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[IDEM] State recognizes Evansville child care facilities for meeting environmental safety standards
Start Date: 12/9/2013 All Day
End Date: 12/9/2013
Entry Description

Several Evansville child care facilities are voluntarily going beyond what is required for licensing in order to provide a healthy environment for children.  They are members of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Five-Star Environmental Recognition Program for Child Care Facilities.

IDEM program manager Karen Teliha says the purpose of the Five-Star program is to promote healthy development in young children by keeping them safe from environmental health threats.

“Young children are more vulnerable to many environmental hazards than are adults and the Five-Star program helps child care facilities understand and reduce these hazards,” said Teliha. 

In Vanderburgh County, Five-Star certified facilities Bethany Little Disciples Day Care Ministry, Mt. Pleasant Child Development Center, Parents Choice Child Care, St. Mark's Preschool, St. Vincent's Day Care Center, and USI Children's Learning Center have taken steps to reduce and eliminate hazards that can cause permanent, long term developmental problems in young children.

The program has three levels of membership and is completely voluntary. Each facility chooses the number of stars they’d like to apply for (one, three, or five). Applicants receive a lead risk assessment, radon test, on-site confidential assistance, and no idling signs from IDEM staff at no charge. Those accepted for membership receive a plaque, window clings, use of the Five-Star logo, and a quarterly mailing that includes materials such as posters, stickers, magnets, and brochures to distribute to families.

The following criteria are used to determine compliance with the Five-Star program:

One star level:

  • Complete a self assessment
  • Ensure the building is clean and well maintained
  • Provide hazard communication training for employees
  • Flush cold-water pipes 30 seconds daily before first use
  • Never store pesticides at the facility

Three star level:

  • Meet all one star requirements
  • Implement a 100 percent tobacco-free facility and grounds
  • Perform a radon test
  • Implement integrated pest management strategies
  • Check for lead hazards in water, soil, dust, and paint chips
  • Discourage idling vehicles near entrances/exits; and
  • Contact local utility company to identify PCB containing transformers

Five star level:

  • Meet all one and three star requirements
  • Remove any pets with fur or feathers
  • Implement a recycling program
  • Replace disposable utensils and plates with reusable dishware

Five Star members find that they are more aware of the environment.  At Bethany Little Disciples Day Care Ministry on Mill Road, director Alice Will says the program has given both her staff and students a new perspective on environmental responsibility. 

“We learned that it doesn’t take much time or effort for a cleaner and more efficient environment,” said Will.

At USI Children’s Learning center, in addition to removing air fresheners, they switched from disposable to reusable dishes. 

“It was an initial cost but now we don’t have to buy the disposable dishes and we’ve eliminated more than 90,000 Styrofoam plates and cups each year from our trash” said director Amanda Wheaton-Collins. 

IDEM staff conduct site visits every three years to verify criteria are being met.  In addition, they offer suggestions to reduce exposures to lead, pesticides, mercury, and other environmental hazards that can impact a child’s development and cause long-term health impacts.

For more information about the Five-Star Environmental Recognition Program for Child Care Facilities, visit Program manager Karen Teliha can be reached at (317) 233-5555 or, and Dave Abel in IDEM’s Southwest Regional Office can be reached at (812) 380-2303 or

About IDEM
IDEM ( implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and our environment.


Contact Information:
Name: Dan Goldblatt
Phone: (317) 232-8499
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Business & Agriculture
  • Agency Name
    Environmental Management, Indiana Department of

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