Texas City of Austin Permitting Pilot Project
Summary: The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) developed a pilot project with the City of Austin to address environmental health issues in early childcare. This included changes in the city’s permitting processes to help keep children safe from environmental contamination.
A goal of the DSHS Safe Siting program is to develop a method for cities to manage Safe Siting activities on their own. DSHS program staff met with the City of Austin employees, including members of Development Services, Environmental Health, and Brownfield Remediation sections. DSHS provided information and resources for children’s environmental health and the city shared the processes for environmental inspections.
DSHS has developed a strong relationship with Austin’s Development Services. The City of Austin Development Services assists business owners when they build, remodel, or perform any type of construction. Austin is in the process of adjusting its policies to protect daycares from hazardous environmental exposures. These proposed changes will help ensure that future childcare facilities are screened against the Safe Siting map that DSHS created. DSHS is also receiving feedback from to improve the pilot program. DSHS will provide the City of Austin with future training sessions.