EPA Region VI Supports Eco-Healthy Child Care® Program Expansion into Texas

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The Children’s Environmental Health Network has received an EPA Region VI grant for the expansion of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® Program into Texas

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CEHN will support and educate Texas child care professionals as they work to prevent children’s exposure to the range of environmental hazards commonly found within child care facilities.

The Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) is excited to announce that it has received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region VI. With this funding, CEHN plans to expand the national Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program into the state of Texas.

EHCC protects children’s environmental health by partnering with child care professionals to eliminate or reduce environmental health hazards found in and around early child care facilities. Specific objectives include: educating child care providers about how to provide environmentally healthy settings; helping them implement low and no-cost changes in practices and purchasing; endorsing providers who commit to reducing children’s exposure to toxics; and promoting qualified facilities to parents. The award-winning program was launched by Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) in 2005, went national in 2008, and was transferred to CEHN in 2010.

An essential component of the EHCC program is its Train the Trainer (TtT) sessions. EHCC’s 5-hour TtT session educates child care professionals about reducing environmental health concerns within child care settings; participants include child care trainers, health/nurse consultants, and licensing staff. After having attended an EHCC TtT session, the day-to-day interactions of these professionals with child care providers, whether a licensing visit, consultation, or local training, facilitates the transfer of knowledge from respected advisor to provider. While TtT sessions have already been successfully conducted in 25 other states, CEHN looks forward to supporting child care professionals within the state of Texas.

The primary objective of this grant is to conduct EHCC’s TtT session for up to 50 child care professionals in Dallas and Austin. We are hopeful that these efforts will encourage: increased interest in reducing children’s exposure to environmental health hazards within the child care setting, and participation in EHCC’s endorsement program. Additionally, with the EPA grant, CEHN will conduct a limited number of on-site assessments within Texas child care facilities that are endorsed by the EHCC program. These site assessments help to ensure provider compliance and commitment.

“Eco-Healthy Child Care® is coming to Texas! I’m excited about the potential of this grant for creating healthier early care and learning settings in Texas. Thanks to EPA Region VI for making this possible,” said EHCC National Director Hester Paul. “More than 20 states have welcomed our Train the Trainer program, and we’re proud that 99% of participants would recommend this training to their colleagues. I look forward to working with Texas’ child care professionals to better protect children from common environmental health hazards.”

By expanding EHCC into the state of Texas, CEHN will support and educate Texas child care professionals as they work to prevent children’s exposure to the range of environmental hazards commonly found within child care facilities. In turn, the grant will compliment CEHN’s mission to promote a healthier environment for all children. CEHN is grateful for the support provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region VI.

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Hester Paul
Children’s Environmental Health Network
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