Children's Mental Health Funding in Iowa is Essential

Iowa was in a state of crisis related to children’s mental health funding prior to the pandemic.  While Iowa began to map out a system of care, essential funding hasn’t followed.  

The pandemic is shining a brighter light on the need for more equitable and inclusive access, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed care. Plus, it has produced increasing mental health needs and crises in children of all backgrounds:

  • Referrals to Orchard Place’s Child Guidance Center for children’s mental health services are up 40% since the beginning of the pandemic.

  • 265 youth have accessed UnityPoint Clinic - Behavioral Health Urgent Care since it opened one year ago.  Orchard Place Integrated Health coordinates follow up care for these children and adolescents.

For Iowa’s children and economy to be strong, state leaders must fund the entire Children’s Mental Health System. In particular, Psychiatric Medical Institutions for Children (PMICs) serve Iowa’s most at-risk youth. Medicaid rates haven’t increased in more than five years resulting in unsustainable losses. For example, Orchard Place’s PMIC losses have exceeded $2.1 million over the past five years.

PMIC rate relief, fair reimbursement for telehealth, and funding for early detection and intervention are all vital to the short and long-term health of kids and our state.

Anne Starr, M.S.W.

Orchard Place CEO