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Community- and State-Level Assets Strengthen California's Infant–Toddler Workforce
Professional Development, Professional Development
Source Of Information:
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center publications
At the community level, Los Angeles County is making great strides in the area of cross-sector competencies for the infant–toddler workforce. First 5 LA partnered with the ZERO TO THREE Western Office (ZTT) to facilitate the Prenatal through Three Workforce Development Project. The project began with the formation of a workgroup of community experts in five sectors that comprise the P-3 workforce (early care and education, early identification and intervention, infant and early childhood mental health, physical health, and social services/child welfare). Through an exhaustive literature review of existing competencies, the workgroup identified sector-specific competencies and used them to inform the development of the P-3 Cross-Sector Core Competencies for the multidisciplinary workforce in Los Angeles County.
The Competencies are organized into eight domains deemed essential for Los Angeles prenatal through age three (P-3) professionals working with young children and their families: 1. Early Childhood Development 2. Family-Centered Practice 3. Relationship-Based Practice 4. Health and Developmental Protective and Risk Factors 5. Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness 6. Leadership 7. Professional and Ethical Practices 8. Service Planning, Coordination and Collaboration
Each domain is subdivided into sections describing the core knowledge (what P-3 service providers should know), skills (what P-3 service providers should be able to do), and attitudes (how P-3 service providers should approach their work). The competency statements are written as observable behaviors and, where possible, measurable actions.
In addition, ZTT is developing online training and communities of practice, forging new relationships with service providers, and creating county and state policy recommendations to better foster cross-sector partnerships. With continued investment from First 5 LA, a process is currently underway to encompass competencies needed by professionals serving young children 3–5 years old and their families.
California’s Early Childhood Educator Competencies, developed by the state Department of Education and administered by the California Child Development Training Consortium (CDTC), provide the framework under which professional development opportunities are strengthening California’s infant–toddler workforce. One of CDTC’s services is a training portal that offers 122 infant- and toddler-focused trainings or courses. CDTC also hosts the California Community Colleges Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP), which developed a program of study for early care and education teachers that includes eight courses on the earliest years of child development. CAP added “Infant Toddler” as a specialty area, and 12 colleges now offer one or both of the approved Infant Toddler courses. WestEd’s Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) curriculum offerings can be accessed through the CDTC training portal. Through PITC, more than 7,000 people have been trained as trainers, and centers or groups of family child care providers receive onsite training, observation, and coaching from infant–toddler specialists.
This description of California’s work is highlighted in ZERO TO THREE's publication A Place to Get Started: Innovation in Infant and Toddler State Policies. Read the full brief at http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy.