Educating Child Care Employees to Improve Care
As part of the Right from the Start NJ series, Steve Adubato talks with Kaitlin Mulcahy, Associate Director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University, about the importance of educating childcare professionals in New Jersey in order to improve childcare as a whole. She also talks about how crucial it is for parents to think about their child’s development even before they are born.
"This segment is simply part of a much larger initiative that we're involved in here on public television and FiOS, on all of our platforms, called Right From the Start NJ. It's a public awareness campaign that tries to focus on the issues that matter, the challenges, the opportunities, for infants and toddlers. And we are pleased to welcome, as part of that series, Kaitlin Mulcahy, Associate Director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, Montclair State University. A great university. Yes. It happens to be my alma mater. Oh great. [laughter] A great place. So this Right From the Start NJ campaign, you were part of a forum with eight professionals in the field. What was the biggest takeaway for you? We did three half hours. By the way, go on our website, Right From the Start NJ, you can see excerpts from it. What was your biggest takeaway? Because I thought, "Are we gonna have enough to talk about?" Yes. That's an hour and a half! Yeah. No, the biggest takeaway was that we didn't have enough time to talk about all of the ways that this campaign can impact our society. Like? So when we talk about infants and toddlers, when we talk about prenatal parenting, we hit everything. Economics, politics, workforce. How we are as a society. We actually... education, and health, it is the start of who we all become. So it's almost like you can ever have enough time to talk about it. Why don't we, as a society, talk about infants and toddlers and prenatal care more? I think, unfortunately, our paradigm has been towards intervention down the line. What does that mean? So intervening when... Wait til there's a problem later? Right, intervening in problems rather than promoting health. And you can look at lots of politics to see that that's how our paradigm has been. I think we have an opportunity now to shift. "Paradigm" meaning our model? Our worldview? The way we choose to deal with things? Correct. Mm hmm. I think we have an opportunity now to shift and understand that that is not only expensive, it's too late. We need to think about early intervention, as early as we can. Define it, early intervention for what and with whom? For families at the beginning. So the earliest moments... Give us a "for instance". Earliest moments of family development. Prenatal. We don't do enough to support families when they're expecting children..."