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Welcome Child Care Health Consultant!

The NC Child Care Health Consultant (CCHC) Orientation Guide is designed to orient you to your new role as a CCHC. Before starting the NC CCHC Course, this document, along with a CCHC Coach, will provides the information and activities needed to begin work. As you read the document and work through the activities, note any questions you have. Reach out to your CCHC Coach, the NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center, or your funding or hiring agency for more information.


What is a Child Care Health Consultant?

A CCHC is a health professional with education and experience in child and community health and early care and education (ECE). Health professionals become active CCHCs in North Carolina upon successful completion of the NC CCHC Course.

What do CCHCs do?

CCHCs work to improve the quality of early care and education programs by promoting healthy and safe indoor and outdoor learning environments for children in child care. CCHCs collaborate with child care facility staff including directors, operators, and early educators, other technical assistance (TA) providers, health professionals, and families to achieve this goal.

Child care health consultation involves assessment of early care and education environments and practices, joint development of a quality improvement plan, implementation of strategies to increase healthy and safe outcomes, and evaluation of the effectiveness of these strategies. The strategies that CCHCs recommend often involve providing health and safety-related training and technical assistance (TA) including coaching and consultation.

CCHCs use the following references to guide their training and technical assistance:

  • Federal and state laws and rules
  • Best practices from Caring for Our Children
  • Expertise from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other leading sources
  • Environment Rating Scales

What is the CCHC Service Model and Standards of Practice?

The CCHC Service Model defines child care health consultation in NC. It was updated in 2020 to incorporate the CCHC National Competencies. Every CCHC in NC should use the CCHC Service Model to set priorities and assure alignment of goals.

In addition to the Service Model, CCHCs are required to meet the Standards of Practice to be considered active. CCHCs attest to meeting the CCHC Standards of Practice on the CCHC survey that is distributed annually in January. Active CCHCs maintain access to all of the NC Resource Center’s CCHC resources, receive coaching support from an NC CCHC Coach, are listed as active on the NC CCHC website, and have access to the NC Health and Safety Assessment Tool.

☐ Review the CCHC Service Model in the CCHC Program Manual.

☐ Review the CCHC Competencies.

☐ Review the CCHC Standards of Practice in the CCHC Program Manual.

☐ Share the NC CCHC Service Model and Standards of Practice with your supervisor.

The NC Resource Center provides health and safety expertise and professional support to CCHCs upon hire, throughout the NC CCHC Course, and as long as they maintain their status as an active CCHC.

  • The NC Resource Center’s main office location: 5601 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC 27609
  • Phone number: 1-800-367-2229 (chose 1 then 2)
  • Website: healthychildcare.unc.edu

☐ Familiarize yourself with the healthychildcare.unc.edu website.

☐ Familiarize yourself with the Our Staff page.


Child Care Health Consultant (CCHC) Coaches

CCHC Coaches provide the following to both new and experienced CCHCs:

  • Orientation to CCHC practice
  • Competency support before, during, and after the NC CCHC Course
  • Ongoing consultation/coaching guidance in the implementation of services
  • Support in using the NC Health and Safety Assessment and Encounter Tool
  • Webinars and other regular communication
  • Goal setting for local impact and program development such as logic model and/or deliverables.

Coaches also support and develop strategies to expand the CCHC network by working with local health departments, partnerships for children, and other agencies that provide support to child care facilities, to advocate for child care health consultation. Coaches offer support for hiring and funding agencies including:

  • Guidance to hiring and funding agencies on recruiting and hiring
  • Oversight in CCHC model fidelity during planning for and in reporting of contract deliverables.

☐ Contact your CCHC Coach to set up an orientation meeting.

☐ Meet with an Infant/Toddler CCHC


NC Resource Center CCHCs

The NC Resource Center employs both Regional and Infant/Toddler CCHCs. Regional CCHCs provide CCHC services to counties that do not have local CCHC services. Infant/Toddler CCHCs provide Infant/toddler specific support and guidance to all counties.

☐ Review the Infant/Toddler CCHC page and set up a meeting.

☐ Review the Regional CCHC page.


CCHC Resources

The CCHC Resources page includes access to the CCHC Resource Portal, CCHC Program Manual, CCHC Event Calendar, and links to additional training materials.

CCHC Resource Portal

The Resource Portal is accessible to Active CCHCs and contains:

  • Announcements
  • Helpful links including a link to book a coaching appointment
  • Weekly news
  • CCHC numbers
  • Community of Practice Forum
  • CCHC Resource Library – continuously updated with new information and resources
  • Information about the NC Health and Safety Assessment and Encounter Tool (NCHSAET)
  • CCHC training materials and archived CCHC training materials
  • Professional development resources designed for CCHCs
  • DCDEE data and resources

Coaches work with new CCHC’s throughout the orientation process and provide access to this portal.

CCHC Program Manual

This page is for CCHC’s/hiring/funding agencies. It contains:

  • Porgram resources and guidance for agencies and supervisors.
  • Guidance for CCHCs
  • Additional Reference Materials

CCHC Event Calendar

Find learning opportunities such as CCHC Learning Collaboratives, NC HSAET Office Hours, Quarterly Webinars for CCHC’s and supervisors. Throughout the year learning opportunities from other organizations that support Early Educators are also posted here.

Additional NC Resource Center Courses and Trainings

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response in Child Care
  • Infant/Toddler Safe Sleep and SIDS Risk Reduction in Child Care (ITS-SIDS)

CCHC Program Manual

CCHC Event Calendar

☐ Discuss with your CCHC Coach gaining access to the CCHC Resource Portal


The NC CCHC Course

The NC CCHC Course prepares child care health consultants to work with child care facilities in promoting healthy and safe environments. Completing the course is a requirement for working as an Active CCHC in NC. The Course spans approximately 12 weeks. It includes weekly zoom meetings, distance learning/self-study, one in-person session towards the end of the course (usually held in Raleigh), and a final project. The course is typically held two times a year. The Course includes pre-requisite reading. Reviewing the documents included below will ensure you are fully prepared to start the course.

☐ Contact Lindsey Pertet for an application to enroll in the NC CCHC Course.

☐ Begin reviewing the following:

    1. CCHC Competencies
    2. CCHCs Make Early Care and Education Programs Healthier and Safer
    3. Caring for Our Children (CFOC) National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs.

 For North Carolina participants:

    1. NC CCHC Service Model
    2. Module 1-5, Introduction to Public Health in North Carolina (total – 105 minutes)
    3. North Carolina Child Care Regulations including General Statutes, Child Care Rules, Sanitation of Child Care Centers.

Participants not from North Carolina must identify child care rules and laws in their home state.


The NC Health and Safety Assessment and Encounter Tool (NC HSAET)

NC HSAET is a web-based assessment and encounter tool developed by the NC Resource Center for use by active CCHCs in North Carolina. The tool is used by CCHCs to collect and store data on:

  • encounters with child care facilities and community partners including trainings and meetings
  • assessments of the health and safety aspects of child care environments and practices
  • quality improvement strategies

The sections of the NC HSAET align with the CCHC National Competencies:

  • Illness and infectious diseases
  • Physical Activity
  • Children with special health care needs
  • Nutrition
  • Medication administration
  • Oral health
  • Safety and injury prevention
  • Environmental health
  • Emergency preparedness, response, and recovery
  • Staff health and wellness
  • Infant and child social and emotional wellbeing
  • Policies
  • Child abuse and neglect

CCHCs will receive training for the NC HSAET in the NC CCHC Course. CCHC Coaches will help with incorporating this tool into the work of CCHCs. A CCHC can access the encounters portion of the NC HSAET prior to becoming an active CCHC. Contact the regional CCHC coach for guidance.

Read about the NC HSAET in the NC CCHC Resource Library in the CCHC Resource Portal.

☐ A CCHC and supervisor must complete a new user form for the CCHC to access the tool.

☐ For questions about the tool, email the NC Resource Center: NCHSAET@unc.edu.

The NC Child Care Health Consultant Association

The NC CCHCA, created in 2000, is a membership association of CCHCs. Members share ideas and resources, assist in solving problems and concerns, and offer collaboration and support to CCHCs across the state. The CCHC Association has a CCHC chair, vice-chair, treasurer, and secretary who support an executive committee which meets monthly. The CCHCA is divided into three regions, west, central, and east. The regions hold quarterly meetings organized by a regional representative.

Membership in the CCHC Association is renewed annually. In addition to being better connected to your CCHC peers, the benefits of membership include:

  • Access to attend quarterly regional meetings
  • Ability to serve as an officer or on a committee

☐ Become a member and get involved – visit the CCHC Association website for more information.

The NC Partnership for Children

The NC Partnership for Children (NCPC) supports local Partnerships for Children (PFC) throughout the state to ensure that young children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to succeed. NCPC provides funding to 75 Local PFCs that work in all 100 North Carolina counties. Local PFCs provide a variety of services for children birth to five years old and their families including high quality child care and health and family support services. Local PFCs determine the best approach to meet the needs in their communities. This includes determining which services to fund such as child care health consultation.

Plan to meet with the Local PFC staff, including the Executive Director. You will want to be familiar with the services they offer in the community and identify how you can collaborate. Local PFC technical assistance staff help early care and education programs, and early educators develop and sustain quality child care programs. They may offer support with nutrition and physical activity, behavior, or more generalized support.

If your CCHC position is Smart Start funded, you may be a:

  • Local Partnership for Children employee or
  • Local health department or other community agency employee

Work with your supervisor and coach to develop or review a Logic Model that includes a statement of need, identification of a target population, description of program or activity elements, outputs, and outcomes.

☐ Visit the Smart Start website www.smartstart.org to learn more and identify your Local PFC.

☐ Review the sample Logic Model in the CCHC Program Manual.

☐ Discuss developing a logic model with your CCHC Coach.

The NC Division of Child and Family Well-Being

The Division of Child and Family Well-Being (DCFW) brings together complementary programs within NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to support North Carolina’s children growing up safe, healthy, and thriving in nurturing and resilient families and communities. DCFW includes the following sections:

  • Food and Nutrition Services
  • Community Nutrition Services
  • Whole Child Health, including Child Behavioral Health and Children and Youth programs
  • Early Intervention

DCFW supports child care health consultation in NC directly through the role of the State Child Care Nurse Consultant, who works in the Whole Child Health Section:

  • serving as a CCHC Coach
  • promoting child care health consultation by establishing and maintaining links between CCHCs, NC DHHS, community organizations, and professional associations.

The NC Division of Child Development and Early Education

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is responsible for:

  • Assuring education/training requirements of early educators and administrators (Workforce Education Unit).
  • Increasing access to child care for low-income families (Subsidized Child Care Program) by providing financial assistance through child care subsidies for eligible families.
  • Regulation of any child care facility in NC where a person is caring for more than two children who are unrelated to them for more than 4 hours per day, with some exemptions such as summer programs, drop-in care, and military bases.

DCDEE Child Care (Licensing) Consultants

Child Care Consultants (CCCs) are part of the DCDEE Regulatory Team and are required to visit all licensed child care facilities. CCCs ensure compliance with child care regulations, including health and safety standards. Consultants also investigate complaints related to child care requirements and alleged child maltreatment.

☐ Review the list of Child Care (Licensing) Consultants in the Resource Portal.

☐ Attend a pre-licensing workshop.

The NC Rated License Assessment Project (NCRLAP)

The NCRLAP was established to define the quality of child care in the state and to assist parents in choosing child care. It does this by assigning a star rating to licensed child care facilities in NC. Facilities that meet the minimum standards set by the DCDEE receive a one-star license but can earn up to five stars. As part of the NC CCHC Course, you will visit a child care facility and learn from an NCRLAP assessor about the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale.

☐ Watch this video about the star rated licensing assessment process.

Note that the video “child care consultant” refers to the licensing child care consultant, not the CCHC.

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R)

CCR&R agencies provide:

  • consumer education on quality child care to families who are searching for child care programs for their children including details about quality and information on availability.
  • services to improve quality in child care programs through technical assistance and the provision of professional development activities.
  • and collect data to use for planning and policy development for the public and private sectors.

North Carolina has 14 CCR&R regions. Each region is overseen by a regional CCR&R lead agency. As a CCHC, you may interact with CCR&R staff such as

  • Birth-to-Three Specialists
  • Healthy Social Behavior Specialists
  • School Aged Specialists
  • Other technical assistance providers providing core services

☐ Search for your local CCR&R contact through the statewide directory.

☐ Review Resources for Families with Young Children in North Carolina.

Local Health Departments

Many CCHCs in North Carolina are employed at a local health department. As a health department employee, you must be familiar with health department policies, procedures, and requirements such as training and documentation. Regardless of the hiring agency, CCHCs should work closely with the health department staff in their county.

Health department partners:

  • Health Director
  • Children’s Environmental Health/Sanitation Specialist
  • Communicable Disease Coordinator
  • Immunization Coordinator
  • Child Health Nurse
  • School Nurses
  • Health Educators
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

☐ Identify the Local Health Department(s) in your area.

For advanced learning on public health, the following resources each contain collections of training resources.  Work with your CCHC Coach who can help you identify which ones might be most useful.

Community College: EDU-153 – Health, Safety and Nutrition 

This course covers promoting and maintaining the health and well-being of every child. Topics include health and nutritional guidelines, common childhood illnesses, maintaining safe and healthy learning environments, health benefits of active play, recognition and reporting of abuse/neglect, and state regulations. Upon completion, students should be able to apply knowledge of NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development for health, safety, nutritional needs, and safe learning environments.

Once you have successfully completed the NC CCHC Course you are ready to get started. Start getting to know to neighboring CCHCs, your supervisor, colleagues, and other community partners to gain more knowledge about your role and your local community. Think about how to introduce yourself to the child care facilities that you will be serving. You may want to use a flyer that describes the CCHC services in your county and provides your contact information. You will have an opportunity to create a flyer in the NC CCHC Course. If you complete this document before starting the NC CCHC Course, your CCHC Coach can provide additional activities to get started on.