Childcare program initiates emergency response planning

The Child Care and Development Fund under the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has initiated training for emergency preparedness and response planning with the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management during the 8th Annual Health and Safety Training.

CCDF administrator Maribel Loste said the focus of the training was to supplement the current knowledge of childcare providers and provide updates to their existent emergency plan.

“For the last eight years, we’ve conducted our annual health and safety training, and this year we are bringing emergency response planning to the forefront. We’ve discussed and provided first responder recommendations, especially when dealing with a possible active shooter scenario and we’ve also been very cognizant of other emergency situations such as natural disasters. We intend to continue the dialogue and training to enhance the safety and quality of our childcare program,” Loste said.

Loste added that the training introduced the necessity for National Incident Management System certification of providers through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres emphasized that reinforcing the basics on response planning is critical for all agencies, including the childcare program.

“When we consider our entire community, from the youth to the elderly, our agencies need to be knowledgeable of best practices. One of the key ideas behind the annual health and safety training is not just the focus on emergency preparedness and planning, but the importance of advocacy and keeping preparedness a priority. I commend CCDF and all partners for stressing the importance of response planning and making every effort to ensure that caregivers, our facilities, our activities, and personnel are well-informed and can function in the event of an emergency,” Torres said.

Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert H. Hunter noted that Evergreen Learning Resource Center provided guidance on developing an emergency preparedness and response plan, along with steps for sheltering in place with the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and CHCC-Maternal Child Health Bureau.

“Our childcare program has made every effort to improve its services in terms of quality and safety. From day cares, to after-school programs and other caregivers, it is important to cover all aspects of safety. As we move forward with quality assurance outreach and training, emergency preparedness is part of our comprehensive approach to child care. I thank all our partner agencies and our caregivers for taking part in this endeavor and for another successful training,” Hunter said.

For more information on the CNMI Child Care Program, log on to

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