Category Archives: Blog

Des Moines Childhood Asthma-Mitigation Project Receives National Grant

Des Moines Childhood Asthma-Mitigation Project Receives National Grant

Healthy Homes Des Moines (HHDSM) announced today that it has received a two-year, $250,000 grant from the national BUILD Health Challenge to support its efforts to mitigate environmental triggers adversely impacting childhood asthma. The grant is one of 19 received by health-related projects in the United States that are Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local and Data-Driven. Mid-Iowa Health Foundation and Telligen Community Initiative are two of twelve national partners funding this initiative, which is called BUILD 2.0 and described in Inside Philanthropy.

 

Healthy Homes Des Moines (HHDSM) is a collaboration among Polk County Housing Trust Fund, Polk County Health Department, Mercy Medical Center, Broadlawns Medical Center, UnityPoint Health, the City of Des Moines, the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation,Telligen Community Initiative, Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, and Des Moines Public Schools. Collectively, the partners are committing substantial cash, in-kind resources, and staff time to make the project possible.

 

In the release, Suzanne Mineck, President of the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, states that HHDSM’s goal is “to make major changes in upstream health initiatives to improve the lives and health of children in our community.” The project will build on two years of work, funded by a similar grant called BUILD 1.0, to improve unhealthy home environments that adversely impact asthma-affected Des Moines children from 2-12 years old. HHDSM’s intervention follows a multi-step process that identifies and refers children the project might benefit, assesses how to make home environments safer, hires contractors to make improvements to the built environment, educates families on healthy home management, and provides care coordination and community referrals.

 

Besides this individual family work, HHDSM will initiate system change efforts to expand asthma-related housing mitigation in Des Moines and elsewhere in Iowa by:

 

  1. Pursuing third-party payment for home remediation and health education services from one or more of the three Managed Care Organizations that operate Iowa’s Medicaid program
  2. Strengthening housing inspections, local ordinances, and state landlord-tenant law to improve the built environments of families with asthma-impaired children
  3. Involving Iowa family support projects in identifying housing triggers and helping families address them

 

To further these efforts, HHDSM will add additional partners, including a representative from the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Action to Extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program Is Needed

Action to Extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program Is Needed

Authorization for the federal/state Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — called hawk-i in Iowa — ends on September 30. A broad range of national, state, and local advocates are calling for prompt action to extend this program.

 

Hawk-i provides health insurance for 80,000 children with family income too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to pay the full cost of private insurance. Depending on family size and income, children receive hawk-i coverage at no or modest cost (see this DHS table). Thanks to Medicaid, hawk-i, and private insurance, 96 percent of Iowa’s children have insurance coverage.

 

In an October 2016 letter to federal committee chairs, the American Academy of Pediatrics and 50 other organizations expressed their support for extending CHIP. The letter stresses that CHIP “continues to play an important role in the coverage landscape for children and pregnant women” and ensures health and dental coverage so children “can access the health care they need to survive and thrive.” The letter also notes that CHIP is specifically designed with children in mind and offers pediatric-appropriate networks so that children “may access medically and developmentally appropriate care.”

 

Over its 20 years, CHIP has had broad bipartisan support. Indeed, in 2015, four of Iowa’s six federal legislators voted to extend CHIP: Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. Joni Ernst, Rep. David Loebsack, and Rep. David Young. Despite this past support, reauthorization of CHIP by September 30 is uncertain because of Congress’s workload and political crosswinds. As a result, child and family advocates are urged to contact federal legislators to ask them to support CHIP’s extension.

 

Child and Family Policy Center has developed resources to support these advocacy efforts including:

 

 

Iowa has unspent CHIP funds that will allow hawk-i coverage to continue beyond October 1 — though how long into 2018 is uncertain. Other states are in worse situations, so action this fall is critical for the well-being of many of the country’s children.

Looking at Iowa’s Child Welfare Data to Inform Policy Choices

Looking at Iowa’s Child Welfare Data to Inform Policy Choices

This blog’s new publication, Looking at Iowa’s Child Welfare Data to Inform Policy Choicesis now available. The publication uses data from Iowa Department of Human Services sources to analyze reports and assessments of child abuse, the number of types of abuse, county-specific figures, and child welfare services and costs. Several of the tables linked in the report are posted below.

 

The report concludes that recent increases in service levels and drug-related cases, along with variation in abuse rates among Iowa’s counties, raise concerns about the state’s ability to respond adequately. This concern is heightened with the widely reported increased service demands in 2017 and lack of additional state revenue to meet the demand.

 

The report also raises questions about how well Iowa is preventing child abuse before it occurs. Are there sufficient resources to support families earlier, and are those resources used most effectively? Will those resources be reduced to meet child welfare service demands?

 

Linked tables:

Child Abuse 2016

Iowa abuse 2014-16

DCC and drugs 2014-16

Sexual and physical abuse 2014-16

Iowa average abuse type 2014-16

Changes in Types of Abuse 2010-16

Increases in Abuse

 

 

Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: Service Levels and Costs

Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: Service Levels and Costs

In responding to the recent starvation deaths, legislators have questioned the extent to which child welfare services demands have increased recently and/or spending on services declined. As a step toward finding an answer, this report looks at five years of DHS reports called “Child Welfare by the Numbers,” which list average monthly service levels and state and total costs of providing them. (Federal funding pays about half the costs of the listed child welfare services.)

 

Table 6 lists the average monthly service levels for 2012-16. The figures show an increase in only one category of service: adoption subsidies paid until a child turns 18. The average monthly number of children receiving shelter care has changed little from year to year. By contrast, service levels are at least ten percent lower in 2016 than in 2012 in three categories:

 

  • Families receiving family-centered services
  • Children in licensed family foster care services
  • Children in highly structured group settings

 

Table 6
Monthly Average of Children and Families Served, 2012-16

Major Services 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Family centered services  4,836  5,122  5,053  4,283  4,335
Family foster care  2,068  1,897  1,795  1,740  1,759
Group care  796  756  717  695  635
Adoption Subsidies  8,960  9,215  9,373  9,490  9,623
Shelter Care  154  164  154  151  147

 

Table 7 lists the state and total spending for six categories of child welfare spending.  The table shows total spending levels have increased each year for adoption subsidies and DHS social workers, which collectively account for more than 60 percent of the costs. After declining in 2015 to $23.4 million, spending for family-centered services rose in 2016 to $34.6 million. Group and shelter care spending both rose in 2015 and 2016, while foster care spending is below the 2013 level. Overall, spending in 2016 was higher than any of the last four years.

 

Table 7
State and Total Costs for Child Welfare Services for Children, 2013-16 (in Millions)

2013

2014 2015

2016

Types of Services State Total State Total State Total State Total
Family centered services $4.0 $27.3 $4.7 $28.7 $2.1 $23.9 $0.1 $34.6
Family foster care $10.8 $19.9 $10.2 $18.6 $10.4 $18.2 $11.2 $18.2
Group care $18.8 $26.7 $17.8 $26.6 $20.5 $29.2 $23.0 $27.3
Adoption Subsidies $31.4 $68.6 $39.8 $72.2 $41.3 $73.2 $42.4 $74.4
Shelter Care $7.4 $8.4 $7.3 $8.4 $7.4 $8.3 $8.1 $8.8
DHS social workers $21.7 $59.2 $23.5 $60.3 $24.9 $62.8 $24.8 $64.1
Totals $94.1 $210.1 $103.3 $214.8 $106.6 $215.6 $109.6 $227.4
Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: County Figures

Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: County Figures

DHS publishes annual county-specific data on the abuse reports, pathway assignments, confirmed or founded cases, types of abuse, and number of abused children. The 2016 figures are set forth for each county in Iowa Child Abuse by County.

 

Assessing child abuse in Iowa’s smaller counties based on one year’s data is problematic because of the potential for fluctuation because just a few cases less or more have a significant impact on rates. For that reason, linked table, Abused Children in Iowa, 2014-16, averages abused children figures in 2014-16.

 

As has been common, rates of child abuse vary widely, with some counties having rates four to five times those of counties with the lowest rates. Table 4 lists those counties with the highest and lowest rates of abuse per 1,000 children. Montgomery, Lee, Clinton, and Page counties all have rates of more than 20 children abused per 1,000, while the same rates for Mitchell, Buchanan, Dallas, Johnson, Sioux and Winneshiek counties are all less than 6 per 1,000.

 

Table 4
Counties with Highest and Lowest Avg. Rates of Abuse, 2014-16

 

County

2014 Pop’n 0-17

Avg. No. abused ch’n, 2014-16 Avg. rate/    1,000 ch’n 2014-16

County

2014 Pop’n 0-17 Avg. No. abused ch’n, 2014-16

Avg. rate/    1,000 ch’n 2014-16

Montgomery

2,360 53 22.46

Bremer

5,399 34

6.24

Lee

7,610

166 21.81

Ringgold

1,178 7

6.23

Clinton

10,893

233 21.42

Davis

2,535 16

6.18

Page

3,187 64 20.08

Plymouth

6,234 38

6.10

Appanoose

2,832

55

19.42

Kossuth

3,329

20

6.01

Greene

2,111

35

16.74

Mitchell

2,572

14

5.57

Decatur

1,801

30 16.66

Buchanan

5,604 31

5.47

Emmet

2,162 36 16.65

Dallas

22,100 117

5.29

Tama

4,210

69 16.47

Lyon

3,282 17

5.18

Hardin

3,643

57 15.74 Johnson 28,963 147

5.08

Cerro Gordo

8,865

139 15.64 Sioux 9,335 45

4.82

Woodbury

26,663

415 15.58 Winneshiek 3,930 18

4.50

 

A linked map (Chart 2) notes the 15 counties with the highest (in red) or lowest (in blue) average rates of abuse for 2014-16. The map shows some geographic clustering, with 7 of the 15 counties in the lower two tiers of Iowa counties having high rates of abuse (though three counties with low rates of abuse are also in the same area). By comparison, the three most Northwestern counties and five Northeastern ones have low rates of abuse. Other than Woodbury County, those counties with Iowa’s 15 most populous cities are not among the highest or lowest.

 

As mentioned above, the number of abused children rose almost 20 percent from 2014-16.  Abused Children in Iowa 2014-16 lists the changes in abuse figures for each county for the last three years. The increase in abuse figures was widespread, with 73 of Iowa’s 99 counties having more abused children in 2016 than in 2014. Table 5 (Iowa Counties with Largest Increase in Abused Children, 2014-16) lists those counties with the largest number of additional abused children in 2016, compared to 2014.

 

Other available county-specific resources include three tables showing trends in:

 

Sexual Abuse and Physical Injury, 2014-16 

Denial of Critical Care and Illegal Drugs, 2014-16 

Average Number of Types of Abuse, 2014-16 

Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: Types of Abuse

Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: Types of Abuse

State, and not federal law, defines what constitutes child abuse. Iowa’s abuse law includes these four categories of harm to a child by a caregiver: (1) neglect (called denial of critical care), (2) intentional physical injury, (3) sexual abuse, and (4) mental injury. Iowa law also includes activities related to drug use and manufacturing, allowing access to children by sex offenders, child prostitution, pornography, and sex trafficking.

 

Table 2 lists the number and types of abuse that DHS confirmed in 2016. Over 7 in 10 child abuse cases involved denial of critical care – where a parent or caretaker failed to provide adequate supervision, food, shelter, clothing, or other care necessary for a child’s well-being. Next most common were cases involving illegal drugs in a child’s body because of caretaker action or inaction (11.6 percent of all abuse), intentional physical injury (9.9 percent), and sexual abuse (5.9 percent). DHS found only 24 instances (0.2 percent) of mental injury.

 

 

In 2016, DHS found 137 cases (1.0 percent) of abuse involving a child’s parent or caretaker knowingly allowing a sex offender access to a child and 33 cases (0.3 percent) where a child’s parent or other caretaker was involved in manufacturing a dangerous drug in a child’s presence. This latter category of abuse will increase significantly with the 2017 Iowa Legislature’s passage of HF 543, which proscribes a wider range of activities involving several illegal drugs.)

 

Table 2

The Number of Types of Child Abuse Confirmed in 2016

 

Types of Abuse

Number Percent of All Abuse
Denial of critical care 9,369 71.2%
Presence of illegal drugs in a child’s body 1,522 11.6%
Physical injury 1,300 9.9%
Sexual abuse 773 5.9%
Allowing Access to a Sex Offender 137 1.0%
Manufacturing dangerous drug in child’s presence 33 0.3%
Mental injury 24

0.2%

 

The first report of this series described the increase in confirmed cases of child abuse from 2014 to 2016.  Table 3 shows where most of the growth in child abuse occurred: denial of critical care (1,785 more instances, representing a 23.5 percent rise) and presence of an illegal drug in a child’s body (601 more instances, representing a 65.3 percent rise). A coincident increase in these two types of abuse makes sense, as cases where proscribed illegal drug actions are involved often also lead to a finding of denial of critical care. Whether these combined increases indicate more illegal drug activity or increased vigilance is a question.

 

 

Table 3 shows that cases of physical injury dropped slightly, and sexual abuse rose from 719 instances in 2014 to 773 in 2016 — following a drop to 600 instances in 2015. The sexual abuse increase is linked to 2016 changes in Iowa law broadening who may be a sexual abuse perpetrator to include all household members and not just those responsible for the care of a child.

 

Table 3

Changes in Number of Types of Abuse, 2014-16

 

Denial of Critical Care Physical Abuse Sexual Abuse

Presence of Illegal Drugs in a Child’s Body

Years

No. % of all abuse No. % of all abuse No. % of all abuse No.

% of all abuse

2014

7,584

70.1% 1,339 12.4% 719 6.6% 921

8.5%

2015

8,852 71.7% 1,491 12.1% 600 4.9% 1,164

9.4%

2016

9,369

71.2% 1,300 9.9% 773 5.9% 1,522

11.6%

Change 2014-16

1,785

  -39   54  

601

 

 

Other available resources include four tables showing trends in:

 

Sexual Abuse and Physical Injury, 2014-16 (county-specific)

Denial of Critical Care and Illegal Drugs, 2014-16 (county-specific)

Average Number of Types of Abuse, 2014-16 (county-specific)

Changes in Types of Abuse 2010-16 (statewide)

Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: Trends in Overall Abuse

Looking at Iowa’s Child Abuse Data: Trends in Overall Abuse

In the last several months, Iowa’s child protection system has received considerable scrutiny following revelation of two teen deaths apparently from starvation. These deaths have shocked many and led to questions about the safety of children in Iowa, the efforts of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) to prevent abuse, and the legislature’s commitment to provide needed resources.

 

This is the first of four reports presenting Iowa DHS data to help determine the state of child abuse in Iowa, the demands on the  agency, the number of children and families receiving its services because of abuse, and the costs to DHS of responding. This report will focus on the overall extent of child abuse, with a look at preceding years to identify possible trends.  Subsequent reports will look at trends in the types of child abuse, the variation among counties in abuse rates, and the extent and cost of child protection services.

 

Each year, through a centralized intake system, the Iowa DHS receives reports about suspected child abuse from a myriad of sources. The agency determines which reports may constitute child abuse under Iowa law. Those that might constitute abuse – typically reports involving a child, a listed category of abuse, and a caregiver – are accepted and receive an agency response.

 

In 2014, DHS instituted a reform called Differential Response, which creates two pathways for handling reports alleging denial of critical care (commonly called neglect). Denial of critical care reports seen as involving low risk are assigned to the Family Assessment pathway. Those cases do not result in a determination of whether there was child abuse.

 

Reports with a higher perceived risk to children are assigned to the traditional Child Abuse Assessment pathway, where DHS staff do determine whether abuse occurred. (Family Assessment reports can be transferred to the Child Abuse Assessment pathway if the risk of harm to a child is greater than first perceived.) All other types of abuse except denial of critical care go the traditional assessment pathway, which results in a determination whether or not abuse occurred.

 

Here is how DHS handled accepted reports in calendar year 2016, with county-specific information available here:

 

  • Reports accepted: 25,707
  • Assigned to Family Assessment pathway: 7,457 (29.0%)
  • Assigned to Child Abuse Assessment pathway: 18,250 (71.0%)
  • Cases of confirmed or founded child abuse: 6,484 (35.5%)
  • Total children found to be abused: 8,892
  • Number of children found abused per 1,000 children: 12.25

 

The number of abused children in 2016 (8,892) is almost 20 percent higher than the 2014 figure (7,429 children) and 7 percent high than the 2015 one (8,298 children).The rise in the number of abused children is related both to an increase in the number of reports accepted (9 percent higher in 2016 than in 2014) and a decrease in the percentage of reports going the Differential Response pathway from 33 percent in 2014 to 29 percent in 2016 (see Table 1).

 

TABLE 1

DHS Response to Child Abuse Reports, 2014-16

Year Reports Accepted Family Assess-ments     Child Abuse Assess-ments  Percent Assigned to FA  Confirmed or founded reports Percent Confirmed  Abused Children  Children abused/ 1,000
2014 23,562 7,769 15,793 33.0% 5,534 35.0% 7,429 10.28
2015 24,298 7,469 16,829 30.7% 6,042 35.9% 8,298 11.43
2016 25,707 7,457 18,250 29.0% 6,484 35.5% 8,892 12.25

 

Iowa’s child abuse figures have varied in preceding years (see Iowa Abuse 1998-2013) with some increases even greater than the recent ones. Some increases been associated with events or developments, such as a high-profile child abuse homicide in 2000 and a rise in meth use and manufacturing in the early to mid-2000s. Other increases — perhaps including the recent one — have not been linked to events or factors. Given the visibility of the two recent abuse deaths and likely changes in agency practice, further increases in Iowa’s child abuse figures are likely – regardless of changes in other factors impacting child abuse.

 

The next report will examine trends in the types of child abuse in recent years to identify any changes that have occurred.

 

Summary of Government Oversight Hearing on Child Welfare, June 5, 2017

Summary of Government Oversight Hearing on Child Welfare, June 5, 2017

DHS Management Discussion 

 

Reaction: Administrator Wendy Rickman and Operations Manager Vern Armstrong shared their reactions to the two deaths. Rickman said they were unusual and different from her past experience and described herself as “flummoxed.” She said Armstrong told her the Finn case was “the worst I have ever seen.”

 

Response. At the recommendation of Casey Family Programs, DHS just contracted with the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (Alabama), a longstanding consulting firm, to conduct six onsite visits to review overarching policies and practices and engage with key stakeholders. DHS will be consulting with “the usual groups” during this process. The Alabama group will produce an assessment with possible recommendation for further reviews, and DHS will then decide where to go next. Legislators asked to be included in this process and questioned whether this expenditure was sufficient. Rickman reiterated that the group’s consultation was an initial one, with possibly more to follow.

 

Staffing and Caseloads. In response to concerns about caseload growth, DHS insisted that its child protection staff numbers are not declining. Over the five years, DHS has had 200-210 SW3 and 340-350 SW2 workers. SW3 workers do child abuse assessments and CINA investigations, and SW2s are the ongoing case managers. Turnover has been 12 percent a year, with the average SW2 staying 11 years and SW3 14. DHS said the workloads are in the range of 12-14 and have not been increasing until now, when DHS is accepting more cases. Senator Matt McCoy questioned these figures, saying that many DHS staff have told him their caseloads are much higher. Senator Petersen asked about the percentage of DHS child protection staff who are licensed social workers, and Rickman agreed that her figure of 17 percent was likely correctRep. Thede asked about the training for social workers. Armstrong said SW2s receive 160 hours and SW3s receive 152 hours.

 

Foster care. Rickman insisted that foster care in Iowa was very safe, with 99.7 percent of children remaining safe. This figure is calculated as set forth in a federal review process. DHS discussed its recent $6.8 million statewide contracts for recruitment, training, and support for foster and adoptive parents. Four Oaks is providing services in four regions and LSI in the West. Rep. Heaton asked about the typical profile of a foster child and wondered if it is getting harder to recruit foster parents and if foster children are getting more difficult. He also expressed concern that some parents were fostering too many children. Rickman said recruitment was harder and that foster children varied greatly in their ages and behaviors. Senator Petersen asked whether DHS monitored the practices of the private agencies to make sure they were doing the required home studies. DHS insisted it does.

 

Subsidized adoption oversight. Rickman reported that, after adoptions are completed, adoptive parents are treated like any other parent, even if they are receiving state subsidies. In other words, they are left alone and not monitored. DHS will only learn of problems in care through abuse reports. Some legislators questioned whether there should not be check-ins, at least where subsidies were involved. Rep. Breitbach asked if a code change would be needed for instituting follow-ups in subsidized adoption cases. Rickman said she thought legislation would be needed.

 

 Court System and Law Enforcement

 

County attorney involvement. Assistant county attorneys from Polk and Linn described how they handle DHS referrals and serve as a check on DHS actions. County attorneys receive information on all rejected and accepted cases and final assessment reports. They do not hear anything after family assessments.The Polk County attorney reported that her office does not look at the rejected reports. Legislators expressed concern about this review not occurring, saying an important check on the system was missing. The Polk County attorney expressed concern over funding levels and insisted caseloads were increasing.

 

Juvenile Court Judge. Polk County judge Colin Witt described his court’s practices, which include providing a guardian ad litem and attorney for each child. He described the notice parents receive. There are provisions for a child to give testimony without the parents being present. Legislators asked about out-of-state placements with relatives that might make it harder for parents to connect. DHS usually prefers an Iowa foster provider, even if not a relative, to assist with reunification.

 

Sheriffs. Sheriffs from Marshall and Dickinson counties described their collaboration with DHS. One expressed his concern over DHS caseloads and the amount of travel involved.

 

 Home Schooling

 

At several points in the hearing, legislators and DHS expressed concerns that home schooling takes away an important safety net for children, schools, whose employees submit the most reports of suspected abuse of any group. Scott Woodruff, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, testified. He insisted that, despite the three cases (and a fourth to be reported on soon), there really was no pattern of abuse related to home schooling. He insisted home schooling was safe for children and that restrictions on it do not make children safer or better educated. He argued that the best way to protect children would be to have a more “muscular” approach to repeat abuse. Senator McCoy asked about his organization’s opposition to court laws prohibiting parents with recent abuse cases from home schooling and requiring annual medical check-ins. Woodruff insisted there was no need for these requirements. McCoy expressed his opposition to the 2013 Iowa law that removed almost all requirements for home schoolers.

 

Future Actions

 

At the hearing’s conclusion, co-chair Rep. Kauffman said that he needed time to review documents and confer with committee members. As a result, he did not set a next meeting time. The other co-chair, Senator Breitbach, said that he has not been contacted by DHS or other sources and would like to hear from them. The consultation from the Child Welfare group will also be important over the next few months, as it may provide answers to a lot of the points of disagreement or uncertainty. Advocates on these issues will likely focus much of their efforts on engaging these experts. Despite their differences, legislators showed some openness to changes in these areas:

 

Requiring some ongoing contact or reporting from subsidized adoptive parents

 

Imposing minimal controls on homeschooling by parents where there has been a recent confirmed child abuse case; there seems less interest in requiring an annual medical check-up (which PA does)

 

Considering a stronger response (whatever that would be) in cases of repeat abuse or neglect

 

Looming above all these issues, of course, are the Iowa budget woes, which will make improving caseloads and practice more difficult.

Robert Kennedy’s “Ripple of Hope” Speech

Robert Kennedy’s “Ripple of Hope” Speech

In June 1966, Senator Robert Kennedy traveled to apartheid South Africa against the wishes of its white supremacist government. Kennedy’s visit followed court and legislative successes that began dismantling America’s shameful Jim Crow and segregationist history. Driving this change were the brave acts of tens of thousands of African Americans and white supporters who boycotted buses; sat at lunch counters; sought to vote; and marched, sang, and prayed.

 

In a speech to students at the University of Cape Town, Senator Kennedy addressed the audience’s sense of powerlessness in opposing their country’s white nationalist practices. Kennedy pointed to the collective power of individual actions that offer a “ripple of hope” for change:

 

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Session-End Review of Legislation

Session-End Review of Legislation

The Iowa-AAP registered on almost two dozen policy bills filed this legislative session, which ended on April 22.  Following is a summary of legislative action on several bills that Iowa-AAP supported, opposed, or registered undecided — along with links to earlier related blog posts. A table with a list of action on all Iowa-AAP policy bills of interest is available.

 

Bills That Passed

 

HF 543 expands drug-related caregiver actions that can be subject to a Child in Need of Assistance proceeding and/or a founded child abuse case. The bill also expands reporting requirements for mandatory reporters suspecting that infants are suffering the effects of drugs or alcohol. More. Iowa-AAP SUPPORTED.

 

SF 51 expands education about congenital cytomegalovirus and requires testing for the virus if a newborn fails the required hearing test. MoreIowa-AAP REGISTERED UNDECIDED.

 

HF 517 is an omnibus gun rights bill that removes the former requirement that a child be at least 14 years old to possess a handgun. A parent or other adult must provide direct supervision of the child and is strictly liable for any resulting injuries. More. Iowa-AAP OPPOSED.

 

HF 215 expands insurance coverage for applied behavior analysis to treat autism spectrum disorder. The bill requires that certain individual and group health insurance policies for public employees who are not state employees cover this treatment for children under 19 years old. MoreIowa-AAP SUPPORTED.

 

HF 625 removes the requirement that the Iowa Department of Revenue advise low-income taxpayers with dependent children without insurance of potential eligibility for Medicaid or hawk-i. Iowa-AAP OPPOSED.

 

SF 489 permits sales of fireworks in Iowa, including in open tents, during times around July 4 and January 1. More.  Iowa-AAP OPPOSED.

 

Bills That Failed to Pass

 

HF 7 allows an exemption from compulsory immunization based on someone’s “personal conviction.” MoreIowa-AAP OPPOSED.

 

SF 254 makes it a criminal offense for a licensed health professional to inquire about a patient’s possession or ownership of firearms. MoreIowa-AAP OPPOSED.

 

SF 360 expands “safe haven” options for a parent to abandon a newborn without being subject to criminal prosecution. Iowa-AAP REGISTERED UNDECIDED.

 

SF 11 requires Iowa DHS to assist new mothers receiving pregnancy-related Medicaid to secure private or public health insurance. MoreIowa-AAP SUPPORTED.