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Statewide Initiatives

Infant/Toddler Specialist Network

Each early learning coalition has a designated representative assigned to the Infant/Toddler Specialist Network. Network representatives get training, technical assistance and resources that they pass on to local providers to help improve overall quality for birth to 3 programs. The network holds monthly meetings to discuss training opportunities and needs, research, resources and best practices in caring for children birth to age 3. There are also webinars and on-site training. Infant/toddler care providers should be familiar with the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards. Enrolling in the corresponding courses helps them get that training.

For more information, contact Erin Smeltzer at or 850-717-8602.

10 Components of Quality Overview Webinar by FSU Center for Prevention

Staff from the FSU Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy will provide an overview of the 10 Components of Quality Infant and Toddler Care, in preparation for the 10 Components train-the-trainer sessions taking place 2019-2021. Coalition infant-toddler specialists, program managers, certified coaches and lead trainers are encouraged to attend.

ELC Infant Toddler Specialist Network - May 2019

Understanding Typical Child Development to Support Early Identification of Developmental Delay and Special Needs by Dr. Louise Boothby

Teachers of infants and toddlers are very important to the care and education of our youngest children.  Early identification of developmental delay/special needs is greatly enhanced when these caregivers understand typical child development.  When an infant or toddler’s milestones do not match their chronological age, this discrepancy deserves individualized attention. 

Dr. Boothby is an infant-toddler developmental consultant with 40 years of experience. She is a former special education teacher, former director of the Early Steps Program at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, and is a Florida-certified Infant-Toddler Developmental Specialist. Dr. Boothby contracted with the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County and developed a 10-week training program called STAR Babies, designed for high-quality infant-toddler teachers to enhance their skills. She is a national trainer with the FSU Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy and the Partners for a Healthy Baby home visiting curriculum.

ELC Infant-Toddler Specialist Network - March 2019

My Brain First, Then Your Brain - Reflective Practice and Emotional Regulation by Jacki Malone, LCSW/ACSW

Understanding how our brain functions helps in understanding how mental and emotional states develop, and allows us to reflect on our own emotional states when engaging in early childhood work.  Reflection and learning begins with us impacting how we approach a child, a parent, a teacher and directors. My Brain First, Then Your Brain - Reflective Practice and Emotional Regulation addresses the intersection of brain function, emotions and self-reflection.  Techniques for self-reflection, assisting others with emotional regulation, and engaging in reflection on our own mental and emotional states are suggested.  Jacki Malone, LCSW, ACSW works as a therapist in the Family Study Center Infant Family Clinic at the University of South Florida, Saint Petersburg campus.  The Family Study Center supports children's positive early relationships to improve lifelong health and development.  The Center staff provide services, education and research to build a strong co-parenting and family frame-work that promotes the social and emotional development of all children during the first five years of life.  The Center engages in research and policy advocacy, provides clinical services and provides training and infant family mental health specialists workforce development.

ELC Infant-Toddler Specialist Network - January 2019  

Overview of the Office of Child Care's State Capacity Building Center (SCBC) by Holly Wilcher

The SCBC works with State and Territory leaders and their partners to create innovative early childhood systems and programs that improve results for children and families. SCBC focuses on enhancing the effectiveness of programs implemented under the Child Care and Development Fund, improving the quality and supply of infant-toddler services, and advancing the development of early childhood systems. Holly Wilcher is the Region IV Infant-Toddler Specialist for the federal Office of Child Care’s State Capacity Building Center (SCBC). Ms. Wilcher is also a Senior Infant Toddler Technical Assistance Specialist for ICF International and a former Senior Research Analyst for the early Head Start National Resource Center at Zero to Three.

ELC Infant-Toddler Specialist Network - November 2018 

Erin Smeltzer, School Readiness Program Manager and Katerina Maroney from OEL’s Program Integrity & Policy  Unit, provide an overview of House Bill 1091. During the 2018 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed a bill (HB 1091) that increases quality and accountability in the School Readiness Program. This legislation will ensure that School Readiness providers are adhering to best practices in early education and child development, while providing opportunities for additional funding.