Child Care Centers and Education Facilities – Documentation and Preliminary Assessment

Posted on February 27th, 2017

Due to the various regulatory agencies involved in the Child Care Center (CCC) and Educational Facility (EF) licensing process, it can be confusing and overwhelming to navigate the requirements.  Thankfully, on February 8, 2017, the NJDEP released its new “Technical Guidance for Investigating Child Care Centers and Educational Facilities.” The document is intended to provide LSRPs and other interested parties with an overview of the environmental requirements for CCCs/EFs. EFs include private, public, and/or charter school requirements. Among other things, the guidance provides clarification on the legal aspects of the remediation and licensing, as it pertains to the three organizations involved – Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Health (DOH), and Department of Environmental Protection(DEP).

The legislation that drives this guidance is the Madden Legislation, and it requires two tracks for licensing.  The first is the clearance of the indoor environment, as governed by the DOH. The second is the clearance of real property, governed by the DEP and the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) of record for the site.  The DCF is the agency that ultimately issues the license, and requires compliance with the Manual of Requirements for Child Care Centers. The Manual requires an applicant to address many things, including radon gas, lead paint, site contamination, an indoor environmental health assessment (IEHA), the facility water supply, a safe building interior, and asbestos.  As part of the application, the Manual also requires the following three items:

  1. Letter of prior use – issued by the local municipality, this letter will indicate whether the property was previously used for a potential high-hazard purpose (i.e. funeral home, dry cleaner or nail salon, factory/industrial use, gas station, storage/warehouse).
  2. Safe building interior certification – issued by a licensed indoor environmental consultant when one of four conditions are met. The conditions include a high-hazard prior use designation, constructed before 1978, collocated with dry cleaner/nail salon, or known contamination.
  3. Response Action Outcome (RAO) – issued by an LSRP, and documents that any contamination at a site has been remediated. The RAO can either be supported by a Preliminary Assessment, or by a prior Child Care Facility Care Approval (CCFA) or No Further Action (NFA) letter, provided it can be attested to that no conditions have changed since the documents were issued.

The following information focuses primarily on the clearance of the real property and the requirements of the NJDEP.  For more about DOH and DCF requirements, please refer to this blog post.

As noted above, in most cases an RAO is required for a CCC/EF license application.  And, in most cases, a Preliminary Assessment (PA) will be required to support the RAO.  The RAO can be issued for either an entire site or the child care portion of the facility (i.e. leasehold area), and the PA is conducted accordingly.  Regardless, the PA is to be conducted in accordance with the NJDEP Technical Guidance for Preliminary Assessment.   There are many requirements for the PA, and some specific requirements that are pertinent to the CCC / EF include:

  1. List of applicable use designations for past operations
  2. Copy of the Certificate of Occupancy
  3. Discussion and documentation supporting a clean drinking water source
  4. Evaluation of all site utilities
  5. Documentation pertaining to CEA or deed notices that exist on the site
  6. Detailed assessment of neighboring sites and potential for contamination
  7. Maps detailing adjoining units/businesses in a multi-tenant building (i.e. strip mall), adjoining properties with the potential to impact the CCC/EF property, and surface media details (i.e. paved/unpaved areas)

For information on site investigation requirements for CCCs and EFs, as well as example scenarios, please continue reading the next blog, linked here: Child Care Centers and Education Facilities – Site Investigation and Example.

Through collaboration with the NJDEP and other licensing agencies, JM Sorge, Inc. has helped dozens of CCC and EF owners obtain and maintain their license. JMS is experienced in completing Preliminary Assessments and Site Investigations required for child care licensure, and is also licensed by the NJDOH to conduct Indoor Environmental Health Assessments. Please contact us at 908-218-0066 or for a Child Care Center/Educational Facility environmental evaluation.

Jim Vander Vliet, PE, LSRP

Senior Manager

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