Eco-Healthy Child Care®  Partners

Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) partners help ensure child care facilities are healthy and safe by working with early learning providers to reduce children’s exposure to environmental hazards like unsafe plastics and pesticides. Partner activities include supporting providers in adopting eco-healthy best practices via training, resource sharing, and becoming an endorsed provider.

EHCC Partners:

Women for a Healthy Environment (click to expand):

Women for a Healthy Environment has offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We educate and empower community members to act as ambassadors about environmental risks so they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families. Our three main program areas are healthy homes, healthy early learning, and healthy schools. In addition, we advocate for policies that better protect public health at the local, state, and federal levels.

Throughout the early learning program, we focus on reducing the presence of toxins in the learning environment. In Pittsburgh, our 1000 Hours a Year program is helping childcare centers in Allegheny County address hazards, like lead and radon, to keep children healthy and safe in the places they learn, with support from grant funding and technical assistance. In Philadelphia, the EPA Children’s Healthy Learning Environments in Low-Income and/or Minority Communities grant is recruiting 200 early learning providers to become endorsed as Eco Healthy®, also focusing on indoor air monitoring, surveying about the impacts of climate change and assessing statewide policies and training opportunities to assure healthy early learning environments for all.

We are bringing the Eco-Healthy Child Care® Endorsement to early learning centers through one-on-one consultations with program directors for 90 minutes to educate them about the topics in the checklist and how the health of the children and staff will benefit from different choices and behavior changes within their facility. We provide early learning programs with educational materials, resources, and more learning opportunities to continue education beyond the Eco-Healthy Child Care® Endorsement. The program continues to grow in southwestern PA and Philadelphia.

Helen R. Walton Children's Enrichment Center (click to expand):

The Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center is a Northwest Arkansas nonprofit organization providing high-quality early childhood education for children aged six weeks to pre-kindergarten. In 2014, Grayson, a two-year-old attending HWCEC was diagnosed with non-hereditary leukemia. Could this be linked to exposure to toxicants in everyday products? Toxics are in the majority of the products we use every day and in building materials, and most chemicals in use have never been independently tested for safety. Armed with this information, it was time to design a first-of-its-kind: a healthy child care campus focused on eliminating toxicants and chemicals for the health of young children. As a result, we are the first healthy early childhood campus in the nation. We will also share our knowledge and understanding of why these chemicals are problematic and how providers can reduce exposures through best practices, such as wiping feet at entranceways and opening windows, so the facility can be healthily maintained in perpetuity.

University of Maryland (click to expand):

The Community Public Health Environment Initiative at the University of Maryland School of Nursing provides health oversight for children and families served by Baltimore City Early Head Start (EHS), Head Start (HS), and Family Support Centers (FSCs). Graduate and undergraduate nursing students, under the supervision of licensed faculty and staff, conduct well-child physical exams and health screenings, as well as education.

Specific programs include Health Screenings; Health history, and chart reviews); Eco-Healthy Child Care® endorsements for EHS and HS centers; Medication administration training; Identification of high-risk children, development of care plans, and referrals for follow-up care; and Ongoing education for EHS, HS, and FSC staff.

We collaborate with child care facilities, namely those that are focused on vulnerable low-income populations because these children experience gaps in health care and unmet health/social needs that impact their ability to learn and thrive. HS and EHS programs provide these children with support and services for healthy development.

Our method for implementing the EHCC® checklist and training in the HS, EHS, and FSC has been to do an initial walk-through with the checklist noting areas of strength and improvement, providing technical assistance and recommendations and time to make changes, and then reassessing four to six weeks later. We also conduct group training and individual instruction.

All Our Kin (click to expand):

All Our Kin is a national nonprofit organization that trains, supports, and sustains family child care providers. Our mission to transform the nation’s child care system results in a triple win: child care educators succeed as business owners; working parents find stable, high-quality care for their children; and children gain an educational foundation that lays the groundwork for achievement. Our key programs that support Family Child Care are Educational Coaching, Business Coaching - Business Series, Toolkit (comprehensive supports with licensing), Policy (federal, state, and local), and support.

Family Child Care is essential. All Our Kin serves nearly 1,100 family child care providers, who in turn educate and care for over 6,000 children from chronically under-resourced communities in Connecticut and New York City. In addition to our direct service program, we train and advise partner organizations across the country to strengthen their engagement and practice with family child care providers.

We have offered Eco-Healthy Child Care® ‘s Protecting Children’s Environmental Health e-course to our staff members to prepare them to support our family child care educators. We are planning on offering this same training to our All Our Kin NY educators.

National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (click to expand):

The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) maintains Caring for Our Children (CFOC). CFOC is a collection of national standards that represent the best practices, based on evidence, expertise, and experience, for quality health and safety policies and practices for today's early care and education settings.

The NRC provides over 600 “gold standard” health and safety guidelines for early care and education settings, public health professionals, health care professionals, community partners, government agencies, and educators. Child care regulations vary from state to state. The CFOC standards represent the best evidence, expertise, and experience in the country on quality health and safety practices and policies that should be followed in today’s early care and education settings.

Partnering with Eco-Healthy Child Care® provides opportunities to develop, improve, and disseminate best practices for providing children with a safe and healthy learning environment.

National Association for Regulatory Administration (click to expand):

NARA's mission is to "promote the health and safety of children and adults in regulated settings," while our vision is "Consumer Protection Through Prevention." NARA is an international non-profit professional association founded in 1976 representing all human care licensing, including adult residential and assisted living, adult day care, child care, and child welfare.

Our key programs include providing training and consultative services to states, provinces, and federal agencies that include assistance reviewing, updating, and revising rules, regulations, and statutes, data analyses of their licensing review results to include key indicators and differential monitoring, and development of interpretive guidelines for licensing rules, to name a few.

Supporting child care facilities through regulation and licensing is a key part of our work at NARA. We believe that a healthy environment for all children is also intricately aligned with our mission statement regarding health and safety in regulated settings. Most recently, NARA invited Eco-Healthy Child Care® staff to be a part of the team reviewing and developing state child care standards for both child care centers and family child care programs. EHCC's involvement brings the subject matter expertise they provide related to creating healthy environments for children in care into the regulatory language. NARA also continues to participate in the EHCC advisory committee and assists in distributing updated and relevant information pertaining to healthy environments to regulatory and licensing professionals

National Center for Healthy Housing (click to expand):

Founded on the premise that better housing is a powerful platform for better health, NCHH’s mission is “transforming lives by transforming housing.” NCHH serves as a highly regarded and credible change agent, successfully integrating healthy housing advocacy, research, and capacity-building by convening and leading the healthy homes movement, conducting practical research and evaluation into housing innovations that improve health, translating and disseminating credible science into useful tools, equipping and mobilizing communities into action to create healthier home environments, garnering broad cross-sectoral support for better housing, and advocating for and with routinely marginalized populations.

In our 2020-2025 strategic plan, NCHH recognizes the need to create a more inclusive definition of what constitutes a home environment. Serving children under five for 40 or more hours a week, home-based child care facilities are crucial settings for exposure to lead and other environmental hazards and serve as a major but largely untapped public health opportunity to prevent lead and other environmental health risks to large numbers of children.

Since 2018, NCHH, CEHN, and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) have been working together in a one-of-a-kind collaboration to provide science-based, public health-focused lead prevention resources and technical assistance to home-based child care professionals. We built upon CEHN’s strong and existing partnership with NAFCC and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) to embed lead poisoning prevention best practices into NRC’s national health and safety standards and into NAFCC national accreditation standards for home-based child care facilities. Working with CEHN, NCHH secured funding so the partners can provide virtual learning sessions and offer EHCC’s Protecting Children’s Environmental Health e-course and a train-the-trainer course at no charge to a network of racially diverse home-based child care provider leaders.

National Association for Family Child Care (click to expand):

The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) is dedicated to advancing the field of family child care by connecting practice, policy, and research to support high-quality early care and education provided in home-based settings. Our mission involves promoting the power of family child care (FCC) by offering opportunities for providers to enhance their knowledge and businesses through membership, providing nationally recognized accreditation, and advocating for the needs of the FCC workforce.

We are targeting child care facilities, especially family child care because they play a critical role in the child care industry and economy. FCC programs are known for their flexibility, accessibility, and cultural continuity, making them an essential choice for many families, particularly those from diverse, low-income, and culturally rich backgrounds. They are also instrumental in meeting the ever-changing needs of working families, even during non-traditional hours.

To bring Eco-Healthy Child Care®'s mission and programs to the child care field, NAFCC has been actively involved in preventing environmental hazards in family child care for over five years. We have partnered with Eco-Healthy Child Care® and the National Center for Healthy Housing to address lead poisoning in family child care, resulting in the development of a Lead-Safe Toolkit for child care providers. Additionally, we are part of the Early Years Climate Change Task Force, highlighting the unique vulnerabilities of young children to long-term climate change.