Home visitation front and center for new Ohio governor

On Tuesday, Jan 15, Governor Mike DeWine and leaders from the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association announced the creation of an advisory committee with the goal of ensuring at-risk families can give their children the best start in life. 

Michael Fisher, CEO, and Judith Van Ginkel, PhD, were invited to represent Cincinnati Children’s as members of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Home Visitation. The panel is tasked with making recommendations on how best to increase the state’s investment in effective home visitation programs. Van Ginkel will serve as vice chair of the committee while Melissa Saladonis, assistant vice president for Government Relations, will also represent Cincinnati Children’s.

Van Ginkel is president of Every Child Succeeds, which aims to prepare parents and their children for healthy, successful lives by focusing on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. The centerpiece of the program is in-home parenting education and support delivered by professional home visitors. Home visitation can strengthen the emotional bond between parent and child, build parental confidence, and enhance family self-sufficiency. Since its inception, they’ve served over 25,000 families and completed almost 600,000 home visits.

“This committee is taking advantage of the level of excellence, the emphasis on quality, community trust and emphasis on research and development that children’s hospitals possess,” said Van Ginkel. “What we are seeing is a model for not only what home visiting can be, but also how a home visiting program can be well integrated into a children’s hospital.” 

She commended the governor for keeping a campaign pledge to focus on children’s issues, particularly early childhood development and looking to children’s hospitals around the state to lead the effort.

The committee has developed an action plan and was slated to present their recommendations to the governor by March 1.

Above right: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine commissioned an advisory committee on home visitation, of which Judy Van Ginkel, PhD, (standing, sixth from left), will be vice chair.