Senate Update: Investing in health, care of our children by Bob Dvorsky, State Senator · Op-Ed · May 03, 2013
The Senate has approved a Health & Human Services Budget that focuses on the needs of the most vulnerable Iowans.
That means helping Iowans access critical health care services, improving public health, protecting older Iowans and caring for our veterans.
We are also placing a special emphasis on the well-being and long-term success of our children. We’re doing that by:
• Expanding early mental health services statewide. During the first five years of life, most kids rapidly develop socially and emotionally. It’s important that these early years lay a strong foundation that prepares kids to succeed in school and in life. The “1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative” identifies at-risk children and coordinates the help that will make sure they are ready for school and prepared to avoid challenges later in life.
• Doing more to help Iowans quit smoking and prevent young people from getting hooked on tobacco. Studies show that every $1 invested in tobacco cessation saves $11 in tobacco-related problems later. Facebook and other social media will be included in efforts to make young Iowans more aware of the consequences of tobacco use.
• Raising the pay of child welfare providers, including adoptive families and foster care providers. Although these folks do important work to help vulnerable kids learn and grow, their pay has not kept up with inflation in recent years.
• Enhancing autism services throughout Iowa. Nearly one in 50 American kids is affected by autism spectrum disorders, but many Iowa families don’t have the money or access to the services that can improve the lives of their autistic children. The Senate voted to create a program that ensures needed therapy for uninsured families with autistic children. In addition, we funded Regional Autism Support Programs, which coordinate autism services and ensure all available resources are leveraged for the greatest benefit.
To contact Senator Dvorsky during the week, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 319-351-0988. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.