VA ITSN Goals and Key Features
Striving to achieve excellence in early care by increasing the knowledge and skill level of those who care for infants and toddlers, whether in family day homes or in centers.
With Child Development Resources’ leadership, a state level leadership council guides the work of partners and collaborators to implement a statewide, comprehensive network. Key partners include the Virginia Department of Education; the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation; the Infant Toddler Connection of Virginia; Child Care Aware of Virginia; the Virginia Head Start Association; families; institutions of higher education; community-based early care, education, and health programs; and others.
Improve the quality of care and education that infants and toddlers receive while in child day centers and family day homes, with a focus on supporting success in the VQB5, unified measurement and improvement system
Increase the educational level and competencies of infant and toddler caregivers, teachers, and directors through technical assistance, training, and connection to existing relevant opportunities to support quality of care and education
Increase use of strategies and practices by caregivers, teachers, directors, and families to promote the social emotional development of infants and toddlers thereby reducing challenging behaviors
Implement an effective, efficient, and accountable VA ITSN that meets the determined measures of success
The Virginia Infant and Toddler Specialist Network is supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $5,350,000 with 100% funded by ACF/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by the Virginia Department of Education, ACF/HHS, or the U.S. Government.
Infant and toddler specialists and consultants provide services designed to strengthen the capacity of early care and education programs to deliver high-quality services:
A relationship-based process that includes mentoring and support using quality improvement plans
Training to groups of caregivers/teachers and directors through face-to-face, distance, technology-based or hybrid methods
Support and resources to help child care providers achieve excellence in early care for infants and toddlers
The Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network (VA ITSN) strives to achieve excellence in early care by increasing the knowledge level and skills of those who care for infants and toddlers, whether in family day homes or in center-based programs. It also serves to link existing community resources that support healthy, safe, and nurturing care for children, birth-36 months.
Highly qualified infant and toddler specialists and infant and toddler behavior consultants work in nine regional offices across the state, that subcontract with Child Development Resources. The specialists and consultants provide professional development opportunities designed to strengthen the capacity of early care and education programs to deliver high-quality services:
- Quality Improvement provides consultation, mentoring, training, and support using quality improvement plans.
- Quality Enhancement includes training and technical assistance to groups of caregivers/teachers and directors.
- Quality Assurance provides resources; e-mail, telephone, and video consultation; and linkages to existing professional development opportunities.
Infant and toddler specialists and consultants work side by side with teachers and directors to help develop an improvement plan that meets the individual needs of each program and builds on the strengths of each provider.
Enhance Quality of Care
The following standards and tools are used to enhance quality of care for infants and toddlers:
- Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)
- Virginia Early Learning and Development Standards
- Virginia Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals
- Infant and Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-R)
- Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale (FCCERS-R)
- M-CHAT R/F
- LENA Grow
The Network offers creative ideas and support for improving the quality of infant and toddler programs. Practical staff training and resources are offered at no cost to infant and toddler programs and providers. State-approved training hours are offered after completion of training.
Each year, the VA ITSN offers Celebrating Babies and Tots (CBT) institutes throughout the state which are full-day professional development training opportunities for caregivers/teachers and directors that increase skills, strategies, and ideas for providing high-quality services for infants and toddlers.
Two levels of collaboration and partnership are critical in ensuring the success of the VA ITSN. At the state level, the VA ITSN Leadership Council, comprised of key stakeholders, guides the work of the Network and helps to maintain a statewide, comprehensive network. A second level of partnerships on the local level builds on the successes of existing community initiatives. A collaborative approach strengthens the capacity of early care and education programs and links them with existing community resources that support healthy, safe, and nurturing care for children from birth to age 3.
It is well-known that the quality of care infants and toddlers receive is directly related to the training, experience, and skills of their care providers. The Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network uses an innovative program improvement process that includes coaching, training, and technical assistance to improve the quality of early care. Even programs of the highest quality benefit from technical assistance that can help them respond to changes in best practices and knowledge of infant and toddler development.
Observation and Assessment: Prior to beginning training and technical assistance (T/TA) services, infant and toddler specialists complete an assessment of each program using either the ITERS-R or FCCERS-R. This pre-measure of program quality and a post-measure are used to help identify goals to be included in the program’s QIP.
Quality Improvement Plan: Infant and toddler specialists work with program directors and staff to determine goals and priorities for program improvement. In addition to goals, QIPs include expected outcomes, T/TA services to be provided, timelines, and persons responsible in order to ensure commitment to implementation. QIPs are monitored over time and revised as needed.
Individualized Services: Individualized T/TA services, based on program strengths and needs, include consultation, targeted training, classroom-focused mentoring and feedback to support application of new knowledge and practice of new skills, modeling, reflective practice, and resources. Each program receiving on-site services receives resources, materials, and other supports.
Find your VA ITSN region below
Counties: Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex.
Cities: Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond
Counties: Accomack, Isle of Wight, Northampton, and Southampton
Cities: Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach
Counties: Caroline, Culpeper, Fauquier, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford
Cities: Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park
Counties: Arlington and Fairfax
Cities: Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church
Counties: Essex, Gloucester, James City, King and Queen, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland, and York
Cities: Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg
Counties: Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, Henry, Highland, Patrick, Roanoke, and Rockbridge
Cities: Buena Vista, Covington, Lexington, Martinsville, Roanoke, and Salem
Counties: Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Brunswick, Campbell, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward
Cities: Danville, Halifax, and Lynchburg
Counties: Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe
Cities: Bristol, Galax, Norton, and Radford
Counties: Albemarle, Augusta, Buckingham, Clarke, Fluvanna, Frederick, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren
Cities: Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester