The North Carolina Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center, a project of the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health directed by Dr. Jonathan Kotch, research professor of maternal and child health at the Gillings School, is among the collaborators who have received a $25,000 Ribbon of Hope grant from the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.
The grant, awarded to the N.C. Institute for Child Development Professionals (NCICDP), will support the design and launch of a first-in-the-nation certification and endorsement process for child-care health consultants, child health professionals who aim to promote healthy, safe environments for children in out-of-home child care and improve overall quality of early care and education programs.
North Carolina has 73 such consultants, one of the largest groups in any state. In 2013-2014, North Carolina child- care health consultants served more than 2,000 programs and 65,000 children.
“The number of children served in formal early care and educational settings in the U.S. has soared over the past several decades,” said Ms. Sue Russell, NCICDP board chair.
“This rapid rise in the use of formal early care and education programs has brought with it an increase in the need to protect children from illness and injury in group settings,” Ms. Russell said. “Without these funds, we would not be able to field-test and implement a model certification process to [develop] a qualified workforce which [can] support early educators in keeping children … healthy and safe.”
“North Carolina is a national leader in child care health and safety generally, and in child-care health consultation in particular,” Dr. Kotch said. “If we can make this certification program successful in North Carolina, we hope to begin to institute it nationally, providing a standard of quality for which all child- care health consultants can strive.”