DESCRIPTION OF THE STRATEGY
Protecting children in child care settings is an essential complement to preventing exposure in the home environment. Using collaborations between local child care providers, associations that represent their interests, and local housing or health agencies can ensure that child care homes (i.e. child care based in the private home of the caregiver) are renovated to provide a lead-safe and healthy environment in which children thrive.
Participating child care homes will have facilities that are lead-safe and healthier for children.
If a child care home has lead hazards, many children may become lead poisoned. Since the children served may not otherwise be considered at high risk for lead poisoning, they may not be identified under targeted screening programs. Reducing lead hazards in these facilities will benefit all of the children who use the child care homes’ services. Awareness of healthy homes approaches in the properties where their children spend time may prompt parents to consider like measures in their own homes. If child care homes are similar to all homes, they are almost twice as likely to have lead hazards than a licensed, non-home-based, child care center.
The owners of child care homes may be reluctant to address lead hazards given competing priorities. If competitors are marketing their lead-safe and healthy status, they may be more likely to address the issue. They may also be more willing to accept a lead-safe mandate if industry leaders have a model for success to allay fears.
Scope of Potential Impact
City - or - County - Wide
Specific (Targeted) Population
Child Care Providers
One FTE will be needed to establish and manage the program and conduct outreach to the proprietors of child care homes. The amount of time depends on the number of providers to be solicited to participate in the program. A small community might not need a full-time person while a large area with many unlicensed child care homes may need more staff.
Other resource requirements:
A strong association representing the child care providers, especially the home-based providers, is extremely helpful. The association can market the opportunity and provide the basic education needed to have willing and able participants.
Qualified personnel are needed to check for hazards and make repairs. In many states, a lead sampling technician can check for deteriorated paint and lead dust hazards. If the home is pre-1950 or lead hazards are suspected, a risk assessment should be performed to check for hazards and determine what is needed to make the property lead-safe. It would be beneficial if the sampling technician or risk assessor were familiar with asthma triggers and methods to reduce those sources since asthma is a significant concern for most child care providers. Contractors or workers trained to perform lead hazard control will be needed to perform the work. After work is completed the property must pass a clearance test (performed by a sampling technician in the 23 states where they are clearly authorized, or by a risk assessor).
Grant or loan money will probably be needed to fund the lead hazard control. The agency that administers the locality’s funds from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program is a possible source of funding. Funds awarded by HUD’s HOME, Healthy Homes, LEAP, and Lead Hazard Control Programs can also be used for child care homes if the household is income-eligible.
The program can begin quickly once funds are secured. While a collaborative team of stakeholders could be formed after funds are available, the team may have to be established in order to demonstrate capacity to implement the program and secure funding. Child care providers are busiest—and therefore unavailable—during August and September when children return to school and establish enrollment. Work may be scheduled during provider vacations to reduce relocation costs.
Moderate. The program is feasible if grant or loan funding is available. Expanding beyond lead hazards to address asthma triggers such as mold, cockroaches, and dust mites may increase acceptance by meeting the growing concern to families and caregivers. Therefore, the program needs to be able to deal with the most relevant mix of addressable environmental hazards. Relocation of the provider’s family and the child care business to a temporary location may need to be addressed.
If communities do not have a broader program to educate potential clients to consider lead safety and healthy homes issues in the selection of a child care home, the broader impact from competition will be lost.