Choose and Use Guide for Finding Social-Emotional Programs for Parents

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are increasingly involved in efforts to assist adult family members in gaining parenting skills that can both promote positive social-emotional development and prevent challenging behaviors. In recent years, a number of formal parenting curricula have been developed and researched. We have identified five such programs with promising effects.

Authorized Persons to Pick Up Child

Children may only be released to adults authorized by parents or legal guardians whose identity has been verified by photo identification. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of persons authorized to pick up child should be obtained during the enrollment process and regularly reviewed, along with clarification/documentation of any custody issues/court orders. The legal guardian(s) of the child should be established and documented at this time.

Strangulation Hazards

Strings and cords long enough to encircle a child's neck, such as those on toys and window coverings, should not be accessible to children in early care and education programs.

Use and Storage of Toxic Substances

All toxic substances should be inaccessible to children and should not be used when children are present. Toxic substances should be used as recommended by the manufacturer and stored in the original labeled containers. The telephone number for the poison control center should be posted and readily accessible in emergency situations.

Availability of Drinking Water

Clean, sanitary drinking water should be readily accessible in indoor and outdoor areas, throughout the day. On hot days, infants receiving human milk in a bottle may be given additional human milk, and those receiving formula mixed with water may be given additional formula mixed with water.  Infants should not be given water, especially in the first six months of life.

Monitoring Children's Development/Obtaining Consent for Screening

Programs should have a process in place for age-appropriate developmental and behavioral screenings for all children at the beginning of a child's enrollment in the program, at least yearly thereafter, and as developmental concerns become apparent to staff and/or parents/guardians. Providers may choose to conduct screenings, themselves; partner with a local agency/health care provider/specialist who would conduct the screening; or work with parents in connecting them to resources to ensure that screening occurs. This process should consist of parental/guardian education, consent, and participation as well as connection to resources and support, including the primary health care provider, as needed. Results of screenings should be documented in child records.

Integrated Pest Management

Programs should adopt an integrated pest management program to ensure long-term, environmentally sound pest suppression through a range of practices including pest exclusion, sanitation and clutter control, and elimination of conditions that are conducive to pest infestations.