ECE Program Licensing Boards, and Owners or Operators of ECE Programs
Most ECE program providers assume someone will notify them if a site is not appropriate for an ECE program. Such notification does not happen in some cases. Therefore, it is important to form partnerships with ECE program licensing groups to raise awareness about the importance of safe ECE siting and the benefits of adopting safe siting guidelines to protect children’s health. As partners, licensing groups can share concerns and ideas and provide safe siting training and educational resources to ECE program owners and providers.
Topics to consider for inclusion in an ECE program licensing provider educational program include the following:
- Why safe siting is important for ECE programs (e.g., children are more vulnerable to environmental hazards than adults).
- Identification of facilities that use hazardous materials and are in the same building as an ECE program or nearby (i.e., explain the potential hazards the facilities pose to children and staff).
- Identification of characteristics of the property that indicate it might have been used for industrial purposes. (Refer to the list provided above in “Inspector training — Identification of potentially hazardous materials at the site” for more information.)
- Use of a property history questionnaire (Appendix A) for ECE program applicants to complete to determine if the building had been used in operations involving hazardous materials.
- Potential sources of property information include the landlord or former owner of the property; local zoning officer, planning official, or building inspector; local health department officials; city officials, including tax assessor, town land records, local fire marshal, economic development agency, or historical society.
- Information on how to access databases directly or through other sources, such as state environmental agencies, to determine ownership and past uses of potential daycare sites.
- Any other actions ECE program providers might take to protect children from environmental hazards at their programs.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health has developed a training program for its SAFER (Screening Assessment for Environmental Risk) Program. The training program and an education and outreach brochure used to raise awareness about safe child care siting are available at www.ct.gov/dph/saferExternal.