Nevada Improves Wellness Training for Child Care and Early Education Providers
In May 2011, the Nevada State Legislature passed a law requiring at least two of the 15 hours of annual training required for early care and education providers to be in the area of wellness, health and safety of children.
The bill was sponsored by the Nevada Fitness and Wellness Council, a state-mandated committee made up of high-level officials and the Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness Promotion committee. Coalition members, leaders and partners from the Southern Nevada Health District and Washoe Health District worked with other stakeholders to provide education, research and advocacy to support the bill.
The bill took effect on July 1, 2011, affecting more than 573 ECE providers in Nevada.
- Legislative Stakeholders and Support
The impetus for drafting the bill came in March 2010 when the Nevada State Health Division (NSHD) staff reported to the Fitness and Wellness Council (FAWC) information they had received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An analysis of state licensing regulations by Duke University ranked Nevada number two among states for having high quality regulations to help prevent obesity in the ECE setting. One of the items hindering the state from being ranked first was ECE provider training on nutrition and physical activity. Senator Valerie Wiener, a member of FAWC, felt this was attainable through new legislation. As a result, she developed what became SB27.
Throughout the legislative process, the NSHD provided background information and administrative support. Through the dedication of legislative champions Senator Wiener and Dr. Tracey Green, the legislature passed unanimously. As funding was leveraged from Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) funds for education modules, there was no fiscal impact on the state or ECE centers.
- Ongoing Development and Training
Through the use of CPPW funds, NSHD is now supporting the development of a training curriculum and providing opportunities for trainings at conferences and summits. Six training modules are being developed — three on nutrition and three on physical activity — for ECE providers. The NSHD’s Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion Section has contracted with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and is working in partnership to create the modules, which are available online to all ECE providers free of charge. The Health Division’s Wellness program plans to continue its support of training modules in the future by leveraging federal monies via grants and other mechanisms.
- Lessons Learned
- It is important to have champions with power in the legislature. A tight circle of supporters agreed on the language of the bill enabling it to pass quickly and with little resistance.
- The bill did not have a financial impact on ECE providers, because all training is online and free of charge, and it does not require any additional hours of training. These factors helped garner provider support for the bill.