Reynolds signs children’s mental-health system into law

Following bipartisan support in the Legislature, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the children’s mental health bill into law


Katie Goodale

Re-elected Governor Kim Reynolds addresses her supporters at the Hilton in Des Moines on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. Reynolds defeated her opponent, Democratic candidate Fred Hubbell 50.19% to 47.61% with 92 counties reporting in an unofficial total.

Emily Wangen, Politics Reporter

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill creating a children’s mental-health system into law on Wednesday, a key piece of Reynolds’ legislative agenda for the 2019 session.

The bill, House File 690, established a children’s behavioral-health system and state board and implements requirements for certain children’s behavioral health services.

“Today, I signed a life-changing bill that helps lift the veil of stigma associated with mental illness and replaces it with hope, healing and comfort of community,” Reynolds released in a prepared statement.

The Daily Iowan previously reported that the state has 54 child psychiatrists in 14 out of 99 counties, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

In a previous interview with the DI, Reynolds said the children’s mental health system in Iowa has been built from the ground up, as there was no system prior.

Reynolds established an advisory board, made up of legislators, mental health professionals, educators, and others, by executive order in May 2018 to advise Reynolds on potential legislation. The board sent Reynolds their final recommendations in November.

The bill passed the House March 21 with a 83-14 vote and the Senate April 16 in a 46-2 vote.

Reynolds also signed a bill Wednesday that requires the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine to study workforce challenges in attracting and retaining primary and specialty-care physicians in Iowa.