The Problem Behind the Problem: Applying Human-Centered Design to Child Care in Flint

In response to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, early childhood education was one of the
targets of intervention and prevention for children who were exposed to lead poisoning, because high-quality child care could potentially help improve their developmental trajectories. The Provider Empowerment Program used human-centered design (HCD) to uncover unmet and overlooked needs among child care providers. Researchers discuss solutions that were uniquely shaped to meet the needs of FFN child care providers in Flint. Each solution was developed by a process that included taking the perspective of the people who faced the problem, spending time to understand the context of the problem, and uncovering the underlying problem which was not apparent at first. Recommendations for use of HCD in community-based problem-solving are discussed.