A program of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Maternal and Child Health, the NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center engages in public health practice that improves child care throughout North Carolina by training and supporting child care health consultants (CCHCs).
CCHCs are health professionals who work with programs to assess, plan, implement and evaluate strategies to achieve safe and healthy child care environments.
“As there is no system of school nurses for child care in North Carolina, CCHCs are the health professionals who support the safe and healthy attendance of children in child care,” says Jacquie Simmons, MScPH, the resource center’s project director.
Common training topics include safe sleep, medication administration and emergency preparedness and response. CCHCs also conduct classroom and facility assessments and develop quality improvement plans with facility staff.
Until recently, about 40% of North Carolina’s counties lacked access to child care health consultant services. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, state leaders realized that access to CCHC services in all counties was critical to help childcare facilities to safely stay open throughout the pandemic. They asked the N.C. Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center for more help.
“The center’s staff are pivotal with what’s going on at state level and sharing current knowledge and information with us,” Cindy Smith, a CCHC for the Albemarle Alliance for Children and Families. “They give us everything we need to do our work.”