State health and education leaders to gather for Vote for Ohio Kids forum

ajc.com

Ohio health and education leaders will gather in Columbus tomorrow to hear gubernatorial candidates Richard Cordray and Mike DeWine discuss pressing issues regarding child healthcare and education at the Vote for Ohio Kids Leadership Forum.

Deborah Feldman, president and CEO of Dayton Children's Hospital and moderator for part of the event, said the forum is part of a recently launched Vote for Ohio Kids Campaign, created by Groundwork Ohio and the Ohio Children's Hospital Association.

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According to a press release, the campaign is dedicated to ensuring each candidate hear from child health care and education leaders about what needs to be done to make Ohio a better place for children.

Feldman plans to ask each candidate for their take on three top issues Ohio children face: behavioral health and addiction, chronic disease and high infant mortality rates.

According to a press release, only one in three children in Montgomery County start kindergarten on track, 10,769 children were placed under foster care in 2016 (25 percent of these cases stemming from parental substance abuse factors) and Ohio's infant mortality rate is 7.13 deaths per 1,000 live births, higher than the national average of 5.9.

Feldman said these are issues each candidate must be aware of, and must make a top priority.

"We believe it begins with addressing those child health issues that really are beyond the walls sometimes of our hospitals," Feldman said.

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Feldman also plans to ask each candidate how they will address rising health care costs, coverage gaps and continuity of care.

“What are their strategies they will address to the state? How do we ensure there are no gaps in care? What about child poverty,” said Feldman. “How can we ensure poverty doesn’t determine a child’s long-term care? How will we pay for prevention?”

The non-partisan forum takes place six weeks before the election.

For information regarding the campaign, visit voteforohiokids.org.