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Child Care Emergency Preparedness Outreach

State: MN Type: Model Practice Year: 2018

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Dakota County Public Health
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Child Care Emergency Preparedness Outreach
The Dakota County Public Health Department serves the estimated 417,486 residents of Dakota County in Minnesota. Dakota County is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region, and it is the third most populous county in the state. Children under 18 are the largest age group and make up almost 25% of the population. Dakota County has approximately 560 active licensed in-home child care providers. These providers have the responsibility to care for and protect the children in their care. This responsibility is especially important during an emergency or disaster situation. For this reason, Dakota County Public Health Emergency Preparedness staff identified child care providers as a target population for emergency preparedness education and outreach. Additionally, in the summer of 2017, Minnesota's state legislature passed a law that requires licensed in-home child care providers to complete a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan. The implementation date for these plans has been designated as January 1, 2018, and providers will have until the end of 2018 to complete their plans. The Dakota County website is https://www.co.dakota.mn.us/. The goals of the Child Care Emergency Preparedness Outreach Program are to improve Dakota County child care providers' understanding of emergency preparedness practices and to ensure that providers are in compliance with new Minnesota regulations requiring an emergency preparedness plan. To accomplish these goals Dakota County Public Health Emergency Preparedness staff and Dakota County Social Service Child Care Licensing staff coordinated to develop two trainings: - Child Care Preparedness, which is a comprehensive overview of emergency preparedness for child care providers - Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers, which gives specific guidance for completing a child care emergency preparedness plan. Our objective was to reach at least 75 child care providers with the Child Care Preparedness training and an additional 75 providers with the Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers in the first year they were offered. Both trainings were developed through collaboration between Public Health Emergency Preparedness staff and Dakota County Social Services Child Care Licensing staff. The Child Care Preparedness training was offered twice on weekday evenings in March and April 2017. The trainings were given by Emergency Preparedness staff, and Child Care Licensing staff were also available to answer questions. Each training event also included a short presentation from Dakota County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) staff to promote breastfeeding friendly practices in child care settings. The Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers training was developed as part of an ongoing Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Challenge Award Project. It is based on the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MN DHS) Keeping Kids Safe” guide and emergency preparedness plan template. Minnesota child care providers are now required to complete the emergency plan template due to new legislation recently passed by the state. The Emergency Preparedness Planning trainings were designed for small groups of child care providers (maximum 12) and include participation from Dakota County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers to provide guidance to providers while they complete their emergency plans. Each training begins with an overview of the MN DHS emergency plan template given by Emergency Preparedness staff, and then providers are given time to work on their plans with one Emergency Preparedness staff member and one to two MRC volunteers on hand to answer questions and provide guidance. Funds received from the MRC Challenge Award were used to give each provider an emergency preparedness starter kit including a weather radio, a flashlight, a first aid kit, an emergency blanket, and a whistle. Six Emergency Preparedness Planning trainings have been conducted on weekday evenings and Saturdays and more are planned before the end of the Challenge Award Project in March 2018. Child Care Preparedness training outcomes: - Forty-nine providers attended the March 2017 training - Fifty (additional) providers attended the April 2017 training Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers outcomes: - Forty-six providers have attended six trainings between June and December 2017 - Four Dakota County MRC volunteers have assisted with the trainings Collaboration with Social Service Child Care Licensing staff and Medical Reserve Corps volunteers was crucial for developing and executing successful trainings. Improving the in-home child care providers' understanding of emergency preparedness practices has led to the increased safety and wellbeing of the children in their care.
The 560 active licensed in-home child care providers in Dakota County have the responsibility of caring for and protecting the children in their care. This responsibility is especially important during emergencies and disasters. Emergency preparedness training and planning are crucial for making sure that providers have the knowledge and tools they need to ensure the safety of the children in their care. In the past neither Dakota County Public Health nor Social Services offered emergency preparedness trainings targeted at in-home child care providers, and to our knowledge, no other LDHs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro have offered this type of training either. Therefore these newly developed trainings fill a gap and help to improve community preparedness in Dakota County. Minnesota child care providers are also faced with the new requirement of having to create an emergency preparedness plan. Creating a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan is an entirely new process for the majority of providers in Dakota County, so Emergency Preparedness and Child Care Licensing staff felt it was important to help providers create plans that are based on best practices, meet their needs, and fulfill the new requirement. At this point we have reached 26% percent of active in-home providers in Dakota County through the Child Care Preparedness training and the Emergency Preparedness Planning training. We intend for this number to increase as more Emergency Preparedness Planning events are offered in 2018. The Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers training is a new and innovative practice because of the collaboration between Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Social Services Licensing and the use of MRC volunteers to provide assistance during the trainings. It provides an opportunity to keep MRC volunteers engaged and involved in a meaningful way with public health and emergency preparedness. This training is also serving as a model in our state as we have led the way in providing this training and were proactive in its implementation. We developed and started offering trainings before the legislation requiring emergency plans for providers was passed, so we are now well positioned to meet the needs of the child care provider community during 2018 and help them fulfill the requirements.
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The goals of the Child Care Emergency Preparedness Outreach Program are to improve Dakota County child care providers' understanding of emergency preparedness practices and to ensure that providers are in compliance with new Minnesota regulations requiring an emergency preparedness plan. To accomplish these goals Dakota County Public Health Emergency Preparedness staff and Social Service Child Care Licensing staff coordinated to develop two trainings: Child Care Preparedness, which is a comprehensive overview of emergency preparedness for child care providers, and Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers, which gives specific guidance for completing a child care emergency preparedness plan. Our objective was to reach at least 75 child care providers with the Child Care Preparedness training and an additional 75 providers with the Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers in the first year they were offered. Both trainings were developed through collaboration between Public Health Emergency Preparedness staff and Social Services Child Care Licensing staff, and meetings between Emergency Preparedness and Child Care Licensing staff were crucial for developing the concept and content of the trainings. During the planning process for the Child Care Preparedness training, we were fortunate to receive an opportunity to pilot a shortened version of the training as part of a breastfeeding training for child care providers. This opportunity was very helpful for refining the training content and assessing how it was received by providers. The Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers training benefited greatly from the participation of MRC volunteers to assist with the trainings and help to answer provider questions. Four MRC volunteers offered to help during one or more of the trainings. Each volunteer went through one hour of training with the Dakota County MRC Coordinator to learn about the emergency plan template and their role in the training for providers. Each Emergency Preparedness Planning training begins with an overview of the MN DHS emergency plan template given by Emergency Preparedness staff, and then providers are given time to work on their plans with one Emergency Preparedness staff member and one to two MRC volunteers on hand to answer questions and provide guidance. Details and sign-up information for every training were sent to all active licensed in-home child care providers in Dakota County by the Child Care Licensing staff using their email list. Child Care Preparedness did not have a class size limit, but the Emergency Preparedness Planning trainings were limited to a maximum of 12 providers because of space limitations and to ensure that each provider could receive individualized guidance while completing their plan. Dakota County Public Health received a MRC Challenge Award from NACCHO for the Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers project. A budget of $6527.70 was submitted for the purchasing of starter emergency preparedness kits for providers. Each kit included a drawstring bag, a first aid kit, a flashlight, an emergency blanket, a whistle, and a weather radio. The total cost for each kit was $41.45. While funding for the emergency kits was very welcome and a benefit to providers, the training was designed so that it could be conducted without ongoing funding. Once funding and kits are no longer available, it will still be possible to offer trainings without them. The cost for staff time has not been calculated for the Child Care Preparedness training nor the Emergency Preparedness Planning training. However, the use of volunteer support during the Emergency Preparedness Planning trainings has helped to minimize that county staff needed to attend each training.
Our objectives were to reach at least 75 child care providers with the Child Care Preparedness training and to also reach 75 providers with the Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers in the first year they were offered. We met our objective for the Child Care Preparedness training by reaching 99 providers over two trainings held in March and April 2017. Providers who attended were asked to complete a short written evaluation at the end of the training. The evaluations were anonymous and collected by Emergency Preparedness staff who conducted the trainings. The evaluations included two multiple choice questions and one open-ended comment question: 1. Overall how would you rate the training? a. Excellent b. Good c. Satisfactory d. Fair e. Poor 2. Are there any areas of the training you would have liked to learn more about? a. Emergency preparedness requirements and recommendations for providers b. Building a kit c. Making a plan d. Staying informed and communicating during an emergency e. Helping children cope and recover f. Disaster scenario discussion g. Emergency preparedness resources h. Other 3. Do you have any suggestions or comments to help us improve future trainings? Overall, 79 providers completed evaluations (80%). Of the 79 providers who responded to the survey, 88% rated the training as excellent or good. Ten percent rated it as satisfactory and 3% as fair. When asked about information they would like to learn more about, 13% of respondents said making a plan, 13% said staying informed and communicating during an emergency, 13% said helping children cope and recover, 10% said building a kit, 8% said emergency preparedness requirements and recommendations for providers, 8% said disaster scenario discussion, and 3% said emergency preparedness resources. One respondent responded with other and suggested to add making a plan” information to handbook or handouts. Respondent comments for improving future trainings included a suggestion to provide tables for attendees and to include more handouts so attendees can follow along more easily. As a result of these suggestions more resources were emailed to training attendees as a follow-up to the training, and greater consideration was given to room size and layout for future trainings. We have reached 46 providers at the Emergency Preparedness Planning trainings held between June to December 2017 and are continuing to hold trainings to meet our goal of 75 providers in the first year of this program. Training attendance ranged from 3 to 12 providers (12 was maximum allowed due to space constraints and desire to give individualized attention to each provider). Providers were asked to indicate how many children they have in their care. The average number of children cared for by each provider is 10, and overall the 46 providers who attended care for approximately 436 children. All attendees were asked to complete an anonymous written evaluation at the end of the training. The evaluations included two multiple choice questions and one open-ended comment question: 1. Overall how would you rate the training? a. Excellent b. Good c. Satisfactory d. Fair e. Poor 2. Do you feel you have the information necessary to complete your emergency preparedness plan? a. Yes b. No Comments: 3. Do you have any suggestions or comments to help us improve future trainings? Overall 32 providers responded to the evaluation (70%). Thirty-two (100%) of respondents rated the training as good or excellent. No respondents selected satisfactory, fair, or poor. All 32 respondents (100%) said they felt they had the information necessary to complete their plans. Two respondents commented that the sample emergency plan provided during the training was very helpful; Emergency Preparedness staff created an example plan in response to a suggestion from a provider that an example plan would be a helpful resource. Other suggestions for improving future trainings also included adding scenarios because they can trigger thought and providing a checklist of what exactly is required for licensing (when that information becomes available from the State). As a result of these suggestions, anecdotes from child care providers' emergency experiences were added to the training and attendees were welcomed to share their own experiences and Emergency Preparedness staff continued to communicate with Child Care Licensing staff as more information about new licensing requirements became available.
Collaboration among Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Social Services Child Care Licensing, and Dakota County Medical Reserve Corps volunteers was crucial for the success of the child care provider trainings. Through this collaboration we learned of the enormous benefit that can come from reaching out beyond your LHD to get expertise, input, and support. Frequent communication and face-to-face meetings with partners were very helpful in developing and executing the trainings. There was a benefit to having all stakeholders be part of Dakota County because all of the partners have same commitment to serve Dakota County residents. We are still conducting Emergency Preparedness Planning trainings as part of the MRC Challenge Award project that ends in March 2018. At the end of the project period we are planning to reevaluate both the Child Care Preparedness training and the Emergency Preparedness Planning for Child Care Providers to determine if and how they can be sustained and what the structure should be for future child care emergency preparedness trainings. We will consult with the Social Service Child Care Licensing staff about the ongoing need for trainings for providers and how often they should be offered in future and if content needs to be changed. MRC volunteers will also be consulted to discuss their interest in future participation and to consider the option of training a number of volunteers to take the lead during child care trainings. Training MRC volunteers to take the lead would have the double benefit of encouraging volunteer engagement and cutting back on necessary staff time. Overall we feel that some sort of ongoing emergency preparedness training would be beneficial to Dakota County child care providers and community preparedness in general.
Colleague in my LHD|E-Mail from NACCHO
 
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