Cook County Partners with Elevate to Launch “LeadCare Cook County”
Cook County, in partnership with Elevate, announced today the launch of LeadCare Cook County, a program that supports a safe and healthy learning environment for children by offering free lead service line replacement to licensed, home-based child care providers in suburban Cook County. The program aims to replace over 550 lead service lines at child care facilities over the lifespan of the program.
“From our declining roads and bridges to the pipes that lead to our homes, significant and meaningful investments throughout the entire country are needed to close the glaring infrastructure investment gap in our communities," President Preckwinkle said. "The County is committed to supporting programs like LeadCare Cook County that address historic disinvestment and inequities that have impacted the health and well-being of our residents and children.”
Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the first year of the program represents a pilot phase through which the County will test and learn from different child care provider engagement and program delivery strategies. The pilot year will serve providers based in Calumet City, Cicero, Harvey, Hazel Crest and Maywood, but the program will be expanded into additional communities in future years. Licensed, home-based child care providers in the five pilot communities can learn more about the program and enroll by visiting www.LeadCareCookCounty.org or by calling 773-389-5657. Customer support is available in English and Spanish.
"Like many of us in Cook County, child care providers live and work in older homes that are connected to aging water infrastructure. By providing free lead service line replacements, we are supporting child care providers in their mission to allow children to grow and learn in healthy and safe spaces,” said Elevate CEO Anne Evens.
LeadCare Cook County is part of a $15 million transformational investment in lead service line replacement initiatives led by the County’s Bureau of Economic Development. This investment will help foster an equitable recovery from the pandemic and improve public health and environmental health for the overall well-being of residents, particularly in Black, Latine and low-income communities. Cook County is partnering with Elevate on LeadCare Cook County given Elevate’s significant experience serving child care providers in Illinois.
Lead exposure in children is something that Cook County and Elevate are committed to addressing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are six to 10 million lead service lines across the country. Exposure to lead, even at low levels, can damage a child’s developing brain and nervous system, contributing to lower IQs, hearing loss, and learning and behavior problems in and out of the classroom. LeadCare Cook County addresses one of the largest contributors of lead in water, lead service lines, by identifying and removing these hazardous pipes.
About Cook County & Project Rainbow
Cook County is the second largest county in the United States, representing 5.2 million residents in Illinois. The President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Cook County and oversees the Offices Under the President which includes the Bureau of Economic Development (BED). LeadCare Cook County is also being supported by Cook County’s Project Rainbow initiative, which aims to inform, inspire and impact children, students and families across the County. For more information on all Project Rainbow initiatives, please visit projectrainbow.cookcountyil.gov .
Elevate has partnered with Illinois child care providers to reduce lead in drinking water since 2017. A nonprofit organization based in Chicago, Elevate seeks to create a just and equitable world in which everyone has clean and affordable heat, power, and water in their homes and communities. Learn more about Elevate at www.elevatenp.org.