Local Child Care Centers Awarded Mini Grants to Enhance Emergency Preparedness

Published Friday, April 29, 2016 at 9:00 am

Four Watauga County child care centers were awarded mini grants to enhance their abilities to prepare for emergencies and provide additional supports for children with special health care needs. Little Jewels Home Child Care of Zionville, SomePlace Special Home Care of Zionville, Sugar Grove Developmental Day School of Sugar Grove, and Appalachian State University Child Development Center of Boone were awarded a total of $3,500 to support children with special health care needs in the event of disasters and emergencies.

The emergency preparedness mini grants were funded by the Communication and Parent Support Subcommittee of the Watauga County Innovative Approaches initiative. This subcommittee is comprised of community stakeholders including parents of children with special health care needs and professionals from the Watauga County Children’s Council, Daymark Recovery Services, AccessCare of the Blue Ridge, Parent to Parent Family Support Network of the High Country, Watauga Medical Center, Blue Ridge Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, AppHealthCare (Appalachian District Health Department).

The subcommittee determined the need to support emergency preparedness efforts for children with special health care needs who are served at local child care centers due to new emergency preparedness and response rules that went into effect for North Carolina last year. The mini grants will equip awarded centers with preparedness resources such as safe transportation equipment and calming devices.

Julie Page of Little Jewels Home Child Care used the mini grant funds to purchased items such as books to read to the children at her center to mentally prepare them for different types of emergencies. “It is a huge part of my job to keep the children ​in my care ​safe, but ​I am also responsible​ for their mental wellbeing. This opportunity helped me to think of the ways I can teach the children to be prepared but not scared.”

Children with special health care needs have conditions that are expected to last more than 12 months and are often diagnosed with more than one condition. In the event of an emergency, it is critical for those caring for children with special health care needs to have access to the necessary information and resources to prevent secondary health complications. Secondary complications can arise from a lack of appropriate communication regarding the emergency, lack of access to needed medical treatment or medications, separation from a caregiver or assistive device, lack of needed supervision, or lack of adequate transportation.

The mini grant funding was made possible by the North Carolina Office of Disability Services who awarded Watauga Innovative Approaches funding to support the local infrastructure for preparedness for families of children with special health care needs.

Watauga Innovative Approaches is an initiative based at AppHealthCare that serves to improve the system of care for families of children and youth with special health care needs. For more information on the Innovative Approaches initiative, contact Maria Julian at 828-264-4995 ext. 3120 or maria.julian@apphealth.com.

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