Child Health

Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, Tracy Nájera, Addressing Ohio’s Budget and its Impact on Children and Families at the Columbus Metropolitan Club Luncheon

February 25, 2019 | Ohio

With the federal government currently in the spotlight, the complexities and politics of government funding and budgets has never been more evident.

The state budget is no joke, either. What gets funded, what gets cut, and what goes into these decisions? Where do local funds come into play? And in Ohio, with its oft argued “inequation” of education funding, how do we solve that lingering problem?

Dr. Tracy Nájera, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, discussed the state budget with the Buckeye Institute’s Greg R. Lawson, Ohio budget expert Terry Thomas, and Karen Kasler Statehouse bureau chief of Ohio Public Radio and TV at a recent Columbus Metropolitan Club Forum. The discussion is part of the book launch for the Center for Community Solutions’ recent publication of “Ohio’s Budget: Follow the Money” and was sponsored in partnership with the Buckeye Institute. Click here to view the discussion.

Tracy discussed several key points during the panel including the ongoing needs of families and children in light of a changing Ohio economy where the fastest growing jobs in the state do not pay a family sustaining wage. For these reasons, Tracy made the case for the need to do the following:

  1. Support working families in Ohio by taking another look at the state’s earned income tax credit and making changes to the current program.
  2. Tackle Ohio’s infant mortality rates through evidence-based home visiting, especially as the state’s mortality rate for Black babies is one of the worst in the country.
  3. Address the needs of children being served by multiple state agencies (multi-system youth) and encourage better service and coordination.
  4. Implement evidence-based community approaches for youth in the juvenile justice system to support better outcomes.
  5. Invest in a complete count for the 2020 Census to ensure that needed resources reach our neighborhoods and communities.

By March 15th, Governor DeWine will introduce his inaugural operating budget recommendations. Based on his children’s agenda and actions taken in the first two months of his administration, child advocates throughout the state are optimistic that many needed policies and investments in children and families will be included in his proposals.