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Ready, Set, Soar Ohio July Newsletter

State Budget Update: Key Provisions Support Pregnant Women, Young Children

This week, Governor Mike DeWine signed into law House Bill 110, Ohio's two-year state budget. We are pleased to share that the final budget includes several investments supporting pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and their families.

Here are a few key provisions in the state budget we are celebrating:

  • Extends postpartum coverage for Medicaid-eligible women from 60 days to 12 months after pregnancy

  • Increases investment in evidence-based home visiting through Ohio’s Help Me Grow program, including a small extension to preschoolers who are in the child welfare system as a result of their parent’s substance abuse

  • Expands Ohio’s publicly funded child care eligibility from 130% to 142% of the Federal Poverty Level enabling more families with children to return and remain in the workforce

  • Expands Ohio’s publicly funded child care eligibility from 130% to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level for families with children with special needs, enabling them to get the interventions they need while their parents work

  • Recognizes that Ohio’s quality child care system is complex and worthy of deliberation within the General Assembly and among stakeholders to ensure any changes to this vital system prepares children for school and lifelong success, enables families to stay connected to the workforce, fairly compensates the professionals within the system, and respects taxpayer investment

Send a thank you message to your policymakers for investing in Ohio's youngest children and their families!


Join Groundwork Ohio for a Virtual Discussion on Amplifying Family Voice

Join the Center for Family Voice at Groundwork Ohio on Wednesday, July 7th from 10:00am-11:00am for the virtual release of Groundwork's new report, "Amplifying Family Voice to Advance Equitable Outcomes for Young Children."

During the webinar, Groundwork Ohio will be joined by state and national experts to discuss the findings of the new report, expectations for the future work of the Center for Family Voice, and how Ohio can empower families to drive change and improve the healthy development of Ohio’s young children.

Speakers include:

  • Shannon Jones, President & CEO of Groundwork Ohio

  • Lynanne Gutierrez, Assistant Director at Groundwork Ohio

  • Director Maureen Corcoran, Ohio Department of Medicaid

  • Ami Cole, President at Molina Healthcare of Ohio

  • Sherri Killins Stewart, Director of State Systems Alignment and Integration for the BUILD Initiative


Groundwork Ohio Testifies in Support of Doula Legislation

Last month, Groundwork Ohio Policy Associate Kelsey Hopkins testified at the Ohio Statehouse to voice support for House Bill 142, which would allow Medicaid to provide reimbursement for doula services.

Communities across Ohio have a history with doula programs that have been successful in improving maternal and infant health outcomes. However, many of these programs and services are cost-prohibitive and often not accessible to pregnant women who may benefit the most from additional support. Doula programs serving low-income women have often absorbed the cost of providing care to increase access among our most vulnerable mothers and to support their community.

House Bill 142 would help bridge this gap by leveraging Medicaid to build doula capacity across the state, increase access to doula services, and improve the quality of doula services. HB 142 also supports Ohio’s ongoing fight to improve maternal and infant health and advance birth equity.


New KIDS COUNT Data Book Measures Child Well-Being in Ohio

A new report finds that when it comes to the health and well-being of children, Ohio has room to grow. According to the 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a 50-state annual report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that tracks child well-being in the United States, Ohio ranks 31st overall. This underscores the importance of investing in our state's youngest children, their families, and the programs and policies that help them thrive.


Infant Mortality in Cuyahoga County Drops to 30-Year Low, But Disparities Remain

Preliminary data shows Cuyahoga County saw significant improvements in its infant mortality rate in 2020, dropping to the lowest level reported in 30 years. According to the data, the overall infant mortality rate dropped to 7.57 deaths per 1,000 live births last year. The pre-term birth rate in Cuyahoga County also improved.

However, stark racial disparities remain. The Black infant mortality rate in Cuyahoga County in 2020 was nearly twice the overall rate and more than four times the rate of white infants. Black babies also made up a disproportionate share of the county’s pre-term births.

As Ready, Set, Soar Ohio previously shared in our State of Ohio Babies fact sheet, large racial disparities exist across several key indicators of early childhood health and well-being in Ohio – including infant mortality, low birth weight, child poverty, food insecurity, and more.


Stakeholder Survey on the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant

The federal Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program, or Title V program, envisions a country in which all mothers, children – including children with special health care needs – and their families are healthy and thriving. In Ohio, the Title V program supports state-level public health infrastructure and local programs, often in conjunction with other federal and state funds.

The Ohio Department of Health is requesting Title V stakeholders to participate in a survey to provide input on the way these federal funds will be spent to serve you and Ohio families. The public comment survey will be active July 1st through July 31st.


Invite Others to Join the Ready, Set, Soar Ohio Coalition!

We are incredibly grateful to have early childhood champions like you be involved with Ready, Set, Soar Ohio. Our diverse coalition now includes more than 100 early childhood, education, health, advocacy, philanthropy and business organizations, community leaders, policymakers, and families.

Together, we are working hard to ensure that more pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and their families have access to the support they need to thrive!

Want to help our coalition grow? If you know organizations or individuals who may be interested in joining the Ready, Set, Soar Ohio coalition, invite them to join by sharing this link.


Early Efforts | Infusing Equity Across State Early Childhood Systems

Tuesday, July 6th at 2:00PM

Amplifying Family Voice to Advance Equitable Outcomes for Young Children

Wednesday, July 7th at 10:00AM

Congress Must #SolveChildCare

Wednesday, July 7th at 2:00PM

Prenatal-to-Three Messaging Research Webinar

Wednesday, July 14th at 1:00PM

BUILD 2021: Reinvent Early Care and Education Quality Improvement to Advance Racial Equity

Monday, July 19th-Thursday, July 22nd

The Pandemic Suspended and Expelled Everyone. What Can States Do About It?

Wednesday, July 21st at 3:00PM

Leading with Dignity in Turbulent Times

Wednesday, July 28th at 2:00PM


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