(Ohio) – Governor Mike DeWine takes steps to boost funding for home-visitation programs to help new mothers.
Reports indicate efforts are focused on combating the state’s infant mortality epidemic. On Tuesday Gov. DeWine signaled that he would include significantly more money in his upcoming state budget plan to expand home-visitation services for pregnant and new mothers in Ohio.
At a news conference at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, DeWine announced that he is creating an advisory panel to examine the best ways to expand these programs. He outlined a plan to include nurses, social workers, and community health workers from local children’s hospitals to visit at-risk mothers to offer education and guidance on everything from nutrition to avoiding lead poisoning.
Currently, approximately 4,000 Ohio families participate in these kinds of programs. The programs are funded by $19.6 million in state funds and $8.6 million in federal dollars, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Gov. DeWine has indicated he plans to at least triple the state’s investment noting around 100,000 families are eligible for the programs.
Reports add that the state’s infant mortality rate continues to be among the worst in the country. According to the most recent statistics available, in 2017 7.2 of every 1,000 babies in Ohio died before reaching the age of one.