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Section 4: Work with partners and stakeholders

To create an effective program for locating early care and education (ECE) centers safely, you’ll need cooperation from other state agencies and stakeholders. See tips, questions to ask staff, and more.

Tip: For a more comprehensive coverage of this material, see chapters 5 and 6 of Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education Guidance Manual.

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Collaborate with local agencies

Partners and stakeholders can provide essential support in building a Choose Safe Places program. Developing a connection with these groups — and possibly training them — can help build the capacity of your program. When developing your program, you may want to engage:

  • ECE inspectors
  • ECE licensing boards
  • ECE owners and operators
  • Planning and zoning officials (local, territorial, and tribal)
  • Health department officials (local, territorial, and tribal)
  • Environmental protection officials (local, territorial, and tribal)
  • Other stakeholders you’ve identified as part of your state program

Start a conversation

Reach out to contacts in other state and local agencies to learn more about current licensing, zoning, and inspection practices

Questions for ECE licensing agency staff

  • Is the licensing program based at the state, county, or local level?
  • How often are ECE programs inspected? By whom?
  • Would relicensing offer a good opportunity to begin implementing new standards?
  • How many ECE programs are licensed?
  • Are there any third party certifications for ECE programs?
  • Are there different categories of licensed ECE programs, such as family daycare, home daycare, child care facility, early learning centers, and child care centers?

Questions for zoning departments

  • Does an ECE program need local zoning approval?
  • What does a local zoning review process involve?
  • If/when an ECE program needs to come before a planning board for approval, what is required? What considerations are discussed?

Questions for other officials who might know about waste sites or local contamination

  • Does any agency maintain lists of ECE programs, hazardous waste sites, and other locations or facilities using harmful chemicals to see if they are located near each other? Are the locations geocoded?
  • Do facilities using hazardous chemicals (e.g. nail salons, dry cleaners, auto body shops) get inspected? How often?
  • How is a hazardous waste site identified, assessed and remediated?
  • Do policies or regulations exist to address proximity to potential environmental hazards when siting ECE programs? How is the policy or regulation administered? How is compliance demonstrated?
  • Has any agency created maps that show locations at risk for elevated levels of naturally-occurring contamination such as radon, arsenic, and asbestos?

Use tools for educating agencies and potential partners

ATSDR’s Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education developed these materials to help support Choose Safe Places programs and educate partners about their goals.

Fact Sheet [PDF – 262 KB]
Offer partners a quick overview of the goals of Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education

4 Steps for Building a Safe Siting Program Graphic [PDF – 565 KB]
Share this graphic to demonstrate how agencies can work together to improve licensing for child care centers

Set It Up Safe: Planning Tool [PDF – 520 KB]
Use this checklist to educate licensors in how to evaluate locations — in terms of environmental contamination — for new ECE centers

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