Keeping kids safe: Free program removes lead paint

Date Published: 
November 27, 2015

De-Lead is on a mission to remove lead paint from low-income homes in Kent and Sussex counties.

“If you have a child under 6 years old, and your home was built before 1978, you may be eligible for help removing the lead-based paint hazards for free,” according to the First State Community Action Agency, which manages the De-Lead program.

“When lead-based paint deteriorates, it poses serious health hazards to children,” pregnancies and unborn babies,” De-Lead states. “Lead can affect children’s brains and nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities and behavior problems.

Even inhaling the “friction points” where lead dust becomes airborne can be dangerous.

Blood testing is required for Delaware children ages 1 (and sometimes 2) for elevated levels of lead.

“The children are kind of relying on us,” so the adults must do what’s right, said First State’s Charles Kistler.

Eligibility for De-Lead is based on income requirements, and children younger than 6 or pregnant women living in the home. Houses must have been built before 1978.

During the initial walk-through, De-Lead will test the house for lead. If the tests are positive, plans are made to rehab the house and remove lead paint, wherever it may be.

Most applications will be accepted for single-family homes and rental units in the following ZIP codes: 19901, 19904, 19931, 19947, 19956, 19966, 19968 and 19973. A handful of applications will be accepted from Sussex County outside of the mandated zones.

To learn more about De-Lead Delaware, contact First State Community Action Agency at (302) 856-7761 or

De-Lead launched in Wilmington and recently spread to Kent and Sussex. After three successful years, First State can expand De-Lead even more.

The mission of First State Community Action Agency is “to work toward the elimination of poverty and lessen the effects of poverty on low-income people.”

Anyone may contact First State Community Action Agency at 1(800) 372-2240 and The Georgetown office is at (302) 856-2599 and Stanford L. Bratton Building, 308 N. Railroad Avenue.