By: Marcus Smith and Luis Alvarado
At Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program, we work year-round to raise awareness about the impact of lead poisoning on children, which triggers poorer developmental and health outcomes with effects that linger for a lifetime. We also take extra steps to get our message out to children and families during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which ran from October 22-28.
We hosted community outreach events throughout the week at the Community Health Center at Connecticut Children’s primary care clinic on New Britain Avenue in Hartford. During such events, our lead safety experts greet families in the lobby as they wait for their children to see a primary care physician.
When we host outreach events like these, our goal is to educate families about the dangers of lead while also encouraging them to get children tested for lead poisoning during their primary care visit through a simple blood test. We also provide families with information about how they can get their homes tested for lead exposure, as well as other environmental or safety hazards.
Healthy Homes works with community partners; local and state agencies; and utilities to improve living conditions for the families we serve. We provide inspections for lead and safety hazards in homes, as well as plans to correct the problems. We also provide financial assistance for remediation and relocation assistance while the work is underway. To date, Healthy Homes has made more than 3,140 housing units lead safe and healthy.
Our services are now available to property owners and tenants in 17 Connecticut communities. Our eligibility requirements and application are accessible online.
Childhood lead poisoning is 100 percent preventable. The key is to educate families about the risks and empower them to recognize hazards in their homes and take steps to correct them.
Marcus Smith is the senior manager of Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program, which is a program of Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health.
Luis Alvarado is the program coordinator for Connecticut Children’s Healthy Homes Program.