EHCC On-Site Assessment:
What is the Eco-Healthy Child Care (EHCC) on-site assessment?
The EHCC on-site assessment:
- Is a free walk-through of an EHCC-endorsed facility by trained EHCC staff
- Ensures that the EHCC endorsement is meaningful and valuable to endorsed facilities
- Was designed to specifically assess child care settings that are taking extra strides to protect children’s environmental health, as detailed by the EHCC checklist
- Was developed by Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) using questions from leading home and school environmental health assessment tools.
The EHCC on-site assessment is not:
- An unannounced or surprise visit
- A “gotcha” effort
- Connected with licensing, regulations, or other governmental activity.
What will the EHCC staff use to guide their on-site assessment?
In addition to working from the EHCC endorsement checklist, the EHCC staff will use a unique assessment tool that has been specifically developed for observing common environmental health hazards in child care settings.
This tool was developed by CEHN, using the best existing environmental health assessment tools for the home and for the school environment. It has been peer-reviewed and successfully tested by CEHN. The assessment does not involve taking samples or conducting tests in the facility.
Why does EHCC conduct on-site assessments?
Our on-site assessments serve as a quality control measure to confirm that the EHCC endorsement process is working properly.
As part of submitting a checklist for endorsement, a facility employee and an outside witness are required to verify that the information on their endorsement checklist is accurate. In other words, they “self-certify” that their facility meets the requirements for EHCC endorsement.
This self-certification makes the endorsement process easy, quick, and helps to keep costs down. The alternative -- to have an EHCC representative travel to every facility that is seeking endorsement -- would be extremely costly.
However, other programs that rely on self-certification have found that if they do not conduct some type of spot check, the self-certification becomes meaningless. Facilities could apply for, and receive, an endorsement that they do not deserve if they knew that no one would follow up on their application.
We learn from these on-site assessments and use this knowledge to improve EHCC.
Our on-site assessments provide additional value and meaning to the EHCC endorsement -- and increase parental peace of mind. Parents and other caregivers will have greater confidence in EHCC-endorsed facilities when they know that the EHCC program works hard to assure that endorsed facilities are indeed providing healthier environments for the children in their care.
Our on-site assessment tool provides us with data that we can use to study the effectiveness of EHCC and its component parts. All data that we collect are confidential.
My facility has been selected for an on-site assessment. What will happen?
Your facility’s staff will be notified at least 48 hours in advance of any visit. Only EHCC-endorsed facilities are considered for on-site assessments.
EHCC staff will arrange a time to come to your facility to meet with the person most knowledgeable about the EHCC checklist that you submitted to receive your endorsement -- probably the facility director or manager.
The EHCC representative will arrive at the agreed upon time, bringing with him/her a copy of your facility’s completed checklist.
The EHCC representative will meet and walk through the facility with the relevant staff, going over the checklist items. We will work from the 24+ practices that were indicated in your submitted checklist that qualified your facility for the EHCC endorsement.
The assessment visit should take no longer than 2-3 hours.
Upon completion of the site assessment, the EHCC staff will make a preliminary determination using one of three categories: acceptable/unacceptable/unsure.
After the site assessment, each facility will receive a post-visit report within 15 business days by e-mail summarizing the assessment.
How will my facility be assessed?
An on-site assessment will likely fall into one of these three categories:
Acceptable: The facility clearly meets EHCC requirements, complying with 24 (or more) of the items they indicated on their submitted checklist, including the 3 mandatory items. The facility will receive a golden seal (that can be applied to the EHCC endorsement certificate) for successfully passing the on-site walk through. The EHCC post-visit report will describe the visit and may offer additional suggestions for further improvements.
Unsure: The facility appears to be close to, but is not completely, meeting EHCC requirements. For example, it may be meeting 22, instead of 24, best practice points, or not complying with all 3 mandatory items. The EHCC post-visit report will make recommendations as to how the facility can adjust purchasing and practices to maintain its EHCC endorsement. The facility will be asked to submit documentation to EHCC (within 90 days of receiving the post-visit report) illustrating the changes they have made to comply with EHCC’s endorsement criteria. Documentation could include a copy of the facilities dated and signed policy statement regarding the specific non-compliant practice(s) identified in the post-visit report. Once the aforementioned is accomplished, they will receive a golden seal (that can be applied to the EHCC endorsement certificate) for successfully passing the on-site walk through.
Unacceptable: The facility falls short of complying with EHCC’s endorsement requirements. For example, it meets less than 20 practice points, rather than the 24 required, or it is not complying with all 3 mandatory items. The EHCC post-visit report will describe the reasons for the unacceptable site assessment and will direct the facility to immediately halt the use and reference of its EHCC endorsement certificate. The facility will be immediately removed from the list of endorsed EHCC facilities. If the facility is interested in re-attaining their EHCC endorsement, the facility will be asked to submit documentation to EHCC (within 90 days of receiving the post-visit report) illustrating the changes they have made to comply with EHCC’s endorsement criteria. Documentation could include a copy of the facilities dated and signed policy statement regarding the specific non-compliant practice(s) identified in the post-visit report. The facility will then be asked to complete and submit a new checklist.