Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences

One of our former Strengthening Families staff members, Erinn Havig, MSW provided training as part of the NEAR Learning Institute.  This training focused on key research and emerging science that teaches about the impact of adversity on health across the lifespan.

In the mid-1990s, Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study to consider the effects of childhood adversity on population health and wellbeing.  The ACE Study had over 17,000 participants.  The term ACE or Adverse Childhood Experiences ACE is way of identifying negative experiences that affect children and it is used as a way to calculate these experiences.  The study surmised the higher the ACE score, the greater the likelihood that the individual will have social and health problems that lead to early death.

Research shows that brain development is negatively impacted by adverse childhood experiences.  The ACE Study was designed to show how adverse childhood experiences influence human development in predictable ways.  The pathway goes as follows: adverse childhood experience, disrupted neurodevelopment, social, emotional and cognitive impairment, adoption of health-risk behaviors, disease, disability and social problems, early death.  

In the work we do at DEL, we have the opportunity to reach many of Washington State’s youngest children through our many programs and services to prevent and mitigate ACEs.  By gaining an understanding of how life experiences and new scientific discoveries can help children and their families, we can help these individuals experience greater health, safety, prosperity, and happiness.   
For further information: www.aceinterface.com/

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Statewide Child Care Licensing Administrator Retires

The Department of Early Learning (DEL) announces today that Mary Kay Quinlan will retire from her position as the Statewide Licensing Administrator after nearly 40 years of licensed child care work in Washington.

Mary Kay Quinlan
Quinlan has made significant strides in improving the quality of licensing services and the availability of licensed early learning opportunities for Washington’s littlest learners. Under Quinlan’s leadership, DEL implemented a differential monitoring approach that supported consistency and efficiency of licensing practices. Her passion focused on safe and healthy environments for the diverse communities of children and families in Washington state.
“One of my proudest accomplishments is the data-informed improvement of licensing policies, procedures and regulations,” said Quinlan. “These improvements support providers and encourage them to develop professionally and to view the child care setting with health and safety of children as the main priority.”
Quinlan also enhanced DEL communication with parents and communities, creating an awareness of licensing regulations, policies and procedures, while promoting a “whole child” approach that acknowledges and honors the diverse needs of children during some of their most influential years.

Other key accomplishments under Quinlan’s leadership include:
  • revising regulations that enable home-based providers to focus on quality of their services and better care and education for early learners; 
  • engaging licensors and licensed providers in implementation of Early Achievers, our state’s quality rating and improvement system; and
  • initiating work on health and safety for infants and toddlers by implementing the Safe Sleep initiative and supporting the state Early Head Start and Child Care Partnerships collaboration.
“Under Mary Kay’s leadership, Washington’s child care licensing system has made tremendous strides in ensuring health and safety of early learning environments for our state’s youngest population,” said Heather Moss, DEL’s Deputy Director. “Our leadership team would like to congratulate her on an exceptional career in state service. Her commitment to ensuring the health, safety and educational opportunities for all children makes her a lifelong ally for the families we serve.”
Quinlan’s last day will be December 31, 2015. Luba Bezborodnikova, DEL Assistant Director for the Early Start Act, will assume the lead role in statewide child care licensing moving forward. Regional Licensing Administrators from DEL’s four child care licensing regions will also aid in this transition.

For all licensing questions, comments and suggestions please contact Luba Bezborodnikova, DEL Assistant Director for the Early Start Act at luba.bezborodnikova@del.wa.gov or 360-725-4404.

DEL’s Regional Licensing Administrators are also available for licensing questions as they pertain to different parts of the state:

Cammey Rocco, Regional Licensing Administrator (Southwest)

Heather West, Regional Licensing Administrator (Northwest - King)

Robert Kerwin, Regional Licensing Administrator (Eastern)
DEL Child Care Licensing Regions

Travis Hansen, Regional Licensing Administrator (North Central)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lawmakers and Early Learning Advocates Tour SW Licensed Care

Yesterday, Representative Ruth Kagi, staff from Child Care Aware of Washington and members of DEL staff visited licensed child care centers and family child care homes in both Tacoma and Olympia.

DEL licensed child care regions.
The event is what is known as a "DEL legislative tour" as it is a time to invite lawmakers and advocates of early learning to view the conditions of licensed child care in specific areas. This tour was dedicated to ECEAP classrooms, child care centers and homes to get a variety of perspectives from various providers.

The group got a view of licensed child care in the state's Southwest Region which currently holds:

  • 3,786 licensed family home child care programs
  • 1,533 licensed child care centers 
  • 424 school-age programs
The Southwest Region is unique in that:
  • Staff includes one Regional Administrator, four Licensing Supervisors, 23 Licensors, a Licensing Analyst, a Health Specialist, an Administrative Assistant, and four administrative support staff. 
  • It has three satellite offices located away from the larger metropolitan areas: Aberdeen, Kelso, and Port Angeles. Each of these offices is staffed by a single licensor who carries a combined caseload of family homes, child care centers, and school age programs. Additionally, there is a Bremerton office that houses two licensors for Kitsap County.
  • Many of the Southwest office staff have strong working relationships with area community colleges, early learning coalitions, family home child care associations, directors’ groups, Child Care Aware, and other early learning community partners.
    Rep. Ruth Kagi looks in on a classroom at snack time in Lacey, WA.
  • The Southwest Region works closely with military early childhood programs that are licensed by the Department of Defense. Bangor Naval Base has two child care centers and Kitsap Naval Base has three child care centers that DEL certifies for payment only. Joint Base Lewis-McChord has twelve child care centers that DEL certifies for payment only. Additionally, there are 19 family child care homes that are licensed by the military that DEL certifies for payment only. 
  • There are several tribes in the Southwest Region that DEL works with. Some of the tribes are certified for payment only and some are certified. Agencies that are certified by DEL are governed by their own set of rules and must request to be certified.
Overall, touring the Southwest Region's licensed facilities was a successful and educational where experts in the field voiced their view on child care subsidy, ECEAP and successful STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lessons that are happening now in licensed facilities. Early Achievers and the Early Start Act (passage in July 2015) were also on the minds of licensed providers. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Physical Activity in Washington Child Care

In a recent article by Medical Daily, the importance of physical activity in child care was emphasized by pediatricians and professionals. 

The article stated,
"Pediatricians recommend that young children get at least an hour a day of physical activity to help build motor skills, coordination and strong muscles and bones, as well as to reduce the potential for obesity later in life. Playground time is also key for developing social skills, like taking turns and conflict resolution."
The study that informed the article was published nationally. 

In a state where rain and chilly temperatures are the norm during winter months, this can be a challenge for child care providers--but Washington partners in Governor Jay Inslee's health-centric initiative, the Healthiest Next Generation, have created technical assistance documents to promote activity in early learning environments that do not rely on outdoor time per-say.

This release comes after the results of a 2013 child care survey that showcased low physical activity practices throughout child care in Washington state.

The Department of Health (Health), The University of Washington Center for Public Health Nutrition and Department of Early Learning (DEL) developed Physical Activity in Child Care Technical Assistance Handouts with essential tips for providers and families who regularly utilize child care centers and family homes.

Tips for family home child care programs include: 
  • Add activity breaks into daily routines, like circle time.
  • Get kids active between lessons. Even a five to ten minute burst of activity can help.
  • Avoid having kids stay seated for a long time. 
  • Include teacher-guided activities. Introduce simple movement games and songs like “Simon Says,” “Follow the Leader” and “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” 
Center tips are similar, and include ideas for how to combat barriers like cold weather:
  • Ask parents to dress children in appropriate clothing and shoes for active, outdoor play.
  • Stock spare clothes, boots, hats and gloves.
  • Take a nature walk or neighborhood tour when the grass or playground equipment is wet or covered in snow. 
  • Indoor play idea: set up an obstacle course using unlikely objects. Kids can push chairs across the room, crawl under tables or jump over blocks.
To see the finished, printable handout for family homes, click here: Physical Activity in Family Homes.

To see the finished, printable handout for centers, click here: Physical Activity in Centers.