Children's Health

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

In 2012, there were still over 140,000 Ohio children who lacked health coverage.

Although that number has come down in recent years, it is still too high. 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.

Useful Resources

Community Health Workers: At the Heart of Transforming Ohio's Health Care Delivery System

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

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.

Data & Resources

Medicaid Protects Ohio's Future

Medicaid keeps Ohio children healthy by providing a robust schedule of screenings, immunizations, and wellness care, ensuring that sick children and children with disabilities receive needed care, and supporting Ohio's economy and future workers. This infographic provides some information about Medicaid in Ohio and why Congress must not act to cut Medicaid funding via per capita cuts as part of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

May 18, 2017

Infographic – Breastfeeding Facts and Summary

Fact sheet with infographics to accompany the policy brief, Delivering Better Outcomes for Black Babies through Breastfeeding.

February 27, 2017

Delivering Better Outcomes for Black Babies through Breastfeeding: Policy Brief

Better support for breastfeeding moms could lower Ohio’s infant mortality rate. Delivering Better Outcomes for Black Babies through Breastfeeding highlights the benefits of breastfeeding for vulnerable infants and provides recommendations for how Ohio could better support new moms – especially Black moms.

February 27, 2017

Children and the ACA Resources

Sources and additional resources for the Children and the Affordable Care Act Fact Sheet.

January 27, 2017

Children and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Rushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without first presenting a replacement plan that protects all families and children from loss of coverage and benefits would be a disaster for Ohio children. Before Congress undoes the very significant gains we have made over the past six years, it must provide a comprehensive replacement plan that works for ALL children. This fact sheet lists 14 items that are part of the ACA and directly benefit Ohio children. These provisions must be part of any ACA replacement plan.

January 27, 2017

The Early Childhood Hunger Imperative

Early childhood education must be the top priority for policymakers. Research is clear: Learning begins when a baby is born. Nurturing a baby’s brain with information is therefore very important. For a baby’s brain to develop, fuel is needed to build strong neuron connections. That fuel comes in part from good nutrition. Too many of Ohio’s babies are hungry and not receiving the fuel they need for their brains to reach their full potential.

January 28, 2016

Reaching Ohio's Ethnic Minority Children

Ensuring that families of all ethnic backgrounds access the health care they need to be healthy is one of the most important things we can do for our nation’s children. This report takes a snapshot of the Asian, African, and Latino populations in Ohio, and makes culturally-competent, community-driven recommendations about how to better enroll ethnic minority children and ensure that they are using their health coverage.

August 3, 2015

ICHIA Fact Sheet - Immigrant Eligibility for Medicaid

In doing research for Reaching Ohio's Ethnic Minority Children, CDF-Ohio discovered that Ohio has adopted a provision that makes all lawfully-residing immigrant children and pregnant women in Ohio eligible for Medicaid coverage without the need to wait five years after entering the U.S., as other lawfully-residing immigrants must do. This eligibility change and what Medicaid covers are summarized in this short, two page flyer.

August 1, 2015

Addressing Children's Trauma: A Toolkit for Schools

As a follow-up to our 2014 issue brief, Building Trauma-Informed Systems of Care for Children in Ohio, CDF-Ohio teamed up with Policy Matters Ohio to explore further how schools can implement (and in some cases, are implementing) trauma-informed care. This issue brief reviews how trauma impacts children's brain development, ability to learn, and behavior, and provides more detail about how schools can and should work to better serve students who experience trauma.

July 28, 2015

Health Disparities Are Leaving Ohio's Rural Children Behind

Ohio's rural children face unique challenges arising from high levels of poverty in Appalachian counties and growing poverty rates in non-Appalachian rural counties. The health disparities that impact Ohio's rural children need urgent attention, and require unique solutions. This issue brief examines the health disparities impacting Ohio's rural children and makes recommendations so that Ohio policymakers can better address their needs.

August 1, 2014

Building Trauma-Informed Systems of Care

Exposure to trauma, such as community or domestic violence, abuse, an accident, or the loss of a parent, has a profound and negative impact on Ohio children. This issue brief explains how trauma impacts children’s physical, mental, behavioral, and emotional well-being, and is a significant risk factor for a host of bad outcomes for children, including alcohol and drug abuse, disease, disability, and social problems. The brief goes on to explain that children who have been traumatized need trauma-informed intervention and care to prevent a lifetime of health, learning, and behavioral issues. Finally, the brief lists recommendations for building broader, stronger, more integrated trauma-informed systems of care in Ohio’s schools, juvenile justice institutions, and other child-serving organizations.

January 15, 2014

Preventing Firearm Injuries and Fatalities Among Ohio’s Youth: The Need to Implement a Comprehensive and Effective Child Access Prevention Law in Ohio

In the wake of the Newtown massacre when 20 six and seven-year-olds were killed, we find compelling evidence that a new law could protect Ohio's children from such a tragedy. This CDF-Ohio policy brief calls for the Ohio legislature to enact a Child Access Prevention Law (CAP) law that would require all guns to be stored safely and securely in any place. Evidence shows that CAP laws prevent gun deaths and injuries among children and teenagers, and reduce the significant economic, psychological, and emotional costs from gun violence.

December 1, 2012

Mental Health Screening in Juvenile Detention Facilities

CDF-Ohio and the Children’s Law Center, Inc. collaborated to raise awareness and support for juvenile pretrial detention reform in Ohio. This brief outlines the need for early mental health screening in detention centers, and supports the use of validated screening tools and provision of confidentiality to youth undergoing screening to ensure effective screening and treatment of youth.

October 1, 2012

Achieving Educational Stability for Foster Youth in Ohio and the Impact of the Fostering Connections Legislation

Children placed in substitute care often face unique educational challenges. Not only are they forced to deal with the trauma resulting from abuse and neglect, they must also confront many other barriers to school success: removal from their homes, separation from their families and friends, and multiple placements into temporary homes and new school environments. This issue brief explores some of the barriers to educational stability that affect foster youth, provides an overview of recent legislation that addresses these challenges, and recommends specific changes to be made at both the state and federal levels.

November 1, 2011

The Face of Health Disparities Among Children in Ohio

The Face of Health Disparities Among Children in Ohio exposes significant health disparities and inequitable access to health care among Ohio’s racial minority and low-income children. This issue brief examines trends in health outcomes among children in Ohio, highlights the barriers to an equitable system of care and provides an overview of four key strategies to help ensure all children and pregnant women in Ohio, access to comprehensive health care.

April 1, 2009