Download Fact Sheets
Click here to RSVP
Subscribe to our Newsletter
By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Download this as a PDF

Governor Mike DeWine gave his fourth annual State of the State address last week, the third consecutive year since the pandemic forced the cancellation of the address in 2020 and 2021. The speech focused almost exclusively on children and youth, recapping what has been achieved and what is planned. The Governor’s proposals spanned health, including mental health, education, and safety, and will impact children from birth to high school and beyond.

Ohio’s kids have always been a focus of this administration, resulting in historic investments for the youngest Ohioans.

The focus on children and their well-being is not new. Ohio’s kids have always been a focus of this administration, resulting in historic investments for the youngest Ohioans. It is important though to remember that kids live in families, of all shapes and sizes, and we must consider the needs of family members across the life span, from young adults on the precipice of a career who aren't quite sure how they will be able to live on their own; to working-age parents struggling to make ends meet; to grandparents across Ohio who may be raising their grandchildren and need help navigating the supports that are available to them. Community Solutions is ready to work with the executive and legislative branches to support kids and their families.We have some other impressions about other policies addressed in the State of the State.

School-based Clinics could offer mental health support for students

The Governor spent time discussing the intersection of kids and mental health, which included a focus on the school-based health clinic model. The Governor highlighted current partnerships between schools and hospitals meant to bring primary care into schools to help children. The Governor also highlighted Appalachian revitalization efforts, and the new Appalachian Children’s Health Initiative, which is a program that is helping 20 Ohio counties create or expand community- and school-based health clinics. These clinics will serve 375,000 residents and at least 61,000 students.

These clinics will serve 375,000 residents and at least 61,000 students.

Governor DeWine also voiced his commitment to support schools in their work by using Student Wellness and Success Funds. Medicaid would serve as an additional funding source in the expansion of school-based clinics, while scaling proven models statewide and providing schools with the technical assistance needed to provide services. Nationwide Children’s Hospital and East High School in Columbus were described as having a clinic that “works.” There was emphasis on building on this work to expand school-based clinics.It would be helpful if those school-based clinics also scaled the following services that Medicaid State Technical Assistance describes as promoting health and educational equity and increasing school attendance:

  1. Helping eligible students enroll in the Medicaid program.
  2. Connecting students’ Medicaid-eligible family members with Medicaid health coverage.
  3. Providing Medicaid-covered health services in schools and seeking payment for services furnished. Health services can include any covered service, including EPSDT services, at the State Medicaid agency’s discretion.
  4. Offering Medicaid-covered services that support at-risk Medicaid-eligible students.
  5. Providing Medicaid-covered services and performing Medicaid administrative activities to improving student wellness.
  6. Providing Medicaid-covered services that reduce emergency room visits.
  7. Providing Medicaid-covered services and performing Medicaid administrative activities that promotes a healthy environment and promotes learning.

Behavioral health workforce and a historic high demand for services

The behavioral health workforce was another topic that Governor DeWine addressed. He spoke on the need to increase access to professionals in the mental health field, especially because the demand for behavioral health services has increased significantly- twice as fast as the current workforce. At the end of the decade, Ohio will need: 4,700 new counselors, 4,300 new social workers, 4,500 new chemical dependency professionals, and a substantial number of psychiatrists to meet the growing demands of behavioral health services.

Accepted fellows will be eligible for $10,000 toward their education.

The Governor also referenced the Great Minds Fellowship program, which is a program that works to matriculate college students into the behavioral health profession. Through participation in this program, accepted fellows will be eligible for $10,000 toward their education. Smartphones and social media also received attention from Governor DeWine, and he gave his unwavering support to Ohio schools that decided to remove smartphone use during the school day, and announced his continued commitment to put parents in control of how their kids use social media.

Comprehensive Maternal Care, wrap-around services, and support

The Comprehensive Maternal Care (CMC) program is a community-based, statewide program aimed at improving the health and well-being of moms, infants, and families covered by Medicaid. The governor emphasized identifying where more practitioners are needed. The Ohio Department of Medicaid is working with 138 Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) practices across Ohio covering over 35,000 Ohio mothers. About half of all births in Ohio (55,000) were covered by Medicaid.The Comprehensive Maternal Care program provides wrap-around services during pregnancy. Additional resources will be provided to practices, so that they can work on providing the social support necessary to ensure the health of both the birthing parent and infant. When considering what services are needed, it will be necessary to garner both the input and trust of communities CMC aims to serve.

Outcomes Acceleration for Kids shifts Medicaid’s focus to patient outcomes

Outcomes Acceleration for Kids (OAK), a new program, was announced. OAK was used as an illustration that Medicaid-managed care is shifting its focus to positive health outcomes instead of the business of care. It was introduced as an innovative program, a partnership among children’s hospitals, Medicaid-managed care plans, and the Ohio Department of Medicaid.OAK is a rapid-cycle improvement project, which improves coordination of communication between evolvements in the clinical setting and Medicaid-managed care. OAK will focus on well care instead of sick care, follow-up care for families after leaving the emergency department, and access to life-saving care for children with sickle cell disease.

OhioRISE makes progress for complex behavioral health needs

The Governor described how some children in Ohio have extremely complex behavioral health care needs. OhioRise will continue to connect families and children with the most complicated care to providers. OhioRise serves an additional 14,000 families since the last State of the State address. There are over 11,000 children getting intensive care, and over 32,000 children enrolled in the program.

There are over 11,000 children getting intensive care, and over 32,000 children enrolled in the program.

There will be an increase in the availability of mobile response stabilization services for behavioral health emergencies for youth. The plan is to deploy the mobile response unit within 60 minutes to conduct safety assessments, de-escalation, and provide peer support. The mobile response unit is currently in 38 counties throughout Ohio, though the intention is to make the model available in all 88 counties.

Family Connects pilot program to launch in 11 counties

Governor DeWine announced a new home visiting program called Family Connects. This is a new pilot program that will happen in 11 counties across the state. Every new birthing parent will be eligible for home visits from a nurse beginning three weeks after the baby’s birth. During the visits, nurses will be able to provide support to parents, offer safe sleep tips, and connect them with clinical or community resources.Governor DeWine further explained that programs similar to Family Connects helped reduce infant mortality and the risk of postpartum depression. He hopes that Family Connects will provide the same benefits to parents and babies as he will ask the state legislature to support and expand this program during the next state budget cycle.

Childcare vouchers will assist families; grant will help increase workforce capacity

Governor DeWine highlighted two different strategies that will be utilized to expand childcare offerings in Ohio. One will focus on the affordability of childcare and the other focused on building capacity of childcare providers.To assist with the financial burden of childcare the Governor announced the creation of the Childcare Choice Voucher Program. The Childcare Choice Voucher Program will be available to families with incomes of up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and an estimated additional 8,000 families will benefit from this expanded support. Once a family is approved, the voucher will help cover the cost of tuition for 12 months. Payments will be determined by the child’s age and the type of childcare, with families’ copayments being set at 9%.

There is $85.0 million available in grant funding that providers can apply for through a competitive application process.

To help childcare providers increase their capacity the Governor announced the creation of Childcare Access Grants. The Access Grants will be used to increase capacity through new or existing programs, complete repairs, or to provide additional support to staff and families to support children with special needs. There is $85.0 million available in grant funding that providers can apply for through a competitive application process.

Workforce development for young people, marijuana, and the budget

The Governor also addressed the education system and ensuring that children are learning to read in Ohio’s schools, training teachers with the most up-to-date research on the science of reading in Ohio’s colleges and universities, and setting up Ohio’s high school graduates for success as they head to college or training programs with information on career tracks.Governor DeWine also spent time discussing marijuana, given the recently passed statute that legalizes marijuana in Ohio. He implored the legislature to further regulate the use of marijuana, namely, to limit marijuana smoke in public spaces. He continues to be concerned about the use of intoxicating hemp, commonly referred to as Delta-8, and similarly asked that the legislature restrict the sale of these products to youth.The development of the 2026-2027 state budget will begin before we know it. In fact, this State of the State has already begun to explore areas that may be addressed through the state budget. We look forward to working with Governor DeWine, his team, and the legislature to move forward on the policies proposed in the State of the State and explore ways in which whole families can experience the best that Ohio has to offer.

Download Fact Sheets
No items found.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Download report

Subscribe to our newsletter

5 Things you need to know arrives on Mondays with the latest articles, events, and advocacy developments in Ohio

Explore Topics

Browse articles, research reports, fact sheets, and testimony.