Leadership & Personal Development

Creating Healthier Children & Families in Hancock County

Program Name: Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Agency Partner: UT Extension (Anastasia Wheeler, UT Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent)

Community Partner: Hancock County

In 2015, when UT Extension first offered the internationally–acclaimed environmental program Eco-Healthy Child Care® to rural child care workers, Hancock County was ranked 94th of Tennessee’s 95 counties in their rural health outcomes.  Teachers who received this training focused on 11 environmental areas of concern to young children stressed that this was their first exposure to environmental health topics.  Helping these educators understand how to maintain their buildings and classrooms and how to choose toys and educational materials free from potential toxins will reap health benefits for years to come.  Moreover, the child care centers allowed UT Extension to present these same concepts to the parents of their children.  Healthier homes—and healthier child care centers--produce healthier families. Grant dollars for initiating the training were garnered through a competitive award from USDA/NIFA’s Rural Health and Safety Education Program.