Risks In Early Childhood, Such As Lead Exposure, Highlight Need For Comprehensive Services
Jun 02, 2008
Young children who experience exposure to lead are more likely to have poor outcomes as adults, according to studies profiled in a recent Washington Post article. Previous studies found have found lead exposure in childhood linked to anti-social behavior, lower IQ, attention deficits, and hyperactivity. A new paper reports that higher blood lead concentrations in young children increased their overall arrest rate and arrests for violent offenses as adults. This study began in 1979 and tested blood lead levels of pregnant women and young children living in Cincinnati neighborhoods with older housing. Today, many low-income, inner-city neighborhoods still contain housing with lead paint.
Low-income children need comprehensive health and developmental services to identify and treat conditions that negatively affect their growth and development, such as exposure to lead. Head Start Program Performance Standards require that children attending Head Start and Early Head Start receive a comprehensive screening within 45 days of entering the program. Within 90 days, Head Start and Early Head Start grantees must work with parents to determine that each child has an ongoing source of continuous, accessible health care, and is up-to-date on appropriate care and services. If health and/or developmental concerns are identified, Head Start and Early Head Start staff members work to coordinate follow-up, treatment, and ongoing care for the children.
All children need healthy and safe environments where they can grow. Children living in lead-contaminated environments need health treatment as well as the removal of lead from their home. More low-income children need the comprehensive services that Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide.