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Manual Overview: What it Covers and How to Use it

This guidance manual will help state and local agencies better protect children from the hazards posed by improper siting of ECE programs. It provides guidance, model program, policy approaches, tools, and resources that can be used to ensure ECE programs are located on sites where hazards have been considered, addressed, and mitigated to protect children’s health.

This manual describes

  • Gaps in state and local regulations and policies that can lead to improper ECE program siting (Chapter 2).
  • Vulnerabilities of children and staff of ECE programs to chemical and physical hazards from improper siting (Chapter 2).
  • Potential hazards resulting from poorly located ECE programs that could put children at risk (Chapter 3).
  • What can be done to identify and remediate those hazards (Chapter 4)

The manual provides

  • A conceptual model for building an interagency program at the state or local level to implement safer siting (Chapter 5).
  • Tools (Chapter 6) and resources (Appendix A, B, and C) that can be used throughout the implementation process.

Issues Not Directly Addressed in this Definition

ATSDR is directed by a congressional mandate to evaluate the effects of environmental exposure on public health [4]. This includes the following:

  • Assessments of contaminated sites.
  • Health consultations concerning specific hazardous substances.
  • Health surveillance and registries.
  • Response to emergency releases of hazardous substances.
  • Applied research in support of public health assessments.
  • Information development and dissemination.
  • Education and training concerning hazardous substances.

Many other environmental and safety issues for ECE programs are outside the scope of ATSDR’s mandate and this manual. For example, physical hazards on a site, such as open bodies of water, protection from the sun, second-hand smoke, or pedestrian safety, are not addressed. Many of these other health and safety issues are addressed in Caring for Our Children Basics: Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education Settings  from ACF [3] and by guidance produced by other groups, such as the Children’s Environmental Health Network.  Please see Appendix A for more information.