GOP Governor Kim Reynolds Is Making Iowa A National Leader For Children’s Mental Healthcare

Iowa’s State Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill to create a first-ever statewide children’s mental health system,

GOP Governor Kim Reynolds is making major progress toward her goal of establishing Iowa as a national leader for providing mental health services to children.

Iowa’s State Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill to create a first-ever statewide children’s mental health system, which has been one of Governor Reynolds’ top priorities for this year’s legislative session. This new system puts Iowa in position to pioneer an innovative approach to improving mental health services for young people across the Hawkeye State.


Governor Reynolds’ work to ensure that the most vulnerable Iowans have access to quality mental healthcare is just the latest way that Iowa’s first woman governor is achieving real results for working families.

The Iowa Senate voted 46-2 Tuesday to create a first-ever statewide children’s mental health system, sending Gov. Kim Reynolds one of her top priorities of the 2019 session.

‘This bill will finally help organize what was once a piecemeal system for our children’s mental health and youth services,’ said Sen. Jeff Edler, R-State Center, who served as floor manager for House File 690.

HF 690 — a proposal that came from Reynolds and was based on recommendations made by experts and advocates — establishes a system just for children, lays out what core services must be provided, and creates a state board to oversee it. The bill would create a system by 2020 to serve children up to age 18 who have serious emotional disturbances.

‘We’ve talked about a children’s mental health system for a long time, and it’s time to finally put the structure in place, to talk about what the governance looks like, to align it with the adult mental health system,’ Reynolds told reporters Tuesday. ‘People don’t know where to start, so little things can make a big difference in getting kids the help they need.’

The governor’s proposal — which called for an initial $3 million state investment — establishes eligibility requirements, outlines core services to be provided statewide, aligns the new children’s system with the regionally focused adult system and creates a board to oversee the new system.

The bill establishes a children’s behavioral health system and an oversight board; eligibility requirements and core services; new duties of the state Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Disability Services; regional mental health services provided through the adult Mental Health and Disability Services system; and regional governance.

‘Iowans understand this crucial effort has the potential to improve and even save lives,’ Reynolds said in a statement her office issued after Tuesday’s Senate vote. ‘I commend the Iowa Legislature on their bipartisan approach to get this done and look forward to signing this bill once it reaches my desk.’"