Healthy Children Thrive and Flourish
To survive and thrive, all children need access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage that is easy to get and keep.
Unmet health needs can result in children falling behind developmentally and having trouble catching up physically, socially, and academically. Poor children and children of color have worse access to health care and as a result often start life several steps behind their wealthier and healthier White peers. This is why CDF-Ohio works to ensure all children have access to child-specific health coverage that is affordable for families. Thanks in large part to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the number of uninsured children in Ohio was at historic lows until recently. We are working to reverse this trend to get all CHIP/Medicaid eligible children enrolled, and to ensure that children who do not yet have coverage get it. We must not move backward. Instead we must work to expand health coverage for the remaining uninsured children, keep all children enrolled in coverage, and ensure timely access to appropriate care.
The Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio is proud to be a part of the Packard Foundation’s Finish Line Project, working to make sure that all children have healthcare coverage. Ohio’s Finish Project is supported through a collaboration of funders including:
- Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland,
- The Ohio Convergence Fund (The Care Source Foundation, bi3, and the George Gund Foundation),
- The Cleveland Foundation,
- The Bruening Foundation, and
- Medical Mutual Charitable Foundation of Ohio
Children’s health is inextricably linked to their families’ incomes, access to quality education, access to healthy food, and other social determinants that impact children throughout their lives.
Children of color, poor children and children from other marginalized populations suffer worse health outcomes than their peers, and because of this, CDF-Ohio is working to end health disparities among Ohio children. Through the Ohio Statewide Health Disparities Collaborative, we work to achieve culturally competent health care delivery, collect and disseminate data on racial and ethnic disease occurrences to guide prevention and treatment, and provide practical information on addressing health disparities.
Issues of health equity are critical to children and families. It’s especially critical as we consider our essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with UHCAN Ohio, CDF-Ohio explored the issue of health coverage and care for our most vulnerable Ohioans – especially those who do not qualify for the Medicaid program. The issue brief details the various programs available to support critical health services – especially during this pandemic – and recommendations as to how to make sure essential workers and their families are safe.
Health Equity & Building an Inclusive Health System for All Who Live and Work in Ohio
November 27, 2020
Ensure Children’s Access to Health Coverage
Despite years of progress, too many Ohio children still lack health coverage and that number is growing
Ohio saw nearly a decade of improvements in making sure children have the health coverage they need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, Ohio has seen increases in the number of children who were disenrolled from the CHIP/Medicaid and lack health coverage. According to the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) data reported by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families (CCF), Ohio’s 2018 child uninsurance rate is 4.8%, a full percentage point over the 2016 rate of 3.8%. This translates to 29,000 more uninsured children.
CDF-Ohio works in partnership with the Ohio Department of Medicaid and other non-profit and community-based organizations around the state to ensure that all children who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP get enrolled, stay enrolled, and use their health coverage.
Learn more about our work and read articles from our monthly lawmaker newsletters:
April 2020 Newsletter
- Medicaid/CHIP Protects Ohio Families and Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Medicaid’s Role in Protecting Vulnerable Children & Families
- Much Remains to Be Done to Address the Real Needs of Ohio Families & Children: State and Federal Policy Recommendations
May 2020 Newsletter
June 2020 Newsletter
- COVID-19 Underscores Urgent Action to Advance Health Equity
- Ohio Medicaid Fuels Economic Recovery
- Healthy Transitions to Adulthood for Ohio’s Foster Youth
July 2020 Newsletter
- Ohio Rising to the Challenges: Economic and Pandemic Crises
- Protecting Family & Children
August 2020 Newsletter
- 12 Months Continuous Care Postpartum Supports Infants and Mothers
- Scheduled Cut to Federal CHIP Funding will Harm Ohio Children and Families
- Broadband Access Remains Barrier to Thousands of Ohio Families & Children
September 2020 Newsletter
- Ohio Supports Evidence-Based Home Visits to Address Infant Mortality
- Protect and Expand School-Based Health Centers to Support Students
and Families During COVID-19
- Increasing Federal Medicaid Funding Will Protect Ohio Families and
Help Stabilize our Economy
October 2020 Newsletter – Policy Priorities for Ohio’s Children
- Supporting Child Health Equity
- Improving Infant and Maternal
- Protecting Medicaid Coverage
- Prioritizing Ongoing and Early
interventions and Well-Child
- Increasing Access to Child
Behavioral Health Services
November 2020 Newsletter
- Medicaid Coverage of Doula Services Would Save the Lives of Mothers
and Babies and Avoid Costly Complications
December 2020 Newsletter
- Opportunities for Ohio Children in Medicaid RFA
January 2021 Newsletter
- Medicaid Provides Long-term Benefits to Ohioans & the Buckeye State
February 2021 Newsletter
Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Community Outreach and Enrollment
In 2014, CDF-Ohio completed groundbreaking work, Reaching Ohio’s Ethnic Minority Children, in collaboration with community-based organizations across Ohio highlighting the need to do targeted, culturally competent outreach to immigrant and ethnic minority communities to ensure that children in those communities access Medicaid and CHIP. That work has led CDF-Ohio to continued work to educate and inform state and advocacy partners about immigrant children and pregnant women’s eligibility for Medicaid. Through its work, CDF-Ohio shines a light on the needs of children who are often forgotten, but who will help build Ohio’s diverse future.
Community Health Workers Can Connect Families to Coverage
CDF-Ohio and its partners believe that children and families can better benefit from their health coverage when culturally-competent, widely-available care coordination helps ensure that they use all of the coverage options, including those guaranteed to children though Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT). Community health workers are a key part of ensuring that children from poor communities, children of color, and children from ethnic minority populations have access to care coordination.
Medicaid/CHIP Ensures Ohio Children Get a Healthy Start Healthy Start, May 26, 2020
A Voice for Ohio Children’s Health, May 2020
A Voice for Ohio Children’s Health, April 2020
The National Health Law Program’s explanation of the Legal Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA)
A list of states that have adopted the ICHIA option at Medicaid.gov
ICHIA Fact Sheet – Immigrant Eligibility for Medicaid
Child Watch Ohio
Elevating Stories from Ohioans
Health Care is a basic need for every family in Ohio, and as we enter the fourth month of a public health emergency caused by the Coronavirus, accessing quality health care is critical. Ohio’s unemployment rate skyrocketed as nearly 1.3 million unemployment claims have been filed. With the loss of jobs and incomes, families are struggling to maintain health care coverage and access to care.
Prior to the pandemic, the state of Ohio experienced one of the sharpest increases in the child uninsured rates in the nation. The Ohio Department of Medicaid and the DeWine Administration committed to examining its system to ensure that eligible children and families have access to the care they need. Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio is committed to working with partners across the state and the nation to ensure all children have health care coverage and access to services – especially during this time.
The Child Watch Ohio series provides a window into the on the ground reality of many Ohioans. These stories share the experiences of families, service providers, health care providers and others around the state with a focus on challenges and barriers to accessing and maintaining health care during the pandemic. The human impact of how COVID-19 pandemic is affecting families and communities and highlighting the importance of quality, accessible healthcare in a time of crisis.
It is critically important to make these real human stories accessible to policy makers whose districts are affected by these challenges. Further, Child Watch Ohio series offer policy recommendations informed by those directly impacted by the pandemic and by the already-existing weaknesses in our human services system to alleviate barriers and make health care more accessible to all Ohioans.
In March, 2021, CDF-Ohio launched is second series of ChildWatch Ohio stories. Centering communities and the voices of parents, providers, and their children is critical to understanding the challenges and opportunities they face in accessing health coverage and care. The series will feature personal stories that have been entrusted with CDF-Ohio to detail the needs of individuals during this time and beyond. Their stories and personal reflections are the foundation for our policy priorities and agenda and drive our work everyday.
Improving Infant and Maternal Health with Doula Support: Part 2 Training & Certification
By Ashley Sova, CLEbaby
June 3, 2021
Improving Infant and Maternal Health with Doula Support
April 29, 2021
Doula Care is Essential Healthcare to Parents Across Ohio and Improves Health Outcomes for All
March 25, 2021
Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio launched its first Child Watch Ohio series on July 15th, with one to follow every two weeks through September, 2020. The initial story focuses on the southeastern Ohio counties of Jackson and Vinton and discusses evidence-based home visiting, maternal health, and barriers to care such as transportation and lack of service and equipment for telehealth service options.
In Southeastern Ohio, babies at risk of not getting needed care
July 15, 2020
Community Health Center in Southwest Ohio Pivots Quickly to Serve Families during the Covid-19 Pandemic
July 30, 2020
On Cleveland’s West side, concerns over children missing
August 10, 2020
Pandemic Raises Questions about Keeping Essential Farm Workers and Families Safe and Healthy in Northwest Ohio
September 3, 2020
Lucas County Focuses on Infant and Maternal Care and More Is Needed
September 24, 2020
In Southeastern Ohio, Families and Teens Struggle to Manage Diabetes during the Pandemic
October 7, 2020
Part 2: In Southeastern Ohio, Families and Teens Struggle to Manage Diabetes during the Pandemic
October 21, 2020
Millions of Ohio Families and Children Are at Risk of Losing Healthcare Coverage if ACA is Dismantled
November 13, 2020
On June 25, 2020, Ohio confirmed 894 new cases of COVID-19 and seventeen Ohioans lost their lives to the virus. On that very day in Washington D.C., in a move that seems completely counterintuitive and dangerous, the Trump Administration and 18 Republican governors and attorneys general filed their opening briefs with the Supreme Court to repeal the Affordable Care Act in California v. Texas.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), is the health reform law signed on March 23, 2010, by President Barack Obama. The main objective of the ACA is to provide more Americans with access to affordable health insurance. The ACA increased health insurance coverage by expanding Medicaid to families up to 138% of FPL, requiring large employers to provide full-time employees health insurance, offering tax credits to low- and middle-income families to help them purchase health insurance, protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance plans up to age 26, and required most individuals to secure minimum essential coverage.
Read full article here.
Protect Children’s Mental Health
All children have an absolute right to grow up with dignity and free from harm, abuse, and trauma.
Access to mental health services must be a priority for all children, and especially for children who have suffered trauma. CDF-Ohio is working to draw attention to the ways that Ohio children are suffering abuse and harm at the hands of trusted caregivers, and to ensure that no Ohio child has to suffer the impact of abuse or trauma again. We are also working to ensure that children and their families have access to a robust system of screening, diagnosis, and treatment for all mental health conditions as early as possible.
Protect Children from Lead Poisoning
Ensure all children can grow up in safe and healthy homes and free from the damages of lead poisoning
Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body and is especially harmful to children in their first five years of life because it disrupts the rapid brain development they are undergoing. While there is no safe level of lead in the body, public health actions are recommended to be initiated when a child has blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood. Children living at or below the poverty line and who live in older housing are at greater risk.
Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio is proud to be a member of the Ohio Lead Free Kids Coalition and work in partnership to secure policies, funding, and programs that support healthy children and families. Read our Child Lead Poisoning Issue Brief, published in partnership with Groundwork Ohio: Lead Poisoning’s Impact on Young Children.
Children’s Defense Fund Ohio is a proud partner of the Ohio Lead Free Kids Coalition. In light of the COVID-19, the Coalition has issued a Factsheet for parents and caregivers on how to protect their children and the children in their care from lead poisoning risks in older homes.