Written by: Morgan Conti, Project Manager – Medical Home

High blood lead levels impact development of Wisconsin children
The medical home initiative and Department of Health Services (DHS) Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) have collaborated to provide developmental screening training to health departments statewide.

When blood lead levels are high, development can be impacted. Understanding the direct correlation between high lead levels and developmental delays, showcased that there was a natural opportunity for collaboration between the two programs.

Integrating developmental screening into lead monitoring practices
Young children are more likely to put their hands, or other objects, into their mouths. These objects may be contaminated with lead dust, which could result in a higher likelihood of exposure. This exposure could impact a child’s development and cause long term effects.

According to CLPPP, “Developmental screening is a critical tool for children with lead poisoning. Developmental delays may not show up until later in the child’s life, even after the lead hazard is removed. This is why continued screening is crucial to catch delays early and ensure children and families have the resources they need to promote the child’s development.”

In June of 2023, the medical home initiative and the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program held the second annual developmental screening tool training. This annual training allows an opportunity for health departments throughout the state to be trained in the Ages and Stages Questionnaire third edition (ASQ-3) and Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers- Revised with Follow-up (M-CHAT R/F) validated screening tools. Health departments utilize a validated screening tool after a child has a blood lead level above the current blood lead reference value. Our training included over 88 nurses, health officers and environmental specialists from counties statewide. We joined an existing meeting to provide the training, which meant no additional burden to health department staff and opened the door for increased attendance and reach.

Kim Schneider, a Public Health Nurse leading the work within CLPPP states that “The partnership between CLPPP and the medical home initiative has been a wonderful connection. It allows our program to ensure the Local Health Department personnel have the training they need to provide validated screenings for children in their community.”

Continued partnership to improve statewide practices
The partnership between the two programs builds the connection between developmental screening and high lead levels, where we are aiming for increased early identification and intervention for children with concerns.

If you are concerned about the impact of high lead levels on developmental delays in your community, advocate for the implementation of universal screening today! Click here to learn more about developmental screening.