It is hard to believe we’re in the 3rd year of our successful Empower Program. As a refresher for those of you that aren’t familiar with Empower, it’s a program that focuses on increasing healthy eating and active living, along with helping to provide smoke-free environments, in licensed child care facilities… reaching over 200,000 children throughout Arizona.  Empower is a voluntary program in which childcare licensees receive a discount on their 3-year licensing fee to become Empower centers and homes when they pledge to implement the 10 standards to Empower children to live healthier lives. The program has received national recognition from the White House and many other state and national partners. 

We’re excited to be rolling out updated 10 Empower standards beginning on 1/1/13.  We updated the standards to better impact the most significant health issues impacting Arizona’s children and families. New standards include those that will improve oral health, breastfeeding-friendly practices, training of childcare providers, and sun safety practices.  We’re committed to ensuring the successful implementation of the new standards, and we’ll be working with childcare providers throughout 2013 to learn how to apply the new standards. Licensed providers can look forward to receiving a new Empower Pack with new tools and resources to support the implementation of the new standards beginning mid-January, along with training and ongoing technical assistance.  

Thank you to all of the Licensing and Prevention Services staff (especially Adrienne Udarbe who helped lead the team) that worked so hard to update the standards…  thank you to the Stakeholders that have provided input along the way…  and thanks to our amazing “Superheroes for Health” out there in the childcares that support Arizona’s children every day!