The Early Childhood Outreach Program for Families


The Early Childhood Outreach (EChO) program offers consultation services and support to both families and childcare providers when a young child's behavior presents a challenge in the classroom. The EChO program is guided by the belief that children will do well if they can. If they can't, it is our challenge as adults to figure out why. 

How EChO Helps Families

When children have difficulties at school or are expelled, families feel significant stress.  Children are more likely to be expelled before kindergarten than first grade through twelfth grade combined, which is an important reason to address challenging behaviors early. 

EChO Consultants work closely with childcare providers and families to better understand the child's behavior and to develop individualized action plans of strategies to address behavior. Classroom based strategies support the development of children’s social and emotional skills so that they can be more successful in school settings. Teachers are provided resources and coached as they put these new ideas into place. Families are assisted in arranging needed community services for the child when necessary.

These actions bolster protective factors that strengthen families and reduce the risk of child abuse. When parents have an understanding of development and effective parenting strategies, and children have strong social and emotional skills, the risk of abuse and neglect is decreased.

Who Can Participate?

The EChO program is for children with challenging behavior, ages birth to five years, who are enrolled in Durham County childcare programs. Services are provided in both English and Spanish.

Referrals come jointly from child care providers and families. Either can initiate the process. 


All EChO services are FREE.


We had no idea the extent of difficulty (our son) was having in the classroom and that he was allowed to be so disengaged from activities. Melissa (EChO Consultant) and I met... and instantly I knew for the first time "Someone is going to help us." (Melissa) was our friend and our son's advocate. Not enough can be said about the tools, guidance, resources, and support Melissa provided us in a very uncertain time. She was always available, receptive to suggestions, and informative. If she didn't know the answer, she would research it until she knew it. Her help and guidance is priceless to us. It is evidence that Melissa loves her job and our son.

--- Mary Emily Wood, Parent, August 2015

EChO receives funds from Durham’s Partnership for Children, a Smart Start Initiative.

Request Info or Assistance

If you have questions, or would like any of these services for your child, submit your inquiry below. You may also contact Shekema at (919) 403-8249 x233.