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 is at a historic low. We are working to protect those gains 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.
End Health Disparities
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.
Ensure Children’s Access to Health Coverage
Despite years of progress, too many Ohio children still lack health coverage and that number is growing
Although 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 enrolled in CHIP/Medicaid. 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.
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.
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.
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