Call for Action!
(March 14, 2018 to the end of the 2018 Legislative Session)
Tell your legislators to pass the first steps to building a Statewide Children’s Mental Health System this session.
Approve The Children’s Mental Health & Wellbeing Advisory Committee’s recommendation for first steps to building a Children’s System: Include the following in the 2018 Appropriations Bill.
- Put children’s mental health core services in Iowa Code (like they are for adults).
- Establish a Statewide Board that will oversee the creation of the system. (Estimated cost $80,000-$100,000)
- Continue & expand children’s Collaboratives (Estimated cost $300,000-$600,000).
- Support and maintain existing funding for local services. (For example, do not cut the Systems of Care that currently exist in 14 counties and continue to buy down the waiting list for the Children’s Mental Health Medicaid Waiver.)
- Speak about this issue at your local legislative session this or next weekend.
- Find your local event at: http://www.infonetiowa.org/calendar/events/
- Go to the Statehouse and talk to your legislators.
- Call and e-mail your legislators.
- Find their contact information at: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
- Spread the call for action, talking points, and this website through social media using #MHforIowaKids and talk to your friends about this issue.
The Talking Points:
Iowa does not have a children’s mental health system.
- There is no dedicated funding for a children’s mental health system
- There is no point of responsibility at the state or local level.
- There is no state code ensuring core services throughout the state.
- The existing Mental Health Regions and Tax Levy are not required to serve Iowan’s under the age of 18.
If you are not writing kids in, you are writing them off!
No changes to the current mental health system affect those under 18 because the current system does not serve kids. Children have to be explicitly written into any new policy or code in order for it to affect them.
The Time to act is Now!
Iowa failed to include kids in the Mental Health Redesign despite recommendations to do so in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Children’s Disability Services Workgroup reports. Many of us parents were outraged that nothing happened, and so we organized the 2015 Coalition for a Children’s Mental Health Redesign (Chaired by Tammy Nyden and Rene Speh). They authored the Statewide Call for Action for a Children’s Mental Health System Redesign. This helped to get legislators to pass legislation to get create the Children’s Mental Health & Wellness Workgroup to take up the issue. That workgroup met in 2015 and 2016 and in 2017 it was formalized into the ongoing Children’s Mental Health & Wellness Advisory Committee. (Tammy Nyden and Rene Speh served on both workshops and currently serve on the committee as parent representatives.) This current call for action is to support the most recent recommendation of the current Children’s Mental Health & Wellness Advisory Committee.
The time for talk is over, it is time for Iowa to take action!
For more information, see the DHS website: https://dhs.iowa.gov/mhds-advisory-groups/childrens-mental-health-well-being-workgroup
This is just the first step.
Next year: establish area boards, begin collaboration and monitoring of local services, and start to identify & begin to fill service gaps.
To see more information on the larger vision for the Children’s System, check out the March 8, 2018 Presentation and White Paper given to the Human Resources Joint Appropriations Subcommittee: