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The mission of Invest in Children is to mobilize resources and research to promote the well-being of all young children in Cuyahoga County.  We provide a continuum of targeted services, prenatal to kindergarten, for children and their families; build awareness; advocate; and measure our impact.  We aim to achieve equity in access to services and eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in child and family outcomes.  

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Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead poisoning happens when lead enters the body. Even at very low levels, lead can damage a child’s brain, cause behavior and learning problems, and slow growth. At very high levels, lead can cause seizures, coma and death.

Even though lead has been removed from gasoline and new paint, it is still found in many older homes, especially in paint, dust, and soil.

Who is at risk for lead poisoning?
  • Anyone can get lead poisoning, but it is most dangerous to children under six years of age.
  • Children ages one and two are at highest risk of lead poisoning because of their growing bodies. However, some children may not develop lead poisoning until they are three or four years old.
  • Lead poisoning can affect adults who work with lead in their jobs or hobbies.

Where is lead found?

  • Most childhood lead exposure comes from lead paint. Housing built before 1978 may contain lead paint. Lead paint becomes dangerous when it chips, flakes, peels, or chalks.
  • Most children get lead poisoning by swallowing paint chips, dust, or soil.
  • The most common sources in homes are windows, doorways, and porches.
  • Lead can also be found in soil near houses, garages, and fences. Children may be at risk when playing in bare soil. People and pets may also bring lead into your house by walking through contaminated soil.

How do I know if my child should be tested for lead?

Does your child:

  • Have Medicaid including Healthy Family or Healthy Start Insurance?
  • Live in Cleveland or an inner ring suburb?
  • Live in or visit a house built before 1950?
  • Live in or visit a house that has peeling, chipping, dusting or chalking paint?
  • Live in or visit a house built before 1978 with recent, ongoing, or planned renovation or remodeling?
  • Have a sibling or playmate who has or did have lead poisoning?
  • Frequently come into contact with an adult who has a hobby or job involving lead?
  • If your answer is “Yes” to any of the questions above, then your child should be tested for lead.


Cuyahoga County Board of Health
(216) 201-2000  


Lead is a poison
Lead is a poison that can hurt children and adults.
Lead damages children’s brains and causes learning and behavior problems.
Lead is in paint.
If you live in a house that is more than 30 years old, your home may have lead paint and the children who live in the home may have lead poisoning.

Have your child tested
There are many homes in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County that have lead paint.
These homes were built before 1978.
If you have a home with lead paint, there may be help for you to remove the lead from your home.

The program is called the Lead Safe Living-Lead Hazard Control Grant Program.

Through the program, we hope to:

  • Test and treat all children under age 6 for lead poisoning.
  • Remove lead paint from homes.
  • Increase the number of lead safe houses in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.
  • The program gives resources to homeowners who want to reduce the lead in their home.

You may be eligible for resources to:

  • Remove or fix lead paint in your home.
  • Take your child to a doctor or clinic for a blood test for lead poisoning.
  • Have your baby tested starting at 9 months old.
  • Then have your child tested every year until age 6, even if they seem healthy.

What You'll Need to Apply and Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the program:

  • The home must be in the City of Cleveland or Cuyahoga County.
  • A child under age 6 must live in the home or visit the home each week OR there must be a pregnant woman living in the home.
  • People who live in the home must be moderate income or below for Cuyahoga County.
  • There must be lead in the home.
  • The people who live in the home must be willing to go to another location while the lead is being removed.
  • If the home is a rental, the owner must agree to keep the rent the same for 3 years.
  • If the home is a rental, the owner must try to rent to low income families with children.

To apply for money for repairs, you will need:

  • A photo ID.
  • Proof you live in Cleveland or Cuyahoga County.
  • Proof of home ownership.
  • Proof of income for the last 12 months, usually a tax return.
  • A copy of the homeowner’s insurance.
  • Proof that property taxes on the home are paid or on a payment plan.
  • Test results showing each child’s blood lead level. Each child under age 6 who lives in the home must have a lead test that was done in the past 6 months.
  • Copies of birth certificates or guardianship papers for all children in the home.

Call the Lead Information Hotline for more details: 216-263-5323

We are accepting applications NOW!