There’s been no shortage of opportunities for the Office of Policy to partner with stakeholders and elevate the voice of people with disabilities and their families.
On September 19, Maggie Gons from OCALI’s Center for the Young Child, and Teresa Kobelt from the Office of Policy were the featured speakers for Groundwork Ohio’s first Early Childhood Mental Health webinar. Maggie and Teresa focused on the connection between developmental milestone and early childhood mental health. If you missed the webinar, you can access the recording here.
In September, Melissa Bacon, Director of Government Relations & Stakeholder Engagement, attended the National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers Capacity Building Hub. The event was part of the Pritzker Children’s Initiative’s Prenatal-to-Age-Three initiative aimed at expanding high-quality services nationally to at least one million more low-income families with infants and toddlers by 2023. Groundwork Ohio was awarded a Pritzker grant, and organized a team to attend the event, including OCALI, early childhood stakeholders, and partners from the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Governor’s Office. Ohio has led efforts to include children with disabilities in this initiative…putting the “all” in “all kids.”
On behalf of the Interagency Work Group on Autism (IWGA), the Office of Policy has developed a survey for transition youth. The IWGA wants to hear from young adults who have recently exited high school – what are they doing, what’s going well, what’s not. Like the family survey issued this summer, the results will help guide the IWGA’s work. The survey can be found here and will be open from September 30 – October 11. Preliminary results will be discussed with state partners at the joint meeting of the Employment First Task Force and IWGA in October – National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
As part of NDEAM, the Office of Policy is working with our partners at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities to launch Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). DMD takes place the third Wednesday in October. Students and job seekers are paired with a career professional to learn what it means to work in that field, observe a typical workday, identify necessary skills, and learn about possible internships or employment prospects. The official DMD “toolkit” with information and resources can be found here.
Last but not least, House Bill 166 (state budget) charged the Ohio Family and Children First cabinet council, led by former state representative Sarah LaTourette, with developing a comprehensive, multi-system youth action plan. In order to develop this plan, Director LaTourette has convened a group of stakeholders, including the Office of Policy, to provide input. The plan is due to the legislature by December 31.