March 7, 2019News » Governor DeWine State of the State Update for MyCom

Governor DeWine Lays Out Policy Agenda in State of the State

After his first state of the State, we were pleased to hear Governor DeWine reaffirm his commitment to Ohio kids – especially investing in programs that support the healthy development of Ohio infants & toddlers. Voices for Ohio’s Children looks forward to working with the Governor to ensure his priorities are adopted.


Lead Poisoning

Governor DeWine began his speech by talking about the lead poisoning crisis children across the state are facing. What does lead poisoning do to children? As Governor DeWine stressed in his address, far too few kids are being tested for lead poisoning. Ohio should increase access to effective lead screening & testing & improve access to supports such as early intervention for affected kids. Child lead poisoning can cause irreversible brain and nervous system damage leading to learning and behavioral challenges, lower IQ levels, lower academic achievement, and increased hyperactivity, emotional problems and future delinquent behavior. Early Testing and prevention are key steps to reducing number of children affected by lead poisoning and soil contamination needs to be addressed in addition to the attention that was given to paint for so long.


Children’s Services

Governor Mike DeWine continued to show support by creating a new Director of Child Welfare Transformation and appointed Kristi Burre to help lead Ohio’s child protection and foster care reform efforts. Governor DeWine has promised to provide more resources to Ohio’s children services system – especially kinship care. What kind of resources does Ohio need? The opioid crisis is leaving many young victims in its wake. Kinship care helps kids find stable situations to keep growing up in. Quality care important for keeping families and communities safe and strong and developing future workforce


DeWine proposed a new public health fund to increase awareness and prevention strategies. It looks like there will be an expansion in the state’s treatment capacity to serve children and families who are struggling with addiction. The opioid crisis in Ohio has drastically increased the number of children entering foster care, which you can read about at pcsao.org/news/79. As Attorney General, Mike Dewine created #OhioSTART and as governor, he plans to expand that program further.


Childhood Trauma and ACEs

Governor DeWine said he wants to address childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences. Over 500,000 Ohio children live in poverty. The refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a proven anti-poverty strategy. Children from families that claim a refundable EITC have lower infant mortality rates, better grades, and higher lifetime earnings. Parents also have more money to feed their families.


Ohio ranks 46th in the nation for kids experiencing trauma. To prevent the cycle of trauma continuing and mitigate impact on kids we should use multigenerational strategies like evidence-based home visiting. Children who experience trauma are oftentimes not treated for it & our schools see how it can affect our children – not in only their schoolwork, but their ability to navigate their school day.


Voices for Ohio’s Children will continue tracking Governor DeWine’s policy priorities as his budget is released on March 15, 2019.