Implementation Approaches

Policy Changes

In many cases, policy changes can be used to safeguard ECE programs from being placed on contaminated sites. Policy changes are revisions to procedures or processes that affect ECE siting in a particular jurisdiction. They are often simpler to implement because they do not require regulatory action or new legislation. For example, changes might be made to ECE program licensing procedures to help ensure that ECE programs do not operate on contaminated sites. Many changes presented in Table 4.4 could be made at the agency or department level and might not require additional resources.

Table 4.4. Sample policy changes
Policy Expected outcome
Create a formal procedure for potentially problematic sites to be referred for follow-up to an agency that can assess the site The appropriate agency can help follow up and further investigate any site that might not be appropriate for a child care center.
Formalize procedures for sharing site data among partners. Sharing information can help partners more quickly identify potentially problematic sites.
Train ECE program inspectors to look for evidence of past uses of sites that might be incompatible with a child care center. Have inspectors refer suspect sites to an agency that can assess the site9. When inspectors know what to look for and have resources for referrals, they can help identify sites that might need additional investigation to ensure the site is appropriate for an ECE program.
Before licensing, ensure all ECE program sites are checked against lists of known local, state, or national hazardous sites.
Explore zoning changes in local communities to try to keep ECE programs off of sites with past contamination.
Checking known hazardous sites can help ensure ECE programs are not placed on those sites.
Incorporate past site use information into local permitting process for new ECE program. Asking about past site use during the local permitting process can identify potential problem sites before a new ECE program receives a local permit.
Ensure that businesses that may pose a hazard do not begin operation near an ECE program that is already in operation. Many businesses may not be compatible with an ECE program near it. Ensuring that businesses that pose a potential hazard do not open adjacent to existing ECE programs would help protect the children and staff in those programs.
Ensure that naturally occurring contamination common to the region is ruled out as a contaminant of concern at ECE program sites. If naturally occurring contamination in specific locations is known, inspectors and caretakers can focus on identifying these common contaminants and resolving them.

9 The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 requires the “Lead Agency” to ensure that individuals who are hired as licensing inspectors are qualified to inspect those child care providers and facilities and have training in related health and safety requirements

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Page last reviewed: October 30, 2018