Resources for Childcare Providers

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) Outperforms Residential Treatment Despite Conventional Wisdom

The evidence-based model the Exchange Family Center’s Parenting of Adolescents (POA) program provides to Durham’s teens and families - Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) - was recently found to be equal to, or more effective than, residential treatment in all measures including: substance use, delinquency, and mental health symptoms.

A 2018 July publication in the Journal of Substance Abuse presented the results of this major study and illuminates not only MDFT’s effectiveness versus residential treatment but in addition, both it’s convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Multidimensional Family Therapy keeps children in school, at home and can be delivered at 64% less the cost.

Start Early

There's more proof now that starting early is critical. Those first years are the most important!

In the first few years of life, the human brain forms 700 new neural connections every second. That’s 42,000 each minute, or over 6 million each day! These are the connections that build brain architecture – the foundation upon which all later learning, behavior, and health depend. 

To learn more about how impactful this brain development is, watch this video.

Multiply the Positive

Whatever you emphasize, whether positive or negative, you will see more of it. If you place your attention and comments to children on the positive behaviors you see, you will experience more positive behaviors (if you comment on the negative behavior, you will see more of the negative behavior).

When you see a child exhibiting the behavior you want, say it out loud (shout it to the world?) – with specific, descriptive praise. “You got another truck for your friend. You are so thoughtful.”  Or, “You did it! You waited quietly and patiently while I was on the phone. We are ready to go to the park now.”

Your words can help the positive behavior multiply!

Here are some more tips and information to help.

Create Routines with Visual Supports

Visual supports help all children to understand rules and expectations, engage in daily routine, navigate transitions, communicate thoughts, feelings and needs, and increase independence in child care routines and activities. Visuals are especially helpful for children who have communication delays or are dual language learners.

Social Emotional Development

Strong social-emotional development underlies all later social, emotional, and academic success. (NAEYC) The greatest influence on a child’s social-emotional development is the quality of the relationships that he develops with his primary caregivers.

What are the components of social emotional development for young children?

  • Confidence

  • Capacity to develop good relationships

  • Concentration and persistence on challenging tasks

  • Ability to effectively communicate emotions including managing frustration and disappointment

  • Ability to listen to instructions and be attentive

Places to learn more? Visit, and

The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI) offers teacher resources including the Backpack Connection Series, one page handouts for families, with information on building social skills at home.

The Center on the Social & Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CESEFEL) offers:

Developmental Milestones

While each child develops at their own rate, early intervention minimizes and can, in some cases, prevent delays in children’s development. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resources for childcare providers and checklists to track children’s development.

For concerns about a child’s development, a family should contact the following agencies.

Birth to 3 Years Old

CDSA (Children's Developmental Services Agencies)
CDSA provides evaluation and services for children with special needs or developmental delays.

  • Cost:

    • Evaluation — free

    • Services — sliding fee scale

In Durham County, NC, call 919-560-5600. For other NC counties find your local office here.

3-5 Years Old

Preschool Exceptional Children’s Program (at your local school district)
The program accepts referrals, screens, and evaluates preschool children suspected of needing special education services. There is no cost to parents/guardians.

In Durham County, NC, call 919-560-3933 or in Spanish, call 919-560-2000, ext. 26262. For residents outside of Durham, call your local public school district.