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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Children's Health Protection Grants for Communities

Farm and colorful fields

In 2011, EPA awarded a total of more than $350,000 in grants to four organizations to support projects that address children's environmental health in under served Pacific Southwest communities. Through the EPA Children's Environmental Health Capacity Building Grant Program, Region 9 grant recipients – Farmworker Justice, the UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health, Californian's for Pesticide Reform, and the Sonora Environmental Research Institute – were able to reach over 10,000 parents, child care providers, farm workers, and children about ways to identify and reduce environmental exposures in homes, child care centers, and communities.

Farmworker Justice

Healthy Fields, Healthy Kids Project
Farmworker Justice logo

Through the Healthy Fields, Healthy Kids Project, Farmworker Justice worked with community farmworker organizations in California, Arizona, and Florida to provide education and outreach to farmworker families to improve children's environmental health. Farmworker Justice published its Clean Environment for Healthy Kids curriculum in English and Spanish. This curriculum addresses lead poisoning prevention and residential and take-home pesticide exposures. Farmworker Justice trained 30 promotoras to recognize and reduce environmental health hazards. These promotoras were able to provide important children's health information to over 5,600 farmworkers in California, Arizona, and Florida in a culturally competent manner, using Spanish or other indigenous languages. Moreover, Farmworker Justice helped partner organizations to: 1) strengthen ties with local community health centers and other primary healthcare providers; 2) increase referrals to clinics that can assist farmworkers with prevention and treatment of injuries and illnesses related to environmental hazards; and 3) contribute to the cultural competency of local health clinics providing services to farmworker patients.

Farmworker Justice is a nonprofit organization that works to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions. For more information about Farmworker Justice, please see the Farmworker Justice websiteExiting EPA (disclaimer)

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Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR)

Building Community Capacity to Monitor, Track, and Address Environmental health Hazards and Improve Children’s Environmental Health Outcomes in California’s San Joaquin Valley Project
Sonora Environmental Research Institute logo

To address children’s environmental health issues in California’s San Joaquin Valley, CPR worked with more than 15 partners to improve enforcement of environmental health laws by creating partnerships between community members and local agencies in Kern and Fresno counties. The grant project combined online reporting of problems with the regular convening of multi-stakeholder task forces to address these reports. A web-based, county-wide environmental hazard reporting tool and task force was established for each county. The Kern Environmental Enforcement Network (KEEN) Exiting EPA (disclaimer), established in February 2012, has received 75 reports as of November 2013 and successfully resolved or addressed 41. The Fresno Environmental Reporting Network (FERN) Exiting EPA (disclaimer), established in October 2012, has received 58 reports and resolved or addressed 16. CPR gave nine trainings on KEEN to community groups and leaders in Kern County, and another eight on FERN to community groups and leaders in Fresno County. CPR-trained groups/community leaders then led fourteen additional trainings with local residents about how to recognize and report environmental health hazards. CPR distributed information about protecting children from environmental risks and more than 4,000 KEEN/FERN “how to report” business cards, 1,700 factsheets, and 1,000 KEEN/FERN brochures.

CPR is a statewide coalition of more than 185 member groups whose mission is to improve and protect public health, sustainable agriculture, and environmental quality. For more information about CPR, please see the CPR websiteExiting EPA (disclaimer)

Sonora Environmental Research Institute (SERI)

Community-Based Healthy Childcare Program
Sonora Environmental Research Institute logo

SERI's Community-Based Healthy Childcare Program expanded SERI's existing Healthy Homes program to address environmental, health, and safety hazards in childcares. The Community-Based Healthy Childcare Program provides childcare education, assessments and inspections for Head Start programs and small in-home childcare providers in Tucson, Arizona. The Program addresses multiple environmental, health and safety hazards in childcares and increases the community's capacity to reduce children's environmental exposures. SERI partnered with the Tucson Fire Department for this grant project. During this project, SERI developed a healthy childcare training class and trained 47 promotoras. In addition, SERI developed a healthy childcare training class for childcare providers and parents. In collaboration with the Tucson Fire Department, healthy childcare training was provided to over 1,300 parents and childcare staff as well as 500 children in 76 programs. Furthermore, SERI completed 211 childcare health and safety inspections and assessments, and distributed 211 healthy childcare kits. Kits include smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, child-proofing supplies, first aid kits, grab bars and other items. SERI referred healthy homes cases to the City of Tucson Lead Hazard Control Program and continues to follow up on these cases. Moreover, SERI developed a Healthy Childcare Certification of Completion Program that recognizes providers who maintain a healthy and safe childcare environment. Childcare providers who apply for this program receive a hazard evaluation, fire inspection, information related to environmental risks and childcare, and healthy childcare kits. Seventeen providers have obtained the certificate of membership as of November 2013. Additionally, SERI drafted a Children's Environmental Health Strategic Plan to help guide efforts to reduce children's environmental exposures in the Tucson, Arizona area.

SERI is a nonprofit organization that provides unbiased research and technical assistance on environmental issues to identify solutions to environmental problems based on a sustainable future. For more information about SERI, please see the SERI website Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

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UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH)

Center for the Health Assessment Of the Mothers and Children of Salinas Expansion
Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) Logo

Through this grant project, CERCH expanded its community engagement activities as part of the Center for the Health Assessment of the Mothers and Children of Salinas Expansion (CHAMACOS) community/university partnership. CERCH intensified engagement with low-income Latino families in Salinas, and expanded its work to State agencies and other California counties. CERCH provided over 50 trainings about pesticides, healthy childcares, and healthy homes to over 1500 parents, childcare providers, and children. In addition, CERCH trained 26 community leaders on pesticide safety. Several of these community leaders delivered presentations at the Regional Migrant Education meeting in Monterey County and the Statewide Migrant Education meeting in Los Angeles. In addition to providing face-to-face trainings, CERCH updated and translated its prenatal environmental health kiosk. The kiosk is currently available in English and Spanish and includes information about pesticides, flame retardants, phthalates, and bisphenol-A. During the grant period, the CERCH website received 15,000 unique visitors, with hundreds of visitors attributed to the online resource center. CERCH worked with the Region 9 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units to develop pediatric environmental health training for school nurses, child care providers, and community health workers.

CERCH strives to understand and reduce the risk of environmental threats to children's health, locally and globally. For more information about CERCH and CHAMACOS, please visit the CERCH websiteExiting EPA (disclaimer)

Children may be more vulnerable to environmental threats than adults because they receive proportionately larger doses of environmental toxicants, their behavior such as crawling and hand-to-mouth activity lead to unique exposures, and their organs and tissues are rapidly developing which make them particularly susceptible to chemical insults. Protecting children's health from environmental risks is fundamental to EPA's mission. The grant awards represent EPA's commitment to promoting community-based actions to protect children's health. Please see the Office of Children's Health website for more information on the awarded children's environmental health grants.

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