The JPB Foundation Funds Initiative to Protect Children from Lead Exposures in Early Care and Education Environments
WASHINGTON, DC (November 3, 2020) – The JPB Foundation has awarded funding to the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), and the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) for a two-year project to help home and center-based child care professionals prevent children’s exposures to lead in paint, dust, water, soil, and consumer products entitled Getting Ahead of Lead: Creating Immediate Impact and Long-Term Systems Change for Home and Center-Based Early Learning Environments.
U.S. child care facilities care for over 11 million children younger than six years of age, served by approximately one million paid child care professionals. Many of these providers are unaware of the possible lead dangers in the child care setting or the permanent damage that may be caused by exposure to lead hazards.
There is no safe level of lead, and exposure to lead is especially harmful to young children, whose nervous systems are still developing. Lead exposure occurs more frequently among children from low-income households and children of color, largely due to exclusionary and often racist housing policies and reduced access to healthy food and medical care. Elevated blood lead levels in children contribute to IQ deficits and learning, behavioral, and attentional problems, making lead exposure a key factor in the educational achievement gap among children of different racial and socioeconomic groups.
The Getting Ahead of Lead project will reduce childhood lead exposure by equipping child care providers with the support needed to identify and address potential sources of lead in their child care environments through a combination of systems change, awareness-building, and capacity-building activities. The project builds upon the Lead-Safe Toolkit for Home-Based Child Care work underway by CEHN, NCHH, and NAFCC, which offers science-based lead poisoning prevention messages and sample policies to home-based child care providers. This combination of long-term systems change, integrated with short-term awareness raising and intermediate-term capacity-building activities, provide a powerful opportunity for impact today and for generations to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased attention about the role that environmental health plays in preventing disease. It has also placed extraordinary economic and social pressures on child care professionals. The Getting Ahead of Lead project will leverage these opportunities to equip child care providers with tools they need to ensure safe and healthy early learning environments for all children.
Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) is a national nonprofit organization, based in Washington, DC, that has been the leading voice and champion protecting children from environmental hazards for over 26 years. Among a variety of programs, CEHN is working to enact true transformation in the environmental health of children in child care through its Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program. EHCC is the sole national program working for the last nine years to educate, train, and support child care professionals on low- to no-cost actions they can take to improve the safety and health of their facilities by reducing exposures to environmental hazards.
Started in 1982, National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) is the only national association dedicated to promoting high-quality early childhood experiences in the unique environment of family child care programs. NAFCC works on behalf of the one million family child care providers operating nationwide and has members in nearly every state, and on U.S. military bases across the world. Since 1998, NAFCC has maintained and administered the only nationally recognized accreditation program for family child care providers. NAFCC is a nonprofit membership association with offices in Salt Lake City, UT, and the Washington, DC, metro area.
The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), based in Columbia, Maryland, is the preeminent national nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives by transforming housing. Since 1992, NCHH has served as a highly regarded and credible change agent, successfully integrating healthy housing advocacy, research, and capacity building under one roof to reduce health disparities nationwide.
The JPB Foundation’s mission is to advance opportunity in the United States through transformational initiatives that empower those living in poverty, enrich and sustain our environment, and enable pioneering medical research.