Rural & Appalachian Child Well-being
Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio (CDF-Ohio) has a longstanding commitment to the Ohio Appalachian region, a 32-county area spanning the eastern and southern portions of the state. We began our focus on the region with our 2001 report—Ohio’s Appalachian Children— which provided a first-ever comprehensive look into the well-being of the region’s children. Since that time, CDF-Ohio published the 2016 report, Ohio’s Appalachian Children at a Crossroads: A Roadmap for Action. CDF-Ohio continues its mission to inform the public and policy makers with periodic profiles of child well-being in the region, featuring data, research, and policy recommendations.
The Appalachian region of the state served as the industrial engine of Ohio and the nation. This region propelled not only Ohio, but much of the United States. The region’s extraction economy brought good-paying jobs and prosperity to many communities, however many of these industries and jobs have evaporated in the past 20 years.
It is an established fact that Ohio’s Appalachian region lacks access to basic healthcare providers meaning that many children and adults go without the comprehensive care they need. Studies show that about 20% of a person’s health reflects what happens in a clinic or hospital with the other 80% being the result of an individual’s living conditions and the choices they make. For healthcare to work, the rest of the ecosystem, such as safe and affordable housing, job opportunities, transportation, access to child care, and fresh foods, must work. In too many areas of Ohio’s Appalachian region, this ecosystem is disrupted or non-existent. This lack of access to basic needs has a direct effect on the region’s prosperity and the well-being of its children and families.
Though these data snapshots are not exhaustive of all the issues effecting children and families in the region, they are intended to elevate on the ground realities as we consider priorities and what should be on the state’s policy agenda. CDF-Ohio also acknowledges that sustainable change must be rooted in the region and we are grateful to Muskingum University and Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions for their partnership and support of this issue brief.
2020 Report Press Release, July 28, 2020
2020 Report Media Event Recording, July 28, 2020
Ohio’s Appalachian Children at a Crossroads: A Roadmap of Action, June 2016
Ohio Appalachian Children Report Factsheet, June 2016
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