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State Budget Proposal Creates New Agency: Department of Children and Youth

Kyle Thompson
Policy Associate
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March 13, 2023
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In the late hours of January 31st, the DeWine Administration released the state budget proposal, outlining recommendations for funding, programmatic initiatives, and overall structure of state government programs. One major initiative proposed for the budget is the new Department of Children and Youth. The Department is proposed to be created July 1, 2023. The department works to reduce duplicative programs in state government while also increasing service delivery and administrative efficiency.

 The new Department of Children and Youth, proposed to be created July 1, works to reduce duplicative programs in state government while also increasing service delivery and administrative efficiency.

This new Department will combine resources from six existing state agencies. These agencies include: Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), The Department of Education (ODE), Department of Health (ODH), Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), Department of Medicaid (ODM), and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (ODMH). The directors of each of these agencies will develop a plan to transfer responsibility, staff, programs, and functions. This will be completed no later than January 1, 2025. All this information provides a general background to the new department, but one question remains- what programs shifted?

Highlights

  • Budget recommendations for the department will increase early learning programs. This funding will provide 11,525 low-income children access to early childhood education programming. The rate of this funding is $46.1 million per year.
  • Additionally, there is funding recommended in $119.4 million in FY 2024-2025 for Help Me Grow. This funding will bolster evidence-based home visitation programming to 17,950 families and increase the portion of mothers enrolled for home visitation to 86.4 percent.
  • Budget recommendations also increase funding to $11.3 million in FY2024-2025 for early childhood mental health credentialing. This funding will increase the number of credentialed early childhood mental health practitioners to identify concerns in a child’s life. In doing so, more opportunities for intervention and care are possible, and strategies for positive development can be pursued by informed families.
  • Recommended funding supports the development of new and existing practices to prevent children from entering foster care. Estimates show that approximately 24,300 children will be in foster care at some point during each year of the biennium.

Agency Goals and Objectives

Before addressing major programmatic shifts within the six agencies to the new department, more context is needed to the agency's aims. There are three major goals within the Department of Children and Youth. Within these goals are smaller sub-goals that encapsulate broader initiatives across Ohio.

  • Support Ohio families.  
  • The Department plans to increase access to early intervention services by guaranteeing 95% of children will complete the Individualized Family Service Plan.  
  • Growing Home visits to families by 53%  
  • Increasing community and faith-based support programs, which will expand to 10 counties.
  • Prevent child abuse and neglect.  
  • Expanding prevention programs including Multi-Systemic Therapy, OhioStart, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Functional Family Therapy, and the Positive Parenting Program  
  • Increasing workforce training, support, recruitment, and retention  
  • Expanding early childhood mental health consultation, and childhood behavioral capacity.
  • Prepare and educate children to ensure readiness for school and beyond.  
  • Supporting the childcare industry/workforce and expanding eligibility for funded childcare.  
  • Increase access to early childcare education.
 Most of the funding for the department consists of federal funding, which is 63.7% of the FY 2024 recommended budget.

Funding Sources

Most of the funding for the department consists of federal funding, which is 63.7% of the FY 2024 recommended budget. The second largest is the General Revenue Fund, which represents 35.1% of the FY 2024 budget. Funding for FY2024 in the General Revenue Fund is $802.1 million, and this increases to $809.9 million in FY2025. Across all funds, FY2024 is recommended $2.3 billion, and this remains roughly the same for FY2025 with a 0.8% increase from the previous fiscal year.

Program Overview

Medicaid will also be a major collaborator in the development of the Department of Children and Youth. This is because Medicaid has a large service base toward children. Medicaid pays for healthcare services for approximately 3.18 million Ohioans, including 1.28 million children (about the population of New Hampshire). Below is a table of programs that were shifted to Children and Youth, as well as the current executive recommendations:

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