally, and linguistically appropriate childcare for Somali speaking providers and children. Somali-speaking family childcares in Kent South King County
Sisters in Common Provides culturally, linguistically appropriate services at literacy appropriate levels to increase caregivers' skills in health/nutrition, behavioral health, and child development and increase the number of high quality childcares and school readiness of children in the community. Informal caregivers within African American and East African communites South King County, Seattle

Relevant links


Quotes

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. By offering consultations with health experts, we are helping childcare providers offer the safest, healthiest experience possible for children throughout our region.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Childcare providers play a vital role in ensuring children are growing and learning in healthy and safe environments. Bringing health care expertise into childcare settings is a smart approach that puts prevention first, and supports the rapid brain development of young children that we know can have lifelong implications.

Patty Hayes, Director of King County -- Seattle & King County

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography