Online Program

Promoting systems-level change in early childhood education settings: Healthy homes in Boston's family childcare settings

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 5:30 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.

Elizabeth Tanefis, Policy & Practice Department, Health Resources in Action, Boston, MA
The Boston Healthy Homes and Schools Collaborative (BHHSC) identified a need for systems-level reductions in environmental exposures to young children in childcare settings, as these exposures may cause or exacerbate disease. Rather than training individual Family Childcare Providers (FCP) on healthy homes, BHHSC focused its ‘Healthy Homes for Family Childcare' Initiative on increasing institutional capacity among FCP leadership and decision makers, as well as educating state level early education policy makers. BHHSC has developed and implemented a Train the Trainer curriculum for the nonprofit family childcare systems that provide technical assistance, training, and referral services directly to FCPs, reaching over half of the Boston systems to date. After completing the training, FCPs qualify for admission into BHHSC's Safe and Healthy Family Childcare certification program. Additionally, BHHSC has worked with the region's largest childcare resource agency to permanently incorporate healthy homes information into the ‘New Provider Orientation' that each new FCP must complete prior to becoming licensed. To date, this policy change has reached several hundred potential FCPs. The presenter(s) will describe how BHHSC convened a robust advisory group of early childhood education stakeholders, including family childcare providers, a representative of Massachusetts's early childhood education regulatory agency, and other organizations that work exclusively in the childcare and early education arena. This group provided guidance on how to work within the early childhood framework, how to fit healthy homes into childcare licensing and quality standards, and how to effect policy change. As a result, the MA Department of Early Education and Care will formally release policy guidance specific to FCPs on smoke free housing and integrated pest management practices. This session will highlight the value of working within the early education system to influence healthy homes policy change and describe an approach that has resulted in institutional change among family childcare stakeholders.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits of working within the early childhood education system to promote healthy homes policies and practices versus local and state health systems List at least two ways that a health organization can build institutional capacity related to healthy homes and family childcare providers Formulate a plan to convene an advisory group of early education stakeholders

Keyword(s): Child Care, Indoor Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have led or co-led the planning, development, and implementation of multiple federally and privately funded grants focusing on promoting healthy indoor environments in home settings. Specific interests have included developing healthy homes strategies promoting environmental justice in child care settings, as well as low-income and minority populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.