Home-Based Child Care

This manual targets ECE programs not located in private homes. Early care and education programs, outside of private homes, generally care for larger numbers of children than do home-based ECE programs. Also, larger ECE programs are generally located in business or commercial structures in non-residential areas. In contrast, home-based ECE programs are generally operated in homes in residentially zoned areas. Therefore, home-based ECE programs might be less likely than other programs to be located on properties with a past industrial use.

Home-based ECE programs are also less likely to be located in the same building as or near an operating business, such as a nail salon or auto body shop, that could cause harmful exposures in the ECE programs. Licensing and local permitting requirements for home-based ECE programs also might be different from requirements for other ECE programs. It is prudent to be aware of the site history for all ECE programs, especially for new construction.

Although this manual has been written primarily for larger, licensed ECE programs, the approaches and tools can be applied to home-based ECE programs, schools, and other places. Home-based ECE programs are not immune from environmental contaminant problems or poor siting decisions. For example, groundwater contamination from a business such as a gas station could migrate into a residential area.

Naturally occurring chemical contaminants in groundwater can affect home-based ECE program locations. In fact, groundwater contamination might be even more of a concern for home-based ECE programs that use well water than for larger ECE programs that use well water. This is because private water supply systems that serve fewer than 25 people are unregulated. In contrast, larger ECE programs with well water are more likely to be public water supply systems (because they care for larger numbers of children than home-based ECE programs). As such, these wells would have more requirements for water testing than private wells.

Users of this manual can consider how the tools and approaches it presents can be applied to ECE programs and home-based locations to protect children in these settings from harmful chemical exposures.

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Page last reviewed: October 30, 2018