Ohio Connections for Children with Special Needs
Birth defects or congenital anomalies are one of the leading causes of infant death in the United States and account for approximately 19 percent of infant deaths in Ohio. Nationally, birth defects are a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout childhood. Approximately three percent of babies are born with a birth defect. In Ohio, this is approximately 4,500 babies each year.
The goals of the Ohio Connections for Children with Special Needs (OCCSN) are to: 1) establish a statewide birth defects information system to detect trends and epidemics, and to stimulate research; 2) facilitate access to treatment and intervention services to improve children's health outcomes; and 3) inform and educate health professionals and the public about birth defects and how they may be prevented.
Ohio Revised Code 3705.30 authorizes the Director of Health to require hospitals, physicians and freestanding birthing centers to report children from birth to five years of age with birth defects to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). In Fall, 2007, all hospitals in the state began reporting.
Connecting children to services is an important component of OCCSN. OCCSN staff make referrals to local agencies for follow-up to assure that families and children are informed of medical and support services available. Children are referred to the Help Me Grow Program (0-3 years of age) in the county where they reside. Information about programs and services is provided by local county staff. Parents may decide if they want to receive services.
Ohio Partners for Birth Defects Prevention is a statewide, multi-disciplinary work group committed to promoting preconception health messages to educate health professionals and consumers understand how birth defects may occur and how women can reduce their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect. This group develops educational materials and promotes Birth Defects Prevention Awareness Month in January each year.
OCCSN is housed with the Genetics Section located within the Children with Medical Handicaps Program (BCMH) in the Bureau for Children with Developmental and Special Health Needs. In addition to OCCSN, the section includes the Genetic Services Program, the Sickle Cell Program, and the Metabolic Formula Program.
Ohio Connections for Children with Special Needs (OCCSN)
Bureau for Children with Developmental and Special Health Needs
246 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Last Updated: 12/31/2012