Training and Outreach
An important and integral part of the SAFER Program is training and outreach. EOHA provides annual training for OEC Division of Licensing inspectors. The training reinforces what inspectors should be looking for and when they should refer an ECE program to EOHA. The training relies heavily on photos compiled over the years from the many programs that have been referred through SAFER. The annual training is also an opportunity to report on the program’s successes and obstacles, troubleshoot problems and discuss whether procedural or programmatic changes are needed.
Since the SAFER Program began, EOHA has conducted a variety of outreach efforts. Goals of those efforts have included the following:
- Making partners and stakeholders aware of the SAFER Program and the assistance it can provide.
- Raising awareness at the local land use planning and zoning level about the importance of asking questions about the suitability of a property before granting a local permit for an ECE program.
- Raising awareness among local permitting entities of the need to protect the health and safety of ECE program children when considering permit requests from businesses seeking to locate next to an existing daycare.
When the SAFER Program was first launched, EOHA created a brochure describing SAFER and gave it to local health departments, local planning and zoning agencies, CTDEEP, and others. EOHA staff members have given presentations about SAFER to local planners, CTDEEP, Connecticut licensed environmental professionals, local health department staff, and others. EOHA also posted SAFER Program outreach materials on the CT DPH website, available at www.ct.gov/dph/saferExternal. This material is also accessible through the licensing website within the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.
Private Well Testing Outreach
Connecticut’s SAFER Program recently mailed private well testing recommendations to more than 600 child care facilities whose drinking water likely comes from a private well (based on their geographic location). Most of the recipients of this educational material and testing recommendations were family child care homes. The SAFER Program undertook this activity because basic water testing required by Connecticut’s child care licensing regulations does NOT cover all the harmful contaminants that could be present in well water. This activity raised awareness about the importance of private well testing and gave child care operators specific recommendations about how to test, what to test for, how frequently to test, and where to find help with interpreting well test results.