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What It Is

Implemented in July 2000, Healthy Start in Child Care is a Kids NOW Initiative to provide consultation on health, safety and nutrition to child care providers. Trained Healthy Start child care consultants from the local health departments participate in joint activities with the resource and referral agencies in their areas to ensure collaboration and coordination regarding health, safety and nutrition issues impacting the quality of child care.

The population to be impacted by Healthy Start in Child Care includes the children and their families receiving out-of-home childcare. During the first five years, children of full-time working parents may spend more time in out-of-home childcare facilities than the total hours spent in school from kindergarten to high school. This makes it critical to use this window of opportunity to provide accurate health, safety and nutrition information to parents and child care providers.

Goals of CCHC

  • To promote and protect the health and safety of children in and out of home child care.
  • To promote collaboration and coordination with the child care resource and referral agencies and others with responsibilities for child care.


Person with a bachelor of arts or science degree from an accredited college or university; registered nurse; or public health administrator


  • Healthy Start in Child Care consultants are required to complete an intensive training based on the standardized curriculum of the National Institute for Child Care Health Consultants, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Mental Health in Child Care training is required and designed to assist the Healthy Start in Child Care consultant identify risks and act to protect young children’s social/emotional health and provide recommended strategies.

Service Activity


Outreach includes activities to promote awareness of the program among child care providers and early childhood partners and may involve the use of newsletters, newspaper advertisements and first contact with an enrolled provider


Participants confer to make decisions and plans to improve child care services specific to health, safety and nutrition. Services can be provided by telephone or on-site.


Follow-up is required for playground safety consultation with identified hazards


Services involve local health department, community mental health center, private psychologist, FRYSC, private M.D., social agency, First Steps and others


Involves groups working together toward the common goal of quality child care


This is an effort to provide education/information to child care providers, parents and children on health, safety and nutrition