Georgia Safe Siting Program

What is the Georgia Safe Siting Program?

The Georgia Safe Siting Program (GSSP) uses education and awareness to help childcare center operators make safer siting decisions to protect staff and children from harmful environmental hazards and chemicals.

What is safe siting?

When exploring potential sites for a child care center, you may not be aware that children and staff can possibly come into contact with harmful chemical hazards such as arsenic, lead, pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in those locations. The location – or site – of a child care center can influence the types and amounts of chemical exposures to children while under care.

For safe siting, consider locating a property or building free from threat of potential exposures to hazardous chemicals. Do this before or early in the process of getting established and licensed.

What does safe siting include?

Even if child care centers meet current state licensing regulations, they may be located in places where children and staff can be exposed to environmental contamination.

There are 4 key elements to consider before choosing a location for a new child care center:

  1. Former use of the site. 
    Do you know if toxic chemicals were previously produced, used, stored, or disposed of at the proposed child care center location? 
  2. Nearby sites and activities. 
    Are you aware of any current use of toxic chemicals from neighboring businesses near the proposed child care center location?
  3. The presence of naturally-occurring hazards.
    Do potentially harmful, naturally-occurring substances exist on the property? Like radon or arsenic?
  4. Access to safe drinking water. 
    Does the site have a well that will be used for providing drinking water? Has this well been tested for drinking water quality standards? Is the water safe to drink?

Selecting the right location for your child care center is essential to protecting the health of children and staff, and minimizing the risk to your business. To screen your proposed child care center location complete an online Property History Questionnaire. Once received, our staff will review your responses, along with additional information about your proposed site, and provide you with a personalized report.

Screenings are available for Child Care Learning Center and Family Child Care Learning Home applicants. This includes operator applicants applying for a new license, and those submitting applications for a change in location or change in ownership.

Safe Siting Tools

Download this pdf file. Georgia Safe Siting Fact Sheet

Download this pdf file. Georgia Safe Siting Guidelines

Download this pdf file. ATSDR Exposure Pathways Infographic

Learn about the National Choose Safe Places Initiative from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Learn more about ATSDR's Choose Safe Places for Early Care and Education Initiative: Download this pdf file. CSPECE Fact Sheet

Learn about FREE testing for lead in drinking water through the  Download this pdf file. Clean Water for Georgia Kids  program. Available to licensed child care centers.

Additional Resources

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

Children’s Environmental Health Network

Prepared in cooperation with the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Last updated: 4/19/2022