Poverty & Safety Net
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New Groundwork Ohio report advocates for lead safe child care facilities

October 23, 2020
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On an October 13 webinar, Groundwork Ohio, an early childhood advocacy organization, unveiled its report called Building the Way to a Healthier Future. The report is a tool to advocate for lead safe policies within child care facilities in Ohio across the United States. Lynanne Gutierrez, assistant director and legal counsel for Groundwork Ohio, facilitated the webinar and introduced Wyonette Cheairs, manager of the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition. Cheairs explained the background of the lead crisis in Cleveland that led to the report. Then, Gutierrez gave a quick overview, which included the negative health effects of lead, current lead safe policies both in Ohio and the United States, and policy recommendations. Some findings of this report are:

 Child care providers are under-resourced and on average make $10.67 per hour.

Overall, the robust report and the webinar was very informative. Advocates can use the report to encourage state governments to invest more money in lead safe practices. However, it is imperative that child care providers, and families with children, become advocates as well because they are directly impacted by lead exposure. Most importantly, if people want to resolve the lead issue in child care settings, they must also consider tackling lead as an equity issue because child care providers are under-resourced and on average make $10.67 per hour. Another problem is some learning programs are placed in buildings that are not functional for child care (e.g. strip malls, limited windows for natural light, and small spaces for learning). If local and state legislators support lead safe practices throughout Ohio, then they should also make sure that child care facilities, and providers are adequately resourced to meet compliance demands. In general, a systems-thinking approach would help to end lead exposure in child care settings.

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