HHS awards $15 Million to help families affected by lead exposure in Flint, MI

Flint, Mich. (WLNS) – Earlier today, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced approximately $15 million in funding for the Genesee County Healthy Start Program to provide health and social services for women, infants, and their families who have had, or are at risk for, lead exposure in Flint, Michigan and the surrounding community. The Genesee County Health Department oversees the county’s Healthy Start Program.

The funding, authorized under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act and the Public Health Service Act, will help residents who are experiencing health issues linked to exposure to the local water supply. Lead exposure can cause miscarriage, developmental delays in infants, and other medical issues. Because lead can stay in the bones for decades, women and infants may continue to be exposed through pregnancy and breastfeeding even after the source is removed.

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau supports the Genesee County Healthy Start Program to strengthen families, improve local health care quality, and increase community participation in health care decisions. The Genesee County Healthy Start Program will use this new grant in partnership with other community organizations to expand access to services available to minimize the health effects of lead exposure among pregnant women, infants and young children in Flint and the surrounding Genesee County area.

The Genesee County Healthy Start Program will identify children who were exposed to lead from the contaminated water to assess their needs; facilitate access to recommended services; and minimize developmental delays. They will also coordinate access to appropriate medical, behavioral, and developmental screening, services, and supports for impacted women, children, and their families.
For more information about HRSA’s Healthy Start Program, visit: https://mchb.hrsa.gov/maternal-child-health-initiatives/healthy-start

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