Early Childhood Providers

Medical Home

As early care and education practitioners, you care deeply about the well-being of the children and families that you work with every day. Docs for Tots works to connect early care and education practitioners to the health care system to support children and families and improve your early care and education practice. One fundamental way to better support kids and families is the Medical Home. Here is what you need to know about the Medical Home Model: The medical home is high quality, comprehensive health care for children that is family centered, accessible and coordinated. It features engaging the patient and family in health promotion and ensuring that patients and families understand all communication from the health provider and setting. The medical home should also collaborate with key organizations in the community so that patients and families receive preventive care and supportive services and attention to all aspects of health.

A key component of the early childhood medical home is coordinating care across a number of systems, including early care and educational settings and the medical home. As an early childhood practitioner, you are uniquely poised to help ensure this vision becomes a reality.

You can:

  • Talk to the families you serve about connecting with a medical home and what to expect from a quality health care setting
  • Reach out to community doctors, consider inviting them to learn about your services, give a talk about their medical practice, or serve as a health consultant or advisor
  • Initiate communication with the medical home of the young children you work with–you share a common goal of seeing the best outcomes for kids
  • Offer to “co-locate”- provide a service for young children or their families in a medical home
  • Tap into your intimate knowledge and direct experience with children to advocate for support of early childhood in the medical home—your voice is effective and can move the agenda forward

Components of the Early Childhood Medical Home

In addition to traditional health promotion and prevention activities, the early childhood medical home should address:

  1. Social-emotional development of children; including positive parenting and addressing toxic stress
  2. Early learning – recognizing parents as first teachers and the critical role of access to quality child care environments
  3. Access to family supports, including family leave insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and food stamps

Priority Issues

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The earliest and most profound influences on child health are found outside of the doctor’s office.

George Askew, MD, Founder, Docs for Tots, Chief Medical Officer, Administration for Children and Families