Dems: Senate takes steps to improve children’s mental health care

March 21, 2016

When kids face mental health problems, families, teachers, social workers and courts want to help in the best way possible.


Last year, the Legislature created a Children’s Mental Health & Well-Being Workgroup to lay the foundation for a system to help kids in a mental health crisis. The group looked at new approaches to working with at-risk and in-need children, as well as complex cases. The effort found support in educators, courts, mental health providers and United Way agencies across the state.


Based on the group’s recommendations, the Senate unanimously approved SF 2297. The bill creates planning grants that will be issued by the Department of Human Services. The planning grant groups will compile their system solutions, and a report with recommendations by DHS, the Mental Health & Disabilities Services Commission, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Mental Health Planning Commission will be submitted to the Legislature by next session.


SF 2297 also creates Children’s Well-Being Learning Labs, which will provide a multi-site learning process to discover the best practices in collaborative approaches to addressing children’s well-being.


These activities will go on simultaneously, and next year the beginnings of a multi-dimensional system that includes schools, public health, courts, community providers, families and more will be presented to the Legislature for further consideration.

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