Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Awards Mini-Grants to Child Care Programs

Nov 26, 2013, 13:55 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

Providing Healthier Environments for Pennsylvania's Children 

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Public Welfare, with funding from The Heinz Endowments, has awarded 39 mini-grants to child care programs to achieve higher quality environmental health standards, impacting more than 2,500 children.   

The $180,000 in Healthy & Green grants support environmental health improvements in child care programs, serving children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. The funding will help reduce and/or eliminate environmental health hazards that may exist in facilities, as well as educate children about the natural world.

"This program exemplifies the commitment Pennsylvania's child care providers demonstrate to ensure our children are learning in safe and healthy environments," said Secretary Beverly D. Mackereth. "We're excited about the interest in the program and look forward to the improvements that will be made as a result."

The majority of awardees will use grant funds to improve indoor air quality by improving ventilation systems, mitigating radon, and taking measures to prevent exposure to pollutants and other toxins. 

Locations that completed comprehensive environmental health professional development such as family child care homes, group child care homes, or child care centers participating in Keystone STARS, Pennsylvania's voluntary quality improvement program, were eligible to apply for awards up to $5,000.

"We know that environmental toxin exposure can have serious and negative impacts on children's development. Any efforts to prepare our children for success in school and in life must begin by ensuring their health and safety," said Heinz Endowments' Senior Director of Children, Youth & Families Marge Petruska.

Applications were based on the Children's Environmental Health Networks' Eco-Healthy Child Care Checklist© and the American Academy of Pediatrics' Caring for Our Children's National Health and Safety Performance Standards.

For more information about the initiative and a full listing of awardees, please visit:

Media contact: Kait Gillis, 717-425-7606

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare