Public Citizens for Children and Youth

Child Lead Poisoning Program Coordinator


Project Goal: The goal of this project is to reduce the number of  children in Philadelphia who are injured by exposure to lead-based paint.


Agency Information


Agency Mission
Founded in 1980, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) seeks to improve the lives children by ensuring that they have the basic building blocks they need for success, including a quality education, reliable health care and a dependable support network to guide them as they grow. We push for change by publishing original research, building coalitions and providing high quality direct services.  Over 90% of the children and families that we serve are low-income.

Address  1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1206

Total number of Agency Staff Members  14

Agency Budget  $1,531,240

Job Description

The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:         

1) COORDINATE VOLUNTEER LEAD POLICY COMMITTEE  The initial focus will be to determine why the lead screening rate for infants and toddlers is so low and to develop a set of recommendations about what can be done to raise it.  Specific duties will include:

  • Identify and recruit members for the committee who are knowledgeable about the problem
    •                Develop meeting agendas (with the PCCY Health Policy Director)
    •                Prepare background materials for each meeting
    •                Prepare meeting minutes to keep a record of the proceedings
    •                Staff the committee to keep the discussion moving forward and on track

2) RESEARCH BEST PRACTICES  The Fellow will identify best practices in other jurisdictions by reviewing the literature and making contacts in other jurisdictions.  At least two topics will be covered:
•                Testing: Pediatricians recommend that children should receive blood tests at age one and again at age two.  Because Medicaid and CHIP cover these screenings, cost is not the obstacle, yet 6 in 10 kids don’t get tested.  What best practices can Philadelphia adopt to increase the percentage of children who receive two screening by age three?
•                Remediation: Remediation works, but it is cost-prohibitive for low income families.  Federal and state budget cuts have dramatically reduced available funds for local governments.  Are there new models being used in other parts of the country or internationally that are more cost effective?

•                The Fellow will engage in fieldwork/lead testing in high poverty neighborhoods that have a high incidence of lead poisoning. The final selection of fieldwork neighborhoods will be  contingent on identifying strong community partners to make local introductions and help establish trust.
•                Candidate neighborhoods include: Strawberry Mansion (19132), Kingsessing (19143), Germantown (19144), Logan/Ogontz/FernRock (19141), West Philly (19139), Brewerytown (19121), Hunting Park (19140), Fairhill (19133), Wynnefield(19131) and Mantua (19104).
•                The Fellow will write up the results of the fieldwork including a quantitative summary of the data collected.


Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:    

  • Excellent critical thinking skills
  • Detail oriented with very strong organizational skills
  • Strong computer skills, including proficiency with Word and Excel. Ability to produce infographics a plus.
  • Ability to work independently
  • Knowledge of Philadelphia neighborhoods a plus and/or a willingness to explore
  • Ability to represent PCCY in meetings with community members, public health organizations and other stakeholders
  • Strong writing skills


Community Need

Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:

This Fellowship is designed to serve low income children in Philadelphia who are at risk of lead poisoning.  According to the PA Department of Health, 2,400 Philadelphia children under age 6 were poisoned by lead last year. That’s a higher rate of than in Flint, MI. While the primary threat in Flint is from the lead-tainted water, the main risk factor in Philadelphia is exposure to lead paint.  The city’s older housing stock exacerbates the problem as 9 out of 10 homes in Philadelphia were built before 1978 when the nation banned lead paint.  Because remediation is expensive, this toxic legacy means poor families — especially poor families who are renters and therefore dependent on their landlords to remove the hazard — have the fewest options for keeping their children safe.  The medical evidence is clear that lead poisoning, even at low levels, can cause irreversible damage, including a lower IQ and lifelong learning and behavioral problems.


How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:   

The Philly Fellow will build capacity at PCCY to launch a new program to reduce child lead poisoning. PCCY recently completed a new report called “Left Out: The Status of Children in Philadelphia” ( that begins to lay the groundwork. We found that 59% of children under age three in Philadelphia are not screened, despite the fact that pediatricians recommend blood tests at age one and two.  In addition, despite a 2012 law requiring landlords to test their properties for lead before renting to families with kids, less than 1% of landlords comply.  Finally, remediation is too expensive for working families to undertake on their own yet, federal and state resources have been slashed.  Because of these factors, thousands of Philadelphia children risk irreversible brain damage that will perpetuate a cycle of poverty.  We are seeking a Philly Fellow to staff a Child Lead Policy Committee in 2017-18 and conduct more detailed research and fieldwork to give PCCY the capacity to advance concrete policy solutions.


Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:

We anticipate that the Child Lead Poisoning Policy Fellow will have a moderate level of community involvement.  The most community-intensive work will take the form of fieldwork/lead testing in city neighborhoods that have a high incidence of lead poisoning.  In addition, the Fellow will engage with community leaders and members of the public health community as part of the Volunteer Lead Policy Committee.


The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:

PCCY has a long track record of operating anti-poverty programs aimed at improving access to health care for vulnerable children.  For example, PCCY has 25 years of experience working with families to enroll their children in CHIP and Medicaid and 95% of the applications we submit to the government are approved.  We have also arranged free dental care for over 3,600 children since 2004 by running annual Give Kids A Smile Day. More recently (2009), we began running Give Kids Sight Day, making it possible for nearly 8,000 children to obtain free eye care services over the last seven year. In 2015, 29% of children served were uninsured and 28% were growing up in a household where English was not the primary language.


Fellowship Logistics


Fellow orientation plan:

Colleen McCauley, PCCY’s Child Health Director, will be responsible for orienting the Philly Fellow.  We anticipate a three-phase process:    1) Background reading and research.  The goal of this phase is for the Fellow to become conversant in the basic literature on lead poisoning as well as recent legislation and health policy initiatives in Philadelphia to address the problem.      2) Interviews.  Next the Fellow will be charged with interviewing key staff at PCCY, including the Executive Director, to gain an understanding of each person’s role at PCCY. The Fellow should also interview public health and community stakeholders outside of PCCY to get a balanced perspective.      3) Timeline.  Working with Colleen McCauley, the Fellow will prepare a draft timeline for the year with a more detailed timeline for the first three months. The timeline is a visual version of the Fellow’s work plan for the year.      The Fellow will also attend our weekly staff meetings where we cover upcoming internal and external events as well as news and political developments.  Finally, the Fellow will be invited to attend Board meetings and Policy Committee meetings.


Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor:  Colleen McCauley; Health Policy Director


Plans for supervision of the fellow:

The Fellow will be supervised by Colleen McCauley, Child Health Director. Colleen will meet with the Fellow on a regular basis to review progress to date, plan next steps and to help the Fellow overcome barriers. Colleen previously supervised PCCY’s 2015-16 Philly Fellow, Chris Capron. The Philly Fellow will have access to Colleen as needed to discuss any issues or concerns about the Fellowship or individual work assignments. Colleen previously served as Assistant Director of the Abbottsford Community Health Center in Philadelphia.  In 2014, she was a finalist in the IBX/Philadelphia Magazine Health Care Hero competition and the Extra Mile Honoree by Students Run Philly Style for her role as Primary Race Day Nurse.


Will fellow be working at the same address listed above? 



Will the fellow have their own…             

Office?  Fellow will have their own         
  Fellow will have their own
 Fellow will have their own


The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…

Independently  50%          

As a team member in a group setting  40%

As a team leader in a group setting   10%


Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position?  Yes

If so, how often and where?   One of the Coordinator’s projects will require traveling to Philadelphia neighborhoods that have a high incidence of lead paint poisoning for fieldwork.  Neighborhoods will be accessible by SEPTA.


Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…

A driver’s license?  No

Their own car?   No