Engaging Communities for Children


Connecting Appalachian Communities to Powerful Resources

CDF-Ohio is committed to Ohio’s Appalachian children and families.  Earlier this year, we released an updated report—Ohio’s Appalachian Children at a Crossroads: A Roadmap for Action—on the status of our region’s children. With child poverty rates in the region over 25%, there is much work to do. We are moving forward a campaign for action. We know with the right public and private partnerships and investments, the region can seize the opportunities and surmount the challenges.

To foster cross-collaboration, CDF-Ohio held a series of community roundtables throughout the Appalachian region. Together with our regional partner, COAD, we engaged nearly 200 people in Athens, Lisbon, Hillsboro and Portsmouth this fall. At each meeting, we provided an overview of the Report and highlighted a regional best practice that has proven successful for Appalachian children and families. The community roundtables sparked conversation between attendees from across community sectors- academia, healthcare, education, corporate, philanthropy, and faith communities. The rich discussion on “what works” and sharing resources and solutions was invaluable. CDF-Ohio gratefully acknowledges our platinum Appalachian Community Roundtable Sponsors, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio and Ohio Children's Foundation.

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CDF-Ohio's Dawn Wallace-Pascoe, Director of Data & Research (L) and Renuka Mayadev, Executive Director (R) speak at the community roundtables.


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A $5,000 Scholarship Opportunity for High School Seniors

CDF-Ohio is currently accepting nominations for our 2017 Beat the Odds® (BTO) Scholarship Program! 

Each year, the BTO program honors, celebrates and rewards five outstanding Ohio high school seniors who have overcome tremendous adversity to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership and aspire to continue their education. These five students each receive a $5,000 scholarship and a laptop computer, along with access to the Children’s Defense Fund’s leadership programs and network of BTO alumni.

Please help us locate deserving high school seniors by providing the 2017 Beat the Odds Scholarship Application link to a deserving student or a school counselor, teacher or coach who can help spread the word about this scholarship opportunity. Don’t hesitate – the application deadline is Wednesday, November 30, 2016.


Truancy Reform Bill Set for Vote in Ohio Senate

House Bill 410, a bill that would reform Ohio’s approach to truant youth (children who miss too much school), is pending in the Ohio Senate. CDF-Ohio whole-heartedly supports this bipartisan bill, which focuses on getting children back in school without sending truancy cases to the courts. The bill passed the Ohio House in May 2016 by a vote of 92-1. To be successful, children must be in school, and HB 410 would ensure that the adults in a child’s life take responsibility for getting the child back in the classroom. The bill requires schools to work with parents, students, and school personnel to find out why the child is missing school and address the issues underlying the child’s absence. Now is the time to contact your State Senator and urge him/her to support H.B. 410! Find out who your State Senator is here.


Ashon McKenzie

Welcome Policy Director Ashon McKenzie!

CDF-Ohio is delighted to welcome Ashon McKenzie. He will serve as our Policy Director.  Most recently, Ashon joins us from the Ohio Legislature where he worked as a policy lead on health, civil and criminal justice, and state and local government issues. Prior to his work in the Legislature, he was an Assistant Ohio Attorney General focused on state and federal education and criminal justice matters. His skills as an attorney coupled with hands-on experience side by side with elected officials strengthens our policy and advocacy voi​ce for Ohio’s children. Ashon resides in Columbus with his wife and two children.


Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio in the News

Many ECOT Students Miss 30 Days or More
October 30, 2016, The Columbus Dispatch

Report Charts Hike in Ohio Newborns Exposed to Opioids
October 2, 2016, The Athens News

Zero Tolerance Policies in Schools
September 14, 2016, WOSU, All Sides with Ann Fisher

Possible Juvenile and Adult Prison Merger
August 30, 2016, WOSU, All Sides with Ann Fisher

Little Progress in Well-Being of Rural Ohio Appalachian Children, Report Says
June 29, 2016, Education Week

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