Recap of Our May 2017 Joint Coalition Meeting

Our final Joint Coalition meeting of the program year last week was a great success! With the help of our 41 participants and expert guest speakers, the Partnership’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes team discussed important updated information regarding healthy homes and related topics. We would like to thank the guest speakers: Jennifer N. Rosen Valverde, Esq., Siobhan Pappas, and Erica Vasquez for providing valuable information that everyone can use to strengthen the community’s knowledge base. We are hoping to take what we’ve learned at this meeting and use these insights to provide even better services to the mothers and children of northern New Jersey.

In case you were unable to attend, here are some highlights from the meeting:

Healthy Homes Bags Success

Our healthy homes bags, which were created to promote lead exposure prevention and healthy home maintenance, among clients of home visitation services across northern NJ, have been put to good use! So far, 51 home visitation workers, including supervisors have been trained on healthy home practices and 457 (of the 500 available) bags have been distributed to 8 home visitation programs serving northern New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties). The 43 remaining bags will be distributed no later than June 30th.

HUD adds 8th Healthy Homes Principle

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has added “Thermally Controlled” as an 8th principle for Healthy Homes. The eight principles for a healthy home are keeping it: dry, clean, safe, well-ventilated, pest-free, contaminant-free, maintained, and thermally controlled. You can view more information about these principles on the HUD website here.

Learning Lead-related Education Law and Policy

One of our guest speakers was Jennifer N. Rosen Valverde, Esq., MSW, a Clinical Professor of Law at Rutgers University and Legal Director for H.E.A.L Collaborative – an education and health law clinic. She shared important lead-related education law and policy, and helped us better understand important questions including:

  • What legally defines a “child with a disability”?
  • What is special education?
  • When is a child eligible for special education services?

Valverde also discussed lead exposure and poisoning as well as educational supports and services. She said that schools should continue to educate school personnel and parents on the common sources and health risks of lead exposure. They should also monitor students identified as having experienced lead exposure. She shared with us information on the Early Intervention Program (EIP) and what services are available should parents or caretakers need to receive help from EIP.

Leave Lead Behind with Lead Abatement Grants

Our second speaker, Siobhan Pappas of the New Jersey Department of Health, discussed available grants for assistance in home lead abatement. Once a child has been detoxified after having an elevated blood lead level, abatement is required and remediation is not an option. Some of the lead abatement funds are the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Plan (LBPHC) Program, Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Program (LHRD), and Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants.

Siobahn Pappas of NJ Dept of Health Speaking

Manage Allergies and Asthma the Right Ways!

As May was National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, Erica Vasquez of the New Jersey American Lung Association also joined us to speak about asthma management in childcare settings. She discussed characteristics and symptoms of asthma, asthma triggers, and control strategies. Her discussion also provided us with a better understanding of the value of using an Asthma Action Plan and how to respond to breathing emergencies.

Going Statewide

Thank you again to all meeting participants and guest speakers who took the time to meet with us and address these important issues. As of now, we are working along with the NJ Department of Health as well as the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium and the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative to plan a statewide lead conference for September 14, 2017 in Edison, NJ.  Keep checking back for updates as we make further developments.

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