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Ohio Allies Launch Innovative Center for Family Voice as Part of Ongoing Work on Race and Rural Equity

Our Allies in Ohio, Groundwork Ohio, have announced plans to build a “center of excellence” dedicated to authentically engaging Ohio parents and families in the policies and practices that impact the healthy development of their children. The Center for Family Voice will explore best practices across the state and nation that successfully engage families in public services delivery to inform state, local, and programmatic policy development.

Using its findings, the Center will work with local partners across Ohio to implement unique engagement models that meet the diverse needs of local communities. Ultimately, the center will drive programmatic, policy, and practice changes at local, regional, and state levels by integrating the family voice into the decision-making process of Ohio’s family-serving systems. The Center for Healthcare Strategies, nationally known for its expertise in advancing innovations in health care delivery for low-income Americans, will be providing technical support to the Center in the developmental stages of the project.

Despite increased attention on the persistent gaps that exist in the health and educational outcomes of Ohio’s pregnant women and young children, Ohio is failing to move the dial on any measure. Recent research underscores that the failure to include the feedback from the people most directly impacted by policy in an authentic way contributes to poor policy outcomes.


“The Center for Family Voice will empower families to drive change and improve the healthy development of Ohio’s young children.”

Shannon Jones, Executive Director
Groundwork Ohio


The Center builds on this growing body of research as well as the learnings from Groundwork’s landmark Ohio Early Childhood Race and Rural Equity Report in 2018 and its most recent 2020 follow-up report, Drafting a New Blueprint for Success: Reflections on Ohio Early Childhood Race & Rural Equity.

“Notwithstanding well-intentioned efforts, the stark health and educational disparities that persist among people of color, people living in poverty, and people living in Ohio’s rural Appalachian region make it clear that more needs to be done,” said Shannon Jones, Executive Director of Groundwork Ohio.

The Center for Family Voice is starting research on best practices of organizations nationwide and across Ohio. Implementing these engagement models will begin later in the year and will span across issues that impact young children and their families.

The center will be made possible by an “historic investment” from the MolinaCares Accord Foundation.

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