Antonio Announces $3 Million State Grant To Reduce Infant Mortality
Says state partnership will be crucial in lowering Cuyahoga County's high infant mortality rate

State Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) today announced the allocation of $3 million in state funds for First Year Cleveland, a city-county initiative to combat Cuyahoga County’s alarmingly high infant mortality rates. The state investment is part of a total $26.8 million allocated in the latest state budget to support community-driven proposals to combat infant mortality at the local level and enhance efficacy among various agencies that provide care for at-risk women and infants.

“I am very pleased that the state is taking concrete steps to combat infant mortality in Cuyahoga County,” said Antonio. “First Year Cleveland’s partnership with the state will help educate the public on preventative practices, provide prenatal care for mothers and pursue innovative solutions to help more infants reach their first birthday.”

Cuyahoga County averages an infant mortality rate of 14.51 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Ohio ranks 45th in the nation in overall infant mortality with a rate of 6.8 deaths per 1,000 births, and last in African American infant mortality with a rate of 14.3 – more than twice the rate of white babies.

The state investment will support the following community projects:

-The Centering Pregnancy Program, a state initiative first tested in 2015, will provide prenatal care to groups of eight to twelve women in 90-minute sessions. These sessions are coordinated by a group facilitator and nurse midwives, and follow the schedule of regular prenatal visits. Education and group discussion of breastfeeding, nutrition, parenting and other pregnancy-related concerns will be a primary focus of these meetings. Total Funding Amount: $760,000.

-Several home visiting programs are to be strengthened by state funding. These programs provide in-home visits to mothers before and after delivery. Studies show that mothers who participate in these programs have better prenatal health and fewer subsequent pregnancies. Total Funding Amount: $2 million.

-Local fatherhood initiatives will fund programs to educate new fathers about how to care for their newborn children. Total Funding Amount: $200,000.

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The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences released the report “Taking Measure of Ohio’s Opioid Crisis” Tuesday, highlighting the grim realities many in the state are experiencing, but also making a case for greater treatment access and expanded educational and economic opportunities for Ohioans.

“This report confirms that treatment is necessary to stem the tide of this opioid crisis, and clearly we do not have enough treatment options currently available,” said Antonio. “We can do better. We must do better. Taxpayers deserve better economic opportunities, a strong and affordable educational foundation, and greater access to healthcare services – all things that we know will prevent opioid addiction and abuse.”

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