Health and Safety
Action Planning Template
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Successfully supporting better care for infants and toddlers in early care and education programs usually requires States and Territories to carefully examine their existing policies and practices in order to identify successes or gaps in services. Creating an action plan will help stakeholders target existing practices that can be expanded or strengthened and identify new practices to serve more families.
The following steps provide guidance for the action planning process. These steps can be tailored as needed for your context within your State/Territory.
Step #1: Identify a work group comprised of state/territory staff and key stakeholders to design an action plan and engage in or support the implementation of that plan. This can be done by asking for volunteers or by recruiting individuals with relevant knowledge, skills, and access to key systems that will be needed to support the work. The group will be strengthened by ensuring that it is diverse and has representatives from all key stakeholder groups.
Step #2: Have the work group review the checklist/questions of policies and practices provided here. This will help the group begin their thinking and information-gathering process. Note: Some States/Territories may prefer to discuss the checklist/questions prior to convening a work group to develop the action plan.
Step #3: Ask the group create an action plan using the template provided here to help articulate desired outcomes, identify the action steps to be taken, discover the resources needed to support those steps, establish a timeframe for action, and to track progress toward outcomes.
- Develop a process to review and fill out the template
- Identify a subgroup to manage the planned activities
There are often challenges and obstacles when creating an action plan that is supported by essential stakeholders. Some of these can be addressed by the following:
- Clearly identify the goals and expectations for the work group. For example, specify the duration of the work, the expected results, and the responsibilities of each member. Group roles may include the leader or convener of the group, the recorder, and the person who will report to the convening agency.
- Create a vision statement or guiding principles for how the action plan can be used to benefit infants and toddlers, their families, and the early care and education programs that serve them. To create this vision, provide the group with the Program for Infant Toddler Care’s (PITCs) Six Essential Program Practices for Relationship Based Care Rationale Papers (https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/resource/program-infanttoddler-care-pitc-six-essential-program-practices-relationship-based-care) and the action planning template provided. Ask the group to review the measuring progress and purpose/goal listed on the template for the topic.
- Provide opportunities for the work group to get to know each other and build a sense of common cause and trust.
- Establish a time for regular work group meetings.
- Create a process of recording and reporting that captures the groups’ work.
When action planning for health and safety needs in infant and toddler programs, consider the following strategies:
- Measuring Progress
- Training includes elements important for the H&S of infants and toddlers;
- Systems are in place for criminal background checks, child abuse reporting certification and emergency preparedness reflecting the special needs of infants and toddlers.
Infant and toddler group size and ratios align with the Six Essential Program Practices (PITC) and Caring for Our Children Basics recommendations.