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Keywords:

  • child care;
  • child-care health consultants;
  • healthy child care;
  • public health nurses

Abstract  This study surveyed health and safety needs of child-care programs; examined the perceptions of directors, the person identified as being responsible for a program, concerning health consultation; and determined how directors would secure funds to pay for consultative services. The survey was conducted in a state without mandates for child-care health consultation and minimal access to consultants. The researchers designed and pilot-tested a Child Care Health and Safety Survey. Working with a task group of statewide child health experts, the researchers revised the survey and mailed it to a random sample of child-care programs. Twenty-two Head Start Programs, 122 licensed child-care centers, and 116 family child-care homes participated, representing a return rate of 73, 36, and 30%, respectively. The majority of programs expressed interest in child-care health consultation offered for free or fee-based. Directors identified reasonable means of obtaining funds to support consultation. All programs had needs related to supporting health practices in their settings, provision of health services for staff, and health screening for children. Public health nurses, specially trained to advise child care, are well positioned to offer consultation. Systems of health consultation may be accepted as fee-for-service arrangements, supporting sustainability.