The CHILD Way is what propels us

A common sense of purpose and mission is what allows CHILD to thrive. Since 1977, all in our community have been propelled by our Founder’s belief that “children deserve help BEFORE they fail.”

Through the years, much time and reflection have been dedicated to defining the practices that help us operationalize our core belief. We call these practices The CHILD Way. To ensure they stay vital, not mere notes on paper, we actively engage in ongoing conversations to reflect on our behavior as individuals and an integrated community to ensure we are remaining true to our core belief.

As CHILD celebrated its 40th year in 2017, its Founder, Trina Westerlund, and Executive Director, Carrie Fannin, sat down for a conversation about the founding beliefs that continue to fuel CHILD today -- and we filmed it.   Click HERE to watch the 12 minute film.


  • We build an intimate community of children, families and providers.
  • We look at each child from how the world occurs for them, including: what they see, hear, taste, smell and feel; how they and others move; what is safe and not safe; and what they make all of that mean. 
  • Each child explores and becomes aware of what thwarts, stops or blocks them. 
  • We try on multiple approaches to discover what allows for engagement, taking risks and learning. 
  • Children learn to express how they feel, what they need, and how to get their needs met in their interactions with others and the world-at-large. 
  • Our staff is trained and supported to provide who and what is needed, operating from “every moment counts.” 
  • We reflect on and learn from our experience. 
  • We stand for success for all children.