State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced that House Bill (HB) 12, his bipartisan bill with state Rep. Don Manning (R-New Middletown) to create the Children’s Behavioral Health Prevention Network Stakeholder Group, was signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
“I am thrilled to see the Governor sign HB 12 into law. For too long, we have lacked a coordinated and integrated effort to adequately support our children’s social, behavioral and emotional health. This stakeholder group accomplishes that exact purpose, and it will provide Ohio’s families and caregivers with the tools they need to ensure each and every child has the opportunity to thrive, not just survive,” said West. “We know that 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin before the age of 14, so the earlier health professionals can intervene in these cases, the better off Ohio’s children will be.”
The stakeholder group will include the Director of the Governor’s Children’s Initiatives; several state agency directors (or their designees) whose agencies are pertinent to the stakeholder group’s mission; and representatives, as chosen by the Director of the Governor’s Children’s Initiatives, from several relevant external groups.
Under the act, the Director of Children’s Initiatives will determine the scope of the group’s inquiry and coordinate the efforts of its members in developing common goals, best practices for behavioral health prevention and a prevention pilot program. The group will also collect data focused on health outcomes as well as race, ethnicity, parental income and education, and type of health insurance. At the conclusion of this 18-month process, the group will submit a report containing its recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly.