Professionals in York and Adams counties have been working for years on a collaborative response to assist child care with behavior concerns and possible expulsion or suspension of young children. They began seven years ago with a program entitled SPEC, Supporting Positive Environments for Children. This model provides ongoing coaching support to early childhood programs so that they could implement a system of positive behavior intervention and support (PBIS) throughout all classrooms at their center. Currently, they have two cohorts of programs in their area implementing with fidelity or beginning to implement PBIS.
When OCDEL issued joint announcements on increasing inclusive practices and reducing expulsion and suspension in early childhood, the team saw a need to provide support “on demand” to programs who had a child exhibiting behaviors that put them at risk for immediate expulsion or suspension. To meet this need they created an interagency Rapid Response team.
The team consists of:
- Early Intervention County staff and individual providers
- Regional Keys STARS TA staff
- Children’s mental health staff
- Managed care/behavioral health staff
- Child Care Consultants TA staff
The team utilizes a range of staff time and has funding from state Early Intervention, local Early Intervention, Managed Care funds and some grant funding. The Rapid Response Team is available to go on site and offer assistance to child care programs within 48 hours. The effect is to greatly reduce the chance of expulsion or suspension and ultimately create a better learning environment for all children. The team expects that this intervention will reduce the need for mental health services such as Therapeutic Support Staff and Early Intervention referrals. In addition to onsite support, the team also helps child care find resources for other training needs and helps them develop inclusion and expulsion policies.
For more information: Sharon Harlacher at SLHarlacher@YorkCountyPA.gov.