Millions of Americans live with mental illness. With May just passing as National Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to recognize that prevention and early intervention are the solutions to a healthier, happier life. 1The National Alliance on Mental Illness records 1 in 5 (46.6 million) U.S. adults experience mental illness at least once in their lifetime, and “half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 25, but early intervention programs can help.” 2
One dependable way to intervene and prevent mental illness is recognizing it as early as possible, since even infants and young children can have mental and developmental disorders. 3 Healthy social and emotional development is the foundation for brain development in young children, and high-quality early care and education is a large piece of that development.
With this high-quality child care and education, infants and
toddlers, “who engage with responsive, consistent and nurturing caregivers, are
more likely to have strong emotional health throughout life.” 3
Supports such as T.E.A.C.H., WAGE$ and AWARD$ help child care teachers further
their education and receive additional compensation, allowing them to continue
teaching and caring for our youngest children.
While having happy, educated and stable teachers improves
the quality of care and education a child receives, child care can still be unaffordable
for parents, especially if they have more than one child in need of care. CCSA’s
free child care referral services simplify the child care search, helping parents
focus on what’s truly important for their specific child’s needs without worrying
about another expense. “Ensuring all families
have access to affordable, high-quality child care can help mitigate some of
the impacts of poverty and prepare children for success in school and beyond.” 4
However, even with affordable and positive early childhood
experiences and stable educators, mental health and developmental delays can be
seen as early as infancy. 3
“Children can show clear characteristics of
anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder,
depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and neurodevelopmental disabilities,
such as autism, at a very early age. That said, young children respond to
and process emotional experiences and traumatic events in ways that are very
different from adults and older children. Consequently, diagnosis in early
childhood can be much more difficult than it is in adults.” 5
It is important to identify and treat mental health
disorders as early as possible to reduce impairment, suffering and effects on
overall health and development. 3
However, it can be difficult to identify mental health illness in young
children, and parents may turn to their child’s doctors or teachers for
guidance. “If properly identified using diagnostic criteria relevant to infant
and early childhood development and experiences, many of these challenges can
be effectively treated.” 3
“It is clear that state agencies [also] must attend to the
mental health needs of infants and young children if they want to improve
health and developmental outcomes, prevent impairment due to early adversity,
provide trauma-informed care, and ultimately, see better returns on investment.
Adopting an age-appropriate diagnosis and treatment is a significant step
toward assuring better overall health for infants, young children, and their
and the teachers who educate and nurture our youngest.
Week of the Young Child is an annual week-long celebration with themed days hosted by NAEYC to spotlight early learning, young children, their teachers, families and communities. The themes are “Music Monday,” “Tasty Tuesday,” “Work Together Wednesday,” “Artsy Thursday” and “Family Friday.”
For “Artsy Thursday,” Mati Vassallo,
Family Support Bilingual Referral Counselor, visited Chapel Hill Cooperative
Preschool where Kathryn, a 2-3 year old teacher, and Silva, a 3-5 year old
teacher, shared how they celebrate through an annual children’s art show. They
invited families, friends and the community to celebrate and explore the
children’s creative expression.
“This art show is a celebration and a
great example of the work we do here at the preschool. It aligns with our
philosophy of celebrating each individual child, exploring their strengths and
abilities and bringing out their best work,” said Kathryn.
“It’s not only a time…to celebrate the
richness of the children’s work and their creations, but it’s also really a
time to celebrate art and to celebrate community. It goes so much beyond just
the artistic creations in the way that it draws us and everyone together…That
is something we really enjoy and love to do,” said Silva.
For “Family Friday”, Katie Thayer, UNC
intern and Family Engagement Counselor, visited Director Ada Terry and Lead
Teacher Crystal Boycher in the Durham PreK classroom at Childcare Network #57 to discuss their family
engagement strategies. In addition to having a School Improvement Team and
Parent Advisory Board, they send out daily newsletters, invite parents to
volunteer, provide resources to families and host celebrations for their
families and children.
Crystal’s favorite family engagement
activity at Childcare Network #57 is asking the parents to help with school
improvement plans, such as redoing the playground and painting the fence. “We
also invite parents out to visit the classroom. For Week of the Young Child, we
are doing an ice cream social on Friday,” said Crystal.
Save the date for next year’s Week of the Young Child April 13-17.
Written by Jennifer Gioia, CCSA Communications Manager
Last Friday, April 5, 2019, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) celebrated 45 years of service at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in RTP with a dinner, a silent auction and an award ceremony. While the rain poured, more than 200 people celebrated with CCSA. Many special guests joined, including:
The Honorable Governor James Hunt and Carolyn Hunt;
Susan Perry-Manning, principal deputy secretary of NCDHHS;
Durham County Commissioners: Wendy Jacobs, Heidi Carter,
James Hill and Brenda Howerton;
Representatives Verla Insko from Orange County and MaryAnn
Black from Durham County;
Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for U.S.
Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame
Janet Singerman, president, Child Care Resources Inc.;
Michele Rivest, policy director, North Carolina Early
Cindy Watkins, president, North Carolina Partnership for
Representatives from Orange County Partnership for Children;
Beth Messersmith from North Carolina MomsRising;
Becki Planchard from NCDHHS;
Gerry Cobb, Director of the Pritzker Children’s Initiative;
Robin Britt, executive director of Guilford Child
Development (GCD) and this year’s winner of the James and Carolyn Hunt Early
Childhood Leadership award;
And the Honorary Committee members who helped us launch
We were thrilled to have Julie Wilson, ABC11 WTVD Eyewitness News’ Breaking News Anchor, host the celebration.
During the reception, many people mingled and placed bids on a variety of exciting items in our silent auction from local politicians to early childhood education teachers and directors to early childhood education industry leaders and experts.
Peggy Ball, chair of CCSA’s Board of Directors, spoke
briefly before Reverend Dr. Michael Page, who
also sits on CCSA’s board, delivered an inspiring invocation before dinner.
After dinner, Susan Perry-Manning, principal deputy secretary of NCDHHS, spoke on behalf of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Perry-Manning congratulated Britt as the winner of the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership Award and thanked many in the room for inspiring her, including former Gov. Hunt for his leadership, dedication and commitment to improving the quality of child care and education in North Carolina and across the country.
Terry David, president of the North Carolina Head Start Association and Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project (CHTOP), Silver sponsor of the night, presented Britt with a certificate on behalf of the North Carolina Head Start Association for his years of dedicated service to improving the lives of so many children.
Sue Russell, CCSA’s first president and current executive director of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center, spoke about Gov. Hunt’s decades of leadership and service, including his four historic terms as governor of North Carolina, his efforts to improve North Carolina public schools’ test scores, the establishment of the Smart Start program during his tenure, and many awards recognizing his focus on early childhood education.
Gov. Hunt emphasized how important the work of early childhood educators is for young children and their families and educators. Throughout his years, he’s seen with compassion and conviction, we can bring change to improve the lives of many and continue to expand our services so every child has access to high quality, affordable child care—that it is a child’s right to a high quality education. “Helping the little children is the best thing we can do for them and for our future,” Gov. Hunt said.
Gov. Hunt presented the James and Carolyn Hunt Early Childhood Leadership Award to Britt. CCSA established the award in 1995 to honor North Carolinians who make a difference in the lives of young children in the state. It was named in honor of Gov. and Mrs. Hunt for their years of dedication and service. He also recognized five of the 13 previous award recipients in attendance: Peggy Ball, Dick Clifford, Carolyn Cobb, Michele Rivest and Karen Ponder.
Gov. Hunt spoke
about how he met Britt during his second term as governor while Britt served in
the House of Representatives. He lauded Britt for his leadership,
integrity, and care for North Carolina’s children.
Finally, CCSA President Marsha Basloe, spoke.
“I have only been at the helm of CCSA for a little more than a year,” she said, “and although in Durham for many years and an SS partner with CCSA, I now truly have learned of its programs, its passion and its people. All three go hand in hand…CCSA conceives, studies, experiments, implements and tests until we arrive at models worthy of system change. Now we know…there is no excuse for not providing high quality experiences for children.”
Basloe closed the evening by looking
toward the future.
“We need to focus on improving the experiences being
provided to our infants and toddlers,” she said. “We need to strive for our
teachers to be adequately compensated for the work that they do—teachers need
to receive a fair rate for the quality they provide regardless where they teach—and
we need to make sure the support systems we have built for so many years
remains in place to support all of these endeavors.”
wouldn’t be what it is today without the leadership and dedication of our
staff, our first president, Sue Russell, our second president, Anna Carter, and
our dedicated leadership team of vice presidents and Board of Directors.
We would not have been able to celebrate 45 years without
our generous sponsors. Our sincere thanks to:
Chapel Hill Training Outreach Project,
Triangle Community Foundation,
Blackman & Sloop,
The Cemala Foundation,
Kaplan Early Learning Company,
White Rock Child Development,
Liz Winer and
an anonymous donor.
Thank you as well to our wonderful table sponsors for their
Community School for
People Under Six,
East Durham Children’s
Frank Porter Graham
Child Development Institute,
North Carolina Early
Partnership for Young Children and
Wake County Smart
Thank you also to everyone who donated a silent auction item, to everyone who came out on a rainy Friday night to celebrate 45 years of service at CCSA and to everyone who helped, in some way, to improve the lives of North Carolina’s youngest children, their families and early childhood educators.
Here’s to another 45 years of Child Care Services
Jennifer Lacewell is the director of White Rock Child Development Center in Durham, NC. She is a recent master’s graduate thanks to CCSA’s T.E.A.C.H. NC Early Childhood Scholarship program, and as of March 2019, one of the newly chosen sites for the Durham PreK pipeline project. See her celebrate 45 years with CCSA this April 5th!
Learn more about CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration here.
In celebration of 45 years, this March, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) will be sharing videos from early childhood care and education industry experts. Florianna Thompson is an instructor and Wake Tech and Adjunct Instructor at Durham Tech. Hear her story about how CCSA’s 45 years of service has helped her come full circle thanks to CCSA’s T.E.A.C.H. NC program.
Learn more about CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration here.
In celebration of 45 years, this March, Child Care Services Association (CCSA) will be sharing videos from early childhood care and education industry experts. Our third video focuses on CCSA’s impact over these past 45 years on NC’s workforce, children and families as told by Anna Carter, the second president of CCSA.
Learn more about CCSA’s 45th Anniversary Celebration here.
2019 is an exciting year for CCSA as we’re celebrating 45 years of service! Before the big celebration April 5th, read the newest edition of CCSA Communicates, our quarterly newsletter that details what we have been up to on behalf of our youngest children.