|Spring Cleaning Right Down to the Paint
Spring has sprung in Pennsylvania (fingers crossed) and it’s time for a good spring cleaning.
Pennsylvania will soon be busy clearing thousands of homes of dangerous lead paint.
After a year of making the case to lawmakers with our partners in the PA Lead-Free Promise Project, the state House Democratic Caucus has allocated $10 million for lead remediation as part of $25.6 million in American Rescue Plan funds being released for new maternal and child health initiatives.
Children First formed the Lead-Free Promise Project, a nonpartisan advocacy coalition with more than 50 partners, to end lead paint poisoning statewide.
We know how dangerous lead paint is to young children. Lead poisoning causes brain damage, and behavioral and learning problems – problems that follow babies into school and through young adulthood.
“[Lead hazards] are a severe detriment to children’s health outcomes and opportunities, especially in poor and working-class communities and communities of color. We need to allocate these ARP funds to protect the health of our families now, and the future of our city and Commonwealth,” said Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (D-Phila).
To put the scale of this investment in lead poisoning prevention in context, when New Jersey set aside a nickel on the sales tax collected on the sale of paint, it generated about $10 million a year. The Lead-Free Promise Project managed to secure a comparable win without a tax increase! This funding puts PA on the map in a big way and we are working to pass legislation to make wins like this durable.
There is still more work to do since we have to get down to the nitty-gritty of how the $10 million will be distributed but it is decidedly a victory for children’s health and futures.
Thanks to the efforts of Rep. Morgan Cephas (D-Phila), there’s even more good news for kids. The additional $15.6 million is earmarked for maternal and child health, including 12 months of postpartum Medicaid coverage, new mom/new baby training, and healthy food programs. As a member of Thriving PA, a Pritzker Children’s Initiative coalition that focuses solely on perinatal and child health, we are eager to work with our health partners to get these desperately needed funds into communities across the Commonwealth.
We are overjoyed to bring you this good news especially as Pennsylvania families observe Ramadan, Passover, and Easter this weekend, important holidays that honor faith in a better future. These successes will bring better futures for so many children.
For all who celebrate, we wish you Ramadan Mubarak, Sameach Pesach, and Happy Easter.