Child Development Media (CDM) is currently the world’s largest single source of commercially available videos, books, and curricula on child development and related topics, with over 1500 titles in its catalog.
In addition to the core business of publishing, distributing, marketing, and selling its materials, CDM with its talented staff conducts a continuing education program, publishes a newsletter, hosts teleconferences, exhibits at selected conferences, and hosts training events such as the International conference on Signs of Autism in Infants: Recognition and Early Intervention (UCLA, June 2006).
In 2002 CDM was awarded a contract from First 5 Los Angeles to distribute the Kit for New Parents (a multi-video tool for parent education) in Los Angeles County. Over the course of the next four contract years CDM distributed over 500,000 Kits, developed a network of 3,600 providers in LA County who use the Kit with families, and organized approximately 300 training workshops.
About the Founder: Margie Wagner, M.Ed.
For 30 years, Margie Wagner has worked with children with special needs: emotionally-disturbed children, young children with disabling conditions, socially-disadvantaged children and children with acute, chronic and life-threatening illness. The cornerstone of her work is her commitment to training and supervision. In 1993, she founded Child Development Media. Since 1987, she has produced many Video Theaters for professional conferences, and she is a video editor for professional publications.
In the 21 years prior to her founding of Child Development Media, she directed the Child Life Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where she had the opportunity to train numerous staff members and hundreds of students. Other professional experiences include Educational Therapist at the Dubnoff Center for Child Development and Educational Therapy, Master Teacher at the Demonstration Preschool of the University of Southern California, and Counselor at the Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago.
She has served on state committees and on the Board of the Association for the Care of Children's Health. She is currently a board member of the Infant Development Association of California and of the Ruth Pearce Fund for Therapeutic Companions. She is also a founder of the Chase Foundation, which is dedicated to the support of Child Life Art and Play Therapy Programs in children's hospitals everywhere.
How It All Began
In the mid 1970’s Margie Wagner (CDMI founder) and her colleague Nancy Klein were co-presidents of the Southern California Affiliate of the Association for the Care of Children’s Health (ACCH). Together they arranged meetings and training events for local ACCH members. Nancy’s innovative idea to host a half-day Film (35mm.) Theater and to show films relevant to work with hospitalized children was very successful. The Film Theater was repeated several times during their tenure as co-presidents.
Just about ten years later, 1987, the Film Theater idea re-emerged as a Video Showcase (reflecting advances in technology) in a planning meeting for a conference in Los Angeles hosted by the Infant Development Association of California (IDA) and Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. As a board member of IDA, and as her contribution to the conference, Margie Wagner produced the Video Showcase. The videos related to very young children with special needs and initially were mostly borrowed from catalog distributors.
IDA hosted successful conferences in 1991 and 1992 that included the Video Showcase. Margie continued to find, in federally funded projects, unique and significant videos that were important to the field of early intervention and relevant to conference participants for their own edification or as potential resources for education and training activities. However, the videos from institutions were not distributed and rarely available for purchase. Many were sitting on shelves.
The possibility of an opportunity began to emerge.
In the autumn of 1992 Margie was invited to join a group of early childhood professionals to participate in City TOTS (Teams of Trainers) – that evolved into Partners for City TOTS, a parent-professional mentoring project – hosted by Zero to Three in Atlanta, GA. During this intensive five-day training and development event Margie anxiously told Emily Fenichel and Rebecca Shahmoon-Shanok about the outstanding video resources she had found and the opportunity and the need for distribution. Without hesitation both Emily and Rebecca were immediately enthusiastic and encouraging. Following City TOTS Rebecca wrote to Margie reaffirming her encouragement to go forward and a short time later Emily invited Margie to be a regular contributor for video review to the Zero to Three Bulletin (now Journal). Their spontaneous, heartfelt, and informed support helped transform an opportunity into a focused effort.
In 1993 Margie’s ideas, thoughts, proposals, and quest to use her knowledge of children, families, and professional development in new ways finally began to come together. Her long-time colleague Don Galloway from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles encouraged and helped her to write a business plan and all essential business documents. His steadfast confidence in her ability to launch a business was a touchstone of support as she began to call the university projects that had videos available for distribution. Every project agreed to the proposed marketing and distribution plan and with that Child Health and Development Educational Media (CHADEM) was established.
By the time the business incorporated in 1994 the title was simplified to Child Development Media, Inc. And this groundbreaking year saw the first CDMI catalog with 60 titles in print.
Child Development Today
Initially, CDMI was a home-based two-person business. Together Margie Wagner, President and CEO and Richard Brodie, CFO did the all work. The best part for Margie was both the opportunity to find and build relationships with producers of outstanding materials from all over the county and to help instructors, trainers, program directors, parent educators and others find resources to meet their needs. Richard set-up and maintained the accounting system, edited the catalog, took telephone orders, maintained inventory and contact with the fulfillment center. Richard set aside his true calling as a painter, musician, and writer to launch CDMI. His commitment and contributions were essential to the stability of the venture.
By 1996 as CDM acquired new titles, expanded catalog pages, increased catalog circulation, and started a website the number of orders increased. The operation was moved to Titus Office Building in Panorama City, CA and the process of hiring employees began. Today, six employees and three consultants accomplish the work of CDM.
In addition to the core business of publishing, distributing, marketing and selling 1500 videos, books, and curricula CDMI has developed a Continuing Education Program, publishes a newsletter, hosts teleconferences, exhibits at selected conferences, and hosts training events such as the International Conference on Signs of Autism in Infants: Recognition and Early Intervention. Margie contributes video reviews to the Newsletter of the Infant Development Association of California and to Family Information Services.
In 2002 CDM was awarded a contract from First 5 Los Angeles to distribute the Kit for New Parents (a tool for parent education) in Los Angeles County. During four contract years, 2002-2006, CDMI distributed over 500,000 Kits and developed a network of 3,600 provides in LA County who use the Kit with families. CDMI has also hosted two Kit Conferences and offered approximately 300 training workshops to help providers make best use of the Kit with families. This contract and all publications that are integral to it have been elevated and enhanced by Thelma Lager of Lager & Associates and Sharon Sato of Sato Design.