Gov. Mike DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine and leaders from the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, (OCHA), on Tuesday announced the creation of an advisory committee aimed at ultimately helping to ensure at-risk families have the tools experts believe needed to give their children the best possible start in life.
The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Home Visitation consists of roughly 15 childcare health and safety experts and advocates. Their number includes persons from government groups such as the Ohio Dept. of Developmental Disabilities, the chief of the Bureau of Maternal Child and Family Health of the Ohio Dept. of Health, numerous hospital officials, such as from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s in Cleveland along with representatives from various community groups such as Moms2Be and REACH for Tomorrow.
DeWine tasked the panel with making formal recommendations about how to best increase the state’s investment in effective home visitation programs. They will meet weekly over the next five to six weeks to inform the Executive State Budget, to be presented to the Ohio General Assembly in early 2019.
“Ohio’s children’s hospitals have a history of transformational leadership in healthcare – both here in Ohio and across the globe,” DeWine said. “Their reputation for collaboration helps make them national leaders in children’s health. I have confidence that they will guide our administration to ensure we take swift, yet effective, steps to help children start their lives in the healthiest way possible.”
DeWine’s Opportunity for Every Ohio Kid initiative includes a provision to give first-time mothers the tools believed needed to promote maternal health, child health and development, and school readiness by tripling the number of families served through home-visiting programs.
“Evidence-based home visiting services are voluntary programs that serve at-risk mothers and children up to age three in their own homes. Ohio’s programs are grossly underfunded, reaching less than four percent of eligible families. These programs can help reduce infant mortality and improve school-readiness so that parents have the skills they need to help their children be healthy, happy, and ready for kindergarten,” DeWine said.
“We are honored to work with Gov. DeWine and his administration to develop recommendations to help reach his goal to triple home visitation rates in Ohio,” said Nick Lashutka, president and CEO, Ohio Children’s Hospital Assoc. “We have a long history of working with Gov. DeWine to help make Ohio be a leader in children’s health – most recently by partnering to identify and prevent child abuse in Ohio’s infants with the OCHA TRAIN Collaborative through generous funding from the Office of the Attorney General. We’re excited about this new opportunity to work together with Gov. DeWine to see his vision become reality.”