Using Data to Identify Early Childhood Education Programs at Increased Risk after Hurricane Harvey

Empty childcare center classroom.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) uses the Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education (CSPECE) Disaster Recovery Supplement to protect children. LDH helped ensure more than 1,000 children attending early care and education (ECE) programs in Hurricane Harvey-affected areas were protected from harmful exposures. Using a newly developed geographic information system and an ECE survey, LDH also identified ECE programs with increased environmental risks. With these tools, LDH identified 263 ECE programs in hurricane-affected areas that may have had private wells; these wells may be contaminated by bacteria, from flood water and other sources, which are harmful to children’s health.

LDH also provided CSPECE Disaster Recovery Supplement guidancepdf icon to 75 ECE programs, informing ECE providers about how to protect children from Hurricane Harvey related harmful exposures and how to prevent future harm from disasters yet to come. Complementing this work, 40 ECE programs used a Post Disaster Self-Assessment Form (PDSAF) to help identify environmental health hazards after the disaster. The PDSAF not only facilitates rapid screening of potential disaster-related health hazards; it also provides recommendations for protecting children against harmful environmental and chemical exposures during disaster recovery. LDH additionally educated city planners on CSPECE Disaster Recovery Supplement work and created online learning opportunities for developing policies to ensure that ECE programs are located in areas safe for children.

Page last reviewed: June 1, 2021