Says information left out of article on Children’s Mental Health System

The April 30th story by Dan Mundt, titled “Legislature hands juvenile health to counties” left out key information that is needed to understand the actions taken by the Iowa Legislature in creating a Children’s Mental Health System, a high priority for the citizens of Iowa and our Governor.

HF691, signed by the Governor on May 1st, which was public knowledge at the time the April 30th article was written, extends the ending fund balance deadline for mental health regions by five years, to assist in funding the establishment of the Children’s Mental Health system. After five years, they will be allowed to retain 40% of the balance, which had been previously set at 20 or 25%, depending on the size of the region. Rolling Hills Community Services Region, of which Crawford County is a part, had an ending balance in 2018 of over $4 million, which as a percentage of their expenditures is 122%.

The article leaves the impression that counties are unhappy with and had no input into the establishment of the Children’s Mental Health System. This is not accurate. The Iowa Association of Counties registered in support of the legislation. There was also mental health region representation on the board that developed the recommendations we followed in passing this legislation.

In conclusion, the Legislature acted to ensure that funding was more readily available to the regions in the establishment of a Children’s Mental Health framework by extending the fund balance deadline. Additionally, we increased the allowable ending balance by 20%. We received input from the regions in the creation of the plan, which was supported by the Association which represents Iowa counties. These facts would have been beneficial for perspective in Mr. Mundt’s article.

Steven Holt,

State Representative, District 18

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