Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine outlined parts of his $69 million proposed state budget to help children’s health during a stop Tuesday at the Akron Children’s Hospital’s Child Advocacy Summit in Fairlawn.
“We are now down to about two weeks until this ends and we came out with a proposal in our budget to really add $800 million over two years directly into services for children,” DeWine said to applause from the crowd of several hundred.
DeWine said he’s told legislators that what he’s asking them to do is fund some programs where they may not see immediate results — or even while they are in office.
But those things “are going to dramatically affect where Ohio is for your kids and your grandkids,” DeWine said he told the legislators.
Among the children’s health-related issues are:
• Increase programs to reach pregnant moms in their homes for prenatal care to reduce rates of infant mortality. The programs now are only reaching 4 percent of moms who are eligible; DeWine hopes to triple the number. “Our goal is to take infant mortality down. Another goal is when that child reaches kindergarten — age 5 — that child has a shot at making it.”
• Use $550 million in the K-12 education budget for wrap-around services for mental health and medical services at school.
• Reduce vaping by raising the legal age to buy tobacco and vape products to 21 and taxing vaping products like tobacco. DeWine also wants to ban vaping flavors.
• Add more money to local Children’s Services programs to handled increased numbers of children in foster care because one or both parents are addicted to drugs.
DeWine also praised Bill Considine, who in November became Children’s Hospital’s chief executive officer emeritus after nearly 40 years.
“What’s amazing to me is not only has he led this great hospital with a lot of innovation and quality,” DeWine said, “he frankly had the guts to really expand geographically throughout Northeast Ohio."
Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or email@example.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/topics/linfisher