Regulatory Program Changes
In jurisdictions where the ECE program standards and requirements are established by administrative regulations, these regulations may need to be changed to implement safe siting principles. In some cases, regulatory changes require state legislative action. Others are managed by a state or local administrative agency following applicable state or local procedures.
Jurisdictions seeking to implement ECE siting standards might first review current regulations to determine if those already have language that gives the licensing agency the authority to administer and enforce safer siting for ECE programs. Such language could include provisions that cover general hazards, which specifically mentions where ECE programs can be located, or that specify what a site can or cannot have on or next to it. ATSDR encourages the use of Caring for our Children Basics as a resource to help states work through the current standards and see how they compare .
Many states have some general site or location criteria language. Examples of this type of language are “in an area which offers minimum hazards to health, safety, and welfare of the children” and “be located in a relatively noise-free and pollution-free environment” . A regulatory review could also be used to determine if such general site criteria have ever been used to address environmental contaminants and to understand how compliance with regulations is demonstrated during the application and review process. Jurisdictions that undertake an ECE regulatory review should consider coordinating closely with their legal counsel.
Internal regulatory reviews can also identify gaps in authorities and procedures. Collaboration with stakeholders to review existing regulations can also help identify gaps. Once gaps are identified, continued collaboration can help craft new language to become the basis for new regulations. Collaboration with key stakeholders, both inside and outside the agency, helps ensure that any newly proposed regulations meet the needs of those involved in the ECE siting process and do not create any unintended consequences. By undertaking a systematic regulatory review and making regulatory changes to ECE program licensing requirements, agencies that provide ECE program licenses could have a tool in place to help ensure ECE programs are not put on contaminated sites.