Two join, many renew participation in Five Star child care program
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is shining a spotlight on child care facilities that are taking extra measures to provide safe, healthy environments for the children in their care. IDEM’s Five Star Recognition Program for Child Care Facilities welcomes two new members and celebrates 17 facilities that have pledged continued participation in the voluntary program.
Children are more affected by pollution than adults because their organs are still developing, they are smaller, and they may be exposed to additional environmental threats as they play and explore their world. IDEM’s Five Star Recognition Program for Child Care Facilities helps child care providers take steps necessary to reduce and eliminate hazards that can cause permanent, long-term developmental problems in young children.
“The Five Star program helps give parents and child care facilities peace of mind that children are attending an environmentally healthy facility year around,” said IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly. More than 5,500 Hoosier children attend Five Star child care facilities that offer the extra measures of protection provided by the program.
Children’s Health Month and National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week are observed during October. “This month, let’s recognize all the Hoosier facilities that provide a safe place for children to learn, play and grow,” said Easterly.
Participants in the IDEM Five Star program earn one, three or five stars based on the measures they implement to manage environmental health issues and reduce children’s exposure to mercury, lead hazards, mold, asbestos, radon, pesticides, carbon monoxide, and PCBs.
The new Five Star facilities are:
• Teddy Bear Child Care, Muncie (5 stars)
• Tommy Wolfe Infant and Toddler Center, Vincennes (5 stars)
Renewing Five Star facilities are:
• Crosslight Christian School, Cicero (1 star)
• International Bilingual Learning, Carmel (3 stars)
• Bona Vista Programs- Early Head Start, Kokomo (5 stars)
• KCARC Civitan Children's Center, Vincennes (5 stars)
• Charlotte R. Riley Child Center, Hammond (3 stars)
• Small Blessings, Inc., Indianapolis (5 stars)
• Bona Vista Programs- Early Head Start, Peru (5 stars)
• Bloomington Developmental Learning Center, Bloomington (increase to 5 stars)
• Kendallville Day Care Center, two locations, Kendallville (5 stars)
• Little U Academy, Valparaiso (5 stars)
• Wee Care Child Development Center, two locations, Chesterton and Valparaiso (5 stars)
• New Pathways Preschool, Greencastle (3 stars)
• Jackson Street Kids Academy, Napoleon (5 stars)
• Mt. Pleasant Child Development Center, Evansville (3 stars)
• USI Children's Learning Center, Evansville (5 stars)
Applicants to the Five Star program receive a free lead risk assessment, radon test, on-site confidential assistance, and no-idling signs. Many Five Star members have started recycling programs, developed formal written plans for chemical management, reduced energy usage, and implemented no-idling zones. Membership in the program is reevaluated every two years.
For more information about the Five Star program, including a list of participating facilities, visit IDEM’s website at www.idem.In.gov/4180.htm. For membership information, child care facilities can contact Karen Teliha, IDEM’s Community and Environmental Health Coordinator, at (800) 988-7901.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency provides information on children’s health protection at http://yosemite.epa.gov/ochp/ochpweb.nsf/content/homepage.htm. Information about National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, from October 21 through 27, is posted at www.epa.gov/oppt/lead/pubs/lppw2012.htm.
Established in 1986, IDEM (www.idem.IN.gov) implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and the environment.