Infant Mortality

Associated Press

Ohio’s two gubernatorial candidates are laying out their plans for how to help children succeed. Both Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray say it all begins before the kids are even born, but Cordray sees one clear difference with his take.

Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine gestures during a speech in Columbus unveiling proposals on children's issues.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

The Republican candidate for governor has released what he says is a plan to invest in Ohio’s kids, families and future. But Democrats are saying his record says otherwise.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rich Cordray brought his campaign to Cincinnati and Springfield Monday. In Hamilton County, he met with healthcare professionals and largely focused on reducing infant mortality.

The agency that helps finance low- and moderate-income housing in Ohio is giving developers incentives to reduce infant mortality.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency has awarded close to $8 million in tax credits to 10 developments because they’ve partnered with an infant-mortality prevention organization. A third of the credits went to three developments in Cuyahoga County that will work with First Year Cleveland.

Six months ago, Melissa Nichols brought her baby girl, Arlo, home from the hospital. And she immediately had a secret.

"I just felt guilty and like I didn't want to tell anyone," says Nichols, who lives in San Francisco. "It feels like you're a bad mom. The mom guilt starts early, I guess."

Across town, first-time mom Candyce Hubbell has the same secret — and she hides it from her pediatrician. "I don't really want to be lectured," she says. "I know what her stance will be on it."

London Scout / Unsplash

During her second pregnancy, 25-year old Jessica Roach thought she would have a smooth experience, like the first one, but her health deteriorated.

Jess Mador / WYSO

State health officials are promoting visiting nurse programs as part of a statewide strategy to reduce Ohio’s infant mortality rate. It’s persistently higher than the national rate, despite recent progress in reducing the number of sleep-related infant deaths.

baby crib mobile
Pexels

Despite years of efforts to push down the infant mortality rate of black babies, the latest data shows Ohio has a worse rate than nearly every other state in the nation.

Editor's note: This story contains language that may be offensive.

In February 2009, Samantha Pierce became pregnant with twins. It was a time when things were going really well in her life.

She and her husband had recently gotten married. They had good jobs.

"I was a kick-ass community organizer," says Pierce, who is African-American and lives in Cleveland. She worked for a nonprofit that fought against predatory lending. The organization was growing, and Pierce had been promoted to management.

Halo SleepSack

In 2016, 1,024 Ohio children under the age of 1 died - more than the previous year, despite concerted efforts on the part of government officials and non-profits to curb infant deaths. One of those non-profits, the Columbus-based CelebrateOne, is pushing another effort to keep babies safe. 

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