The following are examples from States that have developed strategies to support high-quality infant and toddler care through training and technical assistance.
Training and Professional Development
Penn State Extension’s Better Kid Care program designed a Child Development Associate (CDA) Infant/Toddler Sample Curriculum that covers the 8 subject areas and 120 education hours required by the CDA Council for Professional Recognition to obtain an Infant/Toddler CDA credential. More than 35 States accept this training as meeting their state-specific requirements for child care professional development. The Better Kid Care website provides state-specific information. Coursework is made widely accessible through its online delivery, availability in English and Spanish, and low cost of five dollars per lesson. The recommended audiences are family child care professionals and infant and toddler teachers, and continuing education units and/or clock hours are provided (Early Educator Central, n.d.; Penn State Extension, 2017). For more information, visit http://extension.psu.edu/youth/betterkidcare.
The Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Cross-Sector Professional Development Initiative designed a set of professional competencies that outline the knowledge, dispositions, and skills that training and technical assistance professionals need to create positive change. These competencies cover seven areas, each of which includes a detailed definition and guidance for training and technical assistance professionals. The first competency focuses on building relationships, and is defined as follows:
- Honoring the importance of relationship-based learning by engaging in respectful relationships and developing a sense of trust with each individual and organization.
- Demonstrating an individualized and culturally curious approach to each relationship.
- Demonstrating respect for and interest in the unique abilities of others.
- Partnering to identify styles and preferences for learning and communicating.
- Demonstrating empathy and emphasizing strengths to focus on positive change.
- Providing support as needed while maintaining professional boundaries.
- Demonstrating a commitment to shared learning by using strategies that encourage sharing, joint problem-solving, and developing partnerships.
- Remaining aware of the organizational systems that may affect trust, relationships, and individual progress toward meeting goals. (Paulson, Ramminger, Martinovich, Peters, 2014)
For more information, visit http://www.collaboratingpartners.com/documents/WI_TTAP_Competenciesfinal5_1_15.pdf.
Technical Assistance and Coaching
Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Region I States
Research suggests that child care consultation is an effective approach to enhance the quality of early childhood programs. Child care consultation spans a wide range of topics, but there are limited coordinated systems and resources that provide guidance on best practices for successful intervention and support. A Guide to Effective Consultation With Settings Serving Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families: Core Knowledge, Competencies, and Dispositions (2011) outlines the core knowledge, competencies, and dispositions (CKC) that support consultants working in child care settings that serve infants, toddlers, and their families. The guide describes a baseline of proficiency and professional standards on which additional expertise can be built. It was developed by a federal and state collaborative CKC workgroup that included a wide-range of Region I state early childhood experts, staff from Region I Offices of Child Care and Head Start, and six federal technical assistance contractors. The guide expands on Region I’s cross-sector multidisciplinary team training approach that uses the National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative’s Early Childhood Consultant Infant/Toddler Training Modules. The CKC workgroup’s intention is to provide guidance for practitioners, administrators, and consultants working in infant and toddler child care settings in Region I (Office of Child Care, 2011).
Virginia has an Infant and Toddler Specialist Network consisting of 15 specialists who work statewide out of 9 regional offices. They offer three levels of support for programs serving infants and toddlers, including onsite consultation services, such as training, mentorship, and help with implementing quality improvement plans. They also offer group training and technical assistance for infant and toddler caregivers and directors and provide links to professional development opportunities and early childhood resources. Programs can visit the website (http://va-itsnetwork.org) to request onsite services and find information on training programs and scholarship opportunities (Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist Network, 2017).
Early Learning and Development Guidelines
Florida created an integrated system to support the implementation of its revised Early Learning and Developmental Standards. This state created six coordinated early childhood professional networks, including an infant and toddler specialist network that offers coordination and assistance to the local coalitions that administer the child care program. These networks work in partnership to offer conference calls, onsite visits, and monthly webinars that provide training, technical assistance, and resources to professionals who help the infant and toddler workforce implement the Early Learning and Development Standards (Office of Child Care, 2013; Office of Early Learning, 2017).
The Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health developed an endorsement process that includes four categories of endorsement for multidisciplinary infant mental health professionals supporting promotion, prevention, treatment, intervention, and/or consultation. The endorsement process ensures professionals have attained specific levels of education, “participated in specialized in-service trainings, worked with guidance from mentors or supervisors, and acquired knowledge to promote the delivery of high quality, culturally sensitive, relationship focused services to infants, toddlers, parents, other caregivers and families” (Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, 2017). The Association’s website includes information, training opportunities, and resources for parents and infant mental health professionals. For additional information, visit http://mi-aimh.org/.
The California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health developed an endorsement process for I-ECMH practitioners, reflective practice facilitators, and reflective practice mentors. The Center recently released the California Compendium of Training Guidelines, Personnel Competencies, and Professional Endorsement Criteria for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health, which “provides a framework that outlines a coherent foundation of the knowledge and skills necessary to work with very young children and their families with a focus on early relationships and early mental health” (California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health, 2012). The Center’s website lists a variety of services, including training and technical assistance, research and evaluation, and policy and advocacy. It also provides links to I-ECMH resources. For additional information, visit http://cacenter-ecmh.org/wp/.
California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health (2012). California compendium of training guidelines, personnel competencies, and professional endorsement criteria for infant-family and early childhood mental health [web page]. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from http://cacenter-ecmh.org/wp/professional-development/california-compendium-of-training-guidelines-personnel-competencies-and-professional-endorsement-criteria-for-infant-family-and-early-childhood-mental-health/
Early Educator Central. (n.d.). Better kid care [web page]. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from https://earlyeducatorcentral.acf.hhs.gov/courses/better-kid-care
Office of Child Care, Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2011). A guide to effective consultation with settings serving infants, toddlers, and their families: Core knowledge, competencies, and dispositions. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2011_effective_consultation.pdf
Office of Child Care, Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). State and territory infant toddler quality initiatives: Infant toddler community of practice. Retrieved from https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/20130819_itcopqualityscan
Florida Office of Early Learning. (n.d.). Infant/toddler specialist network [web page]. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from http://www.floridaearlylearning.com/providers/provider_resources/infanttoddler_specialist_network.aspx
Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health. (2017). Endorsement overview [web page]. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from http://mi-aimh.org/for-imh-professionals/endorsement/
Paulson, J., Ramminger, A., Martinovich, D., & Peters, M. L. (2014). Wisconsin training and technical assistance professional (T-TAP) competencies: For early childhood and related professionals working with adults. Retrieved from http://www.collaboratingpartners.com/documents/WI_TTAP_Competenciesfinal5_1_15.pdf
Penn State Extension. (n.d.). Better kid care [web page]. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from http://extension.psu.edu/youth/betterkidcare
Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist Network. (n.d.). Our approach [web page]. Retrieved January 9, 2017, from http://va-itsnetwork.org/our%20approach