State Reps. Gail Pavliga (R-Portage County) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) are joint primary sponsors of House Bill 428, which creates the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study Commission. The legislation passed in the Ohio House earlier today.
“We want to ensure that we remove obstacles and any possible barriers that Ohio families face in order to improve the lives of children across our state,” Pavliga said. “Through this thorough and methodical approach, that’s exactly what our bill intends to do.”
Edwards said one of the themes that really came through during the committee process was how much work is needed in this area – especially here in Ohio, which has one of the highest levels of early childhood trauma in the country.
“We have the expertise to really start addressing some of these challenges and that’s our goal with this legislation: to bring people together to solve problems,” Edwards said.
According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, nearly two-thirds of Ohioans have been exposed to ACEs, which includes abuse, community violence, suicide, mental and physical health issues and imprisonment. The commission seeks to change those numbers.
Once the study is finalized by experts from the commission, a report will be issued to the General Assembly to move forward with comprehensive solutions.
After four hearings in the House Behavioral Health and Recovery Supports Committee, the bill was approved by the committee and had support from several organizations including the Ohio School Counselor Association, the Family Center at Children’s Advantage, Public Children Services Association of Ohio and Portage County Job and Family Services.
House Bill 428 now heads to the Senate for consideration.