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Partners and Stakeholders

A variety of potential partners and stakeholders are available to offer support. Establish and foster lines of communication between them early to ensure a successful engagement. Partners can help identify sites that might have contamination and possibly provide the history of a site or nearby sites. Partners can also help answer questions about the fate and transport of types of contamination and what the potential is for children to be exposed to any chemical contaminants on site.

Partnerships can be informal or formal, with agreements between departments or agencies to provide assistance when necessary. Meetings between partners can be conducted at set intervals or as needed. Chapter 5 gives more information on building partnerships.

Table 4.3 provides a list of partners and the support they can help provide.

Creating awareness among partners is an important first step in ensuring safe places for ECEs. Some partners might not routinely be involved with ECE program siting and might never have considered their role in helping protect children from environmental exposures.

Table 4.3 Partners and stakeholders with support examples
Partner or stakeholder Support the partner can provide or help provide
Accreditation organizations
  • Offer accreditation to ECE programs that have had an environmental hazard assessment
  • Provide information to those seeking accreditation and can help encourage safe siting
  • Provide technical assistance to partners
  • Determine what sampling is needed to determine if a site is safe for an ECE program, and help interpret sampling results
  • Explain exposure risks to others and assist with risk communication, if needed
Child care resource and referral agencies
  • Providing parents with information regarding factors to consider when choosing an ECE program
Departments of agriculture
  • Identify which sites might have been used in the past as agricultural land
  • Identify which sites are near agricultural land
  • Identify what types of agricultural pesticides and chemical might be used and when
Departments of environmental protection
  • Identify known hazardous sites (RCRA and similar sites)
  • Evaluate what types of contamination might be present from a former use, nearby site, or naturally occurring
  • Evaluate possible sources of contamination at ECE programs that might affect the water quality of a private water source and provide the corresponding guidance on national, regional, and local contaminants
  • Identify known areas with naturally occurring contamination; may have records or files for investigation
  • Provide information on how to sample for certain contamination and help develop sampling plans
  • Provide potential information on past sampling (if any) of a specific site
Departments of emergency services
  • Provide information on past use of some sites.
  • Provide potential site locations on hazardous materials inspections from local emergency services departments
Departments of public health
  • Evaluate what types of contamination might be present from a former use or a nearby site, or which may be naturally occurring
  • Identify what environmental sampling, if any, is needed to determine if a site is safe for a child care center, and interpret sampling results
  • Help explain exposure risks to others and assist with risk communication, if needed
  • Provide technical assistance to ECEs regarding understanding water quality reports, water testing parameters, private well testing, data interpretation, and water treatment options
  • Provide best management practices to ECE programs on proper cleaning practices for water fountains and hot water tanks
ECE licensing or lead agencies, e.g., CCDF lead agencies
  • Provide information on process for ECE programs to be licensed
  • Provide potential geocoded data on where ECE programs are located
  • Assist with determining which policies or regulations help to keep ECE programs from being located near an incompatible site
  • Provide guidance on state or local drinking water quality regulations that affect ECE programs
  • Identify potentially problematic sites
ECE providers or local organizations
  • Help ensure that their programs are safely sited
Historic societies
  • Provide information on past use of some sites or sections of a town or city, which can help to identify what chemical contaminants need to be considered
Law enforcement
  • Identify places where former illegal activity (dumping, clandestine drug labs) has taken place
Local medical professionals and pediatric environmental health specialty units (PEHSUs)
  • Raise awareness and understanding of how children are susceptible to environmental contaminants
  • Help raise awareness of the need for safe siting
  • Help with risk communication
Local planning and zoning boards
  • Identify sites that might have been designated or used as manufacturing or industrial sites
  • Identify sites near an ECE site that should be assessed
  • Ensure appropriate siting of new ECE programs
Local water districts
  • Provide information on national, regional, and local drinking water contaminants
National environmental public health tracking
  • Provide potential resources for GIS with location data for contaminated sites
  • Identify potential hazards in a specific location based on shared data from the national, state, and municipal level
Professional organizations like National Head Start Association or National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Raising awareness and educating providers
Town and city planners
  • Identify past use of sites and existing use of nearby sites
  • Help access local records
  • Ensure any plans they receive for new ECE programs have had environmental exposures considered
University agricultural extension offices
  • Provide guidance on installation and maintenance of private water systems, drinking water quality, and water treatment options
U.S. Geological Survey
  • Help identify areas across the United States that have naturally occurring contamination