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

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king county executive dow constantine, king county executive press releaseA new initiative funded by Executive Dow Constantine’s Best Starts for Kids initiative offers health consultations to child care 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.

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“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.

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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.

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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:

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