Children’s Defense Fund


What is the Children’s Defense Fund and what does it do?

In 1973 the national Children’s Defense Fund was founded to ensure every child  a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

The Children’s Defense Fund of Ohio (CDF- Ohio) is a state office of the national organization founded in 1981. CDF- Ohio writes polices and provides programs that helps lift children out of poverty, protects them from abuse and neglect, and ensures access to health care, quality education, as well as moral and spiritual foundations.

What is ICHIA?

ICHIA is the Legal Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act. It is a Medicaid option for children under 21 and pregnant women without the usual five-year waiting period for legally residing immigrants.

Why don’t more people utilize this option?

A challenged faced by the CDF is under-education. Many County Job and Family Services Offices are unaware that this option exists and turn away eligible people.

What is the CDF doing to combat this?

CDF-Ohio is approaching this issue in two steps. The first is to education Country JFS Offices about ICHIA and culturally competent healthcare with the help of partner organizations. The second step is to educate the community and encourage them to apply for Medicaid benefits.

In order to educate the public on the ICHIA option, CDF-Ohio has circulated several advertisements, including bench ads, newspaper ads placed in La Jornada Latina (a Hispanic newspaper with reach from Dayton to Cincinnati), and advertisements at the Cincinnati Hispanic fest. These various outreach methods are estimated to reach over 600,000 people in the Cincinnati area.

The CDF-Ohio also provides grants to ethnic minority community organizations that work directly with the community. These organizations provide research on how to best reach out to the communities. These contacts provide connections with local religious leaders who can spread awareness about ICHIA and Medicaid options.

What is being done to provide culturally competent heath care to minority populations?

The CDF-Ohio finds face-to-face interactions with medical services are more beneficial than online consultations. Although online consultations could be more convenient, it is essential for the public health that in-person medical services be available for people of all cultural backgrounds.

In order to increase opportunities for ethnic minority children to reach culturally competent health care, both medical professionals and community service organizations should educate themselves on both the opportunities and options available for ethnic minorities and legally residing immigrants.

Spreading awareness is essential in the success of ICHIA. Anyone interested in helping get the word out and improve access to care should educate themselves on ICHIA via the CDF-Ohio website provided below.


Want more information?

Readers interested in receiving posters or postcards with information regarding ICHIA, please email Robert Southers at

To learn more about CDF-Ohio’s work in Children’s health, readers can visit

To learn more about ICHIA eligibility visit .


Edited by: Colleen Rizzo, Global Education Intern

Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council does not own or claim to own these photos.

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