Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE) Program

Multiracial group of preschoolers running down hallway

ATSDR created the Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education program to encourage careful consideration about where to locate early care and education (ECE) sites. Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education gives towns, cities, and states a framework to adopt practices that will make sure ECE programs are located away from chemical hazards.

Why is it important?

Even if ECE programs meet current state licensing regulations, the programs may be located in places where children and staff can be exposed to environmental contamination. As a result, a new ECE program might open in a chemically contaminated industrial building that was never cleaned up, or next door to a business using harmful chemicals. This can put staff and children, who are more sensitive to the effects of chemicals, at risk of health problems.

After exposures happen, children may have negative health effects and ECE programs may be forced to shut down. Therefore, preventing the problem beforehand is vital. Safely located ECE programs ensure the health, economic, and social well-being of families who rely on them.

What is ATSDR’s role?

ATSDR is committed to promoting the healthy development of children. In 2017, ATSDR’s Partnership to Promote Local Efforts to Reduce Environmental Exposure (APPLETREE) program expanded its cooperative agreement to include Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE). Through this funding, national and state programs are being created to ensure safe ECE siting. ATSDR, also provides technical support and guidance to help states start their own Choose Safe Places Program.

Page last reviewed: December 4, 2019