Children with toxic lead exposure will soon have fewer roadblocks to qualify for Ohio’s Early Intervention program.
State lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review today paved the way for the Department of Developmental Disabilities to automatically include children with elevated blood levels in the program. This will include children with a blood lead level of 5 micrograms per deciliter or higher, said Gabriella Celeste, the policy director of Case Western Reserve University’s Shubert Center for Child Studies.
Kids and parents will not have to take the extra step of getting an assessment from a doctor, said Celeste.
“The reason why this automatic eligibility is especially important is because effects of early lead exposure – you may not see it until a child is older. So as a result, these assessments conducted in young children may actually fail to identify a child who is at risk,” she said.
According to the state’s Early Intervention website, the system provides coordinated services to parents of young children with disabilities and developmental delays. The families of children with elevated lead levels will qualify for a range of support services as part of the program.
Governor DeWine also included more money for this program in his budget proposal, said Celeste. Those funds, however, will have to be approved by the state legislature.