Choose Safe Places Minnesota
Across the country, including Minnesota, child care and early education programs have been found in locations that could expose children and staff to environmental contamination.
Learn more about the National Choose Safe Places Initiative from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Choose Safe Places Minnesota is an initiative to identify and address potential environmental concerns at or around child care locations to protect children and providers from harmful substances.
Minnesota Department of Health staff are available to assist you in assessing your property or well water for environmental contaminants. We consider:
- Current and former uses of your property
- Businesses using harmful chemicals near your property
- The safety of your drinking water
Children may be exposed to harmful chemicals in the air they breathe, the water they drink, or the soil they touch or swallow. Because children are still growing and developing, they are uniquely susceptible to health threats from these exposures. Identifying and addressing potential environmental site hazards, especially before a child care program is licensed, can prevent and reduce harmful exposures to the children in your care. Take advantage of the Choose Safe Places Minnesota programs offered below!
Please note that while participation in either of these programs is voluntary, it may not be free. Should MDH recommend action be taken based on the possible presence of environmental hazards, MDH is not responsible for any cost incurred to address these issues. If at all possible, MDH will work with you and our Choose Safe Places Minnesota partners to defray any cost associated with efforts to reduce harmful exposures to children and providers.
To participate in a Choose Safe Places Minnesota program, please click either "Site Screening Program" or "Well Water Testing Program":
Choose the Site Screening Program if you are a:
- Prospective child care center owner/operator
- Current child care center owner/operator
- Family Child Care provider operating a program outside the home
Choose the Well Water Testing Program if you are a:
- Family Child Care provider with well water
- Child care center with well water
- MDH's Healthy Homes Minnesota provides information about different hazards and contaminants inside and around homes, and how to test for or prevent harmful exposures.
- The Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) works to promote healthier environments for children. Their award-winning Eco-Healthy Child Program provides training and best practices for creating a healthy child care environment.
- The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) provides further information about the nationwide Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education initiative.
- The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) provides a number of resources, services, and information for child care and early education providers: