CSG Midwest
Right now in Iowa, it’s no sure bet that a child in need of mental health services is going to get them. Instead, access can depend on where his or her family happens to live. “There is no statewide system or network of care in place, and over the long term, we need to develop it because there are clear gaps,” explains Anne Gruenwald, president and CEO of Four Oaks, a Cedar Rapids-based nonprofit agency that provides a range of services for children in need.
“When you have those gaps, needs go unmet, or we have to rely on our adult system of care — and that’s not always a good fit.” Iowa appears to be taking some important first steps, thanks to the recommendations of a work group formed by the Legislature in 2015 and actions taken by lawmakers during their 2016 session. 

As we enter July, football programs across the country are ramping up efforts to prepare for the upcoming season. While this is business as usual for many coaches, this season will be the first after all 50 states have passed legislation pertaining to sports-related traumatic brain injuries.

Mississippi, in January 2014, became the last state to adopt legislation started by Washington in 2009. Washington’s...

Newborns treated for drug addiction in Florida grew more than 173 percent for the 3 years ending 2009, and it’s not slowing down. Today, prescription drugs are largely the culprit, not cocaine as in years past. For the first half of 2010, over 600 Florida babies were tortured with this condition, exceeding the 2009 rate. The newborns experience extreme discomfort and are too difficult for many parents to manage, so hospitals are keeping some addicted babies for at least four weeks to gradually wean them off drugs. Florida has not implemented a prescription drug monitoring program, a policy solution adopted by 42 states to reduce the misuse of prescription drugs, and plans to institute a program in 2011 have now been waylaid. Another approach, cracking down on “pill mills”, has been discussed but is still not implemented, and the results are affecting other states like Kentucky. Like the neonatal nurse in the article above says, “Why isn't somebody doing something about this?"

Ten state legislatures have formed caucuses to educate legislators about  mental health policy issues.  Through these caucuses legislators and mental health champions work together on a variety of state mental health issues, such as funding, coverage and access and criminal justice.