|Healthy Kids Collaborative|
A Partnership with the Rhode Island Attorney General and the Children's Health Forum
The Healthy Kids Collaborative (HKC) is a statewide lead safety initiative in Rhode Island, funded by DuPont, and conducted as a partnership between the Children's Health Forum and Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, with the input and guidance of a commission of community leaders.
In June 2005, Attorney General Lynch reached agreement with the DuPont Company to disburse funding to Rhode Island to remediate lead hazards in 600 homes, increase public awareness of lead safety, and enhance enforcement of existing lead laws. The Attorney General convened an advisory commission of community advocates, health officials, and lead experts to help develop recommendations on how the funds can most effectively complement existing efforts and be integrated with Rhode Island communities and services.
Based on the recommendations of this advisory commission, HKC has begun to develop and implement a comprehensive, multi-year, multi-million dollar program that includes elements of education and outreach, training, remediation, and enforcement of lead safety regulations. The program will be designed with input from and the participation of local health advocates, state and city agencies, and care providers, and can serve as a model for other cities and states as an integrated, cost-effective, and comprehensive approach to lead safety and remediation.
HKC's objectives are to:
The six hundred homes will be selected from Rhode Island communities with the greatest needs, measured by such factors as: numbers of children with elevated blood levels; ages and numbers of children in each community; neighborhoods where the average income falls below the federal poverty guidelines; and older housing stock.
In 2007, CHF awarded more than $1.2 million in grants to six community-based organizations in Rhode Island for education and outreach. Grant awards went to Blackstone Valley Community Action Program; Childhood Lead Action Project; East Bay Community Action Program; St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island; Thundermist Health Center; and West Bay Community Action Program. CHF announced these grants at an event at St. Joseph's Hospital with Attorney General Patrick Lynch, CHF Board Members Kurt Schmoke and Olivia Morgan, CHF Executive Director Melanie Hudson, and Healthy Kids Collaborative Program Coordinator Barbara Baldwin.
Four of the grantees have instituted a statewide case management program providing assistance to 137 families with children whose blood lead levels fall between 10-14 ug/dL (lower than the state action level) during the first three quarters. One grantee is providing case management services for any family with a child with a lead level of 5 ug/dL or greater. Additional programs include partnerships with community organizations to ensure the availability of information on lead safety programs statewide. A variety of literature has been distributed through a number of venues including homebuyer classes, landlord classes, health fairs, home visits to at-risk residences, and outreach to pregnant and parenting teens.
In August 2008, HKC launched a lead-safe remediation pilot project in Providence in partnership with the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and CLEARCorps Rhode Island. The project made two housing units in one building lead safe and marked the completion of our first lead safe remediated properties. This pilot has served as a model for the full remediation program as well as provided valuable 'lessons learned.' On August 18, Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch and the Children's Health Forum provided a site tour of the pilot units and announced that HKC had issued a request for proposals for a lead safe remediation program that will bring up to 600 Rhode Island housing units in targeted communities to the current federal and state standards for lead safety.
The launching of the remediation phase of the program represented HKC's second major initiative and served as a milestone in the process of making Rhode Island a lead-safe model community. On December 17, 2008 Attorney General Lynch, the Children's Health Forum, and HKC announced that CLEARCorps USA has been selected to perform the lead remediation work and will receive an award of $6.7 million. CLEARCorps USA will be working in partnership with CLEARCorps Rhode Island, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Realty Endeavors for Affordable Community Housing (REACH), and the Childhood Lead Action Project to implement the program. An outreach program is in place to recruit eligible property owners from six targeted areas for remediation based upon program priorities.
In 2009, HKC has focused on getting the remediation project up and running with the successful completion of housing units. On June 29, 2009 a press event was held to highlight the progress of the HKC program. The event was held in Providence at a single family home that was undergoing remediation. Those attending included Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Dean Kurt Schmoke.