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New Tool Helps Child Care Operators Develop Emergency Plans

News Release:

    Raleigh, N.C.     Governor Pat McCrory announced today that a new web-based tool is now available to help North Carolina's more than 7,000 child care facility operators develop and update emergency plans that provide protective actions for children in their care during a crisis situation.

    The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) partnered with the N.C. Department of Public Safety's Emergency Management Section to develop the web-based planning application and template that helps child care facility owners meet new emergency preparedness and response (EPR) rules that took effect earlier this year.

    "All parents deserve certainty that their children will be safe when they are left in the care of others," said Governor McCrory. "This new tool will help child care facilitates better prepare for and protect children during emergencies."

    The rules require licensed child care programs to be prepared to respond to the needs of children and their families during disasters and emergencies by having a current Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan in place.

    "Nothing is more important than the safety of our children," said Rick Brajer, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. "This free online tool makes it easy for child care facilities to plan, prepare and practice for emergencies."

    All licensed child care centers, family child care homes, and summer day camps that operate for two consecutive summers or more must complete an Emergency Preparedness and Response plan (EPR). Child care facility owners log into the N.C. Risk Management portal to register and use the online planning tool. The digital application allows child care owners to easily review and update their plans annually, as required.

    Early childhood and school-age facility plans must include written procedures for accounting for children and adults, details on how children will be transported, a relocation and reunification plan, evacuation diagrams, emergency files, plans for children with special needs, and plans for how the nutrition and health needs of children will be met. In addition to the EPR plans and currently required fire drills, child care facilities are now also required to hold quarterly lockdown and/or shelter-in-place drills.

    To enhance the EPR tool, DCDEE partnered with the N.C. Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center, a project of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, to develop the EPR in Child Care training. The training will assist in creating and practicing plans for responding to emergencies. An estimated 7,000 child care providers will complete the training over the course of two years. Upon completing the training, staff must review the facility plan with new hires at orientation and provide an annual review of the plan with all current staff at each licensed child care facility.

    Contact: Crystal Feldman

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