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Parents Creating Change In Iowa

This group is for Iowa families to advocate on behalf of children with mental health needs. We can continue the discussion with politicians and work with our elected officials to improve our system. Together we can be a louder voice.

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Latest Activity: Jan 2

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Comment by Tammy Nyden on April 30, 2014 at 6:09am
Opportunity for advocacy at National Level: Ask your State Representative to attend the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health Awareness Week Legislative Briefing

Each year, the National Federation, in partnership with congressional members, hosts a legislative breifing to educate lawmakers on the importance of children's mental health and the issues facing it. These legislative briefings have become an integral part of the National Federation's mission to ensure that the voices of family members, youth, and children are properly heard at the national level. Below, we have outlined our legislative briefing for 2014 and have also provided a recap of the 2013 legislative briefing.

Act Now!

We urge you to contact your House and Senate representatives to ask them and their staff to attend this important breakfast briefing in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. It is critical that we get as many Congressional offices to attend as possible to help educate and inform them about the importance of funding mental health programs that improve the lives of children, youth and young adults. As a constituent, your request for them to attend is essential. Here is the vital information:

Your phone and/or email message can be short and sweet – “Please attend a legislative briefing on May 7th at 9:00 a.m. in Room B-338 of the Rayburn House Office Building in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This briefing is especially important for health staff in your office. You will learn about effective community-based programs for youth and young adults with mental health conditions that are achieving positive outcomes and improving young lives. These issues are extremely important to your constituents as we work to improve the functional achievement of children, youth and young adults living with mental health needs.”

All House and Senate offices can be reached through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can also get their contact information from

Please call or email your Congressional Members today! Thanks for all that you do to improve the lives of children, youth, young adults and their families.
Members of the United States Congress -
Comment by Tammy Nyden on April 29, 2014 at 11:44am

Durrie Bouscaren of Iowa Public Radio is looking to do a story about how important the CMH waiver is. She is ideally looking for a family that has been on the waiver, that can meet with her in person and talk about how it has helped them. If you are interested in being interviewed please contact her at: 515-725-1716

Please consider doing this - the more the public understands what the waiver is and how important these services are, the more likely they are to ask their representatives to support these services (and vote for representatives that do support children's mental health services.

Comment by Tammy Nyden on April 29, 2014 at 11:40am

Here is the preliminary budget from the Iowa Legislative Health and Human Services Conference Committee. The committee reached a compromise of $6 million to new funding to take people off of the HCBS Waivers (which includes the Children's Mental Health Waiver.) (This is the difference between the House's final offer of $5 million and the Senate's $7 million,) The House started at $0 this year, so in that sense it is a $6 million victory. It will take much more to eliminate the waiting lists. We still have work to do for our children (and as you know the waiting lists are just one of the issues we face.) This summer we (Parents Creating Change for Iowa)  will get started organizing for the next legislative session and brain storming what we want to advocate for on behalf of our children with mental health issues. We will be working in conjunction with the newly formed Nami Iowa Children's Mental Health Committee and welcome all other organizations to become part of our advocacy coalition. Stay tuned for details and contact me if you are interested in taking on a leadership role in this endeavor or if you represent a group that would like to be part of our advocacy coalition (Tammy Nyden at

I will be at the ASK conference and very happy to talk with anyone interested in joining our advocacy coalition. Together we can have a big voice in Des Moines for our children.

See link below for budget as it currently stands:

Comment by Tammy Nyden on April 25, 2014 at 12:22pm

Update on Waiver and what your can still do:

Funding is needed to reduce the current waiting lists for services under the Health and Disability Waiver (2,793), Physical Disabilities Waiver (2,239), Children’s Mental Health waiver (1,644), and Brain Injury Waiver (914). It is estimated that more than $8 million is needed to eliminate current waiver waiting lists.

The Health and Human Services Budget (House File 2463) passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee late Thursday afternoon (April 17). The committee passed a 46-page amendment that shifted spending around while still staying within the $1.9 billion joint budget target. The Waiver Waiting Lists is one of the key areas of disagreement:

Current budget: $0
House: $5.2 million. Funds are to be split evenly among waivers.
Senate: $7.5 million. Does not require even split.

On April 22 the House refused to concur in the Senate Amendment and the Senate insisted, so House File 2463 is now in Conference Committee (as you read this).
Please e-mail (right away) members of the Conference Committee your personal story and why getting rid of the Waiting Lists is Important to you. Tell them that while it is a step to pay down the waiting list as much as possible within target budgets, if it does not entirely eliminate the waiting list, it is not good enough. If needed they can use the Standings Bill or other means rid of all of the Waiver Waiting lists. It is the right thing to do. It is the legal thing to do (the waiting lists violate the Olmstead Act and open the state to many lawsuits). It is the Iowan thing to do. Contact information for members of the Conference Committee:
Senator Hatch from Polk, Chair:
Senator Bolkcom from Johnson:
Senator Ragan from Cerro Gordo:
Senator Johnson from Osceola:
Senator Whitver from Polk:
Representative Heaton from Henry, Chair:
Representative L. Miller from Scott:
Representative Fry from Clarke:
Representative Heddens from Story:
Representative Forbes from Polk:

Comment by Tammy Nyden on April 7, 2014 at 5:18pm
Comment by Tammy Nyden on April 3, 2014 at 3:50pm
  • Join us in delivering the petition to the Governor next Wednesday, April 9. We will hold a press conference at 10:30 AM in room 116 of the Iowa State Capital and deliver the petition immediately afterward. We would like to pack the room to show that Iowan’s think children’s mental health matters. You can RSVP at (an RSVP is not required, it just helps us with planning.)

  • Also, please listen to IPR’s River to River radio show at noon Monday April 7 for a discussion of the waiver issue and its importance to Iowa’s children.

  • And finally, please follow our advocacy efforts on our Facebook Page:


  • Or join our Parents Creating Change in Iowa group on Facebook or F.I.N.D:


Comment by Tammy Nyden on March 28, 2014 at 3:12pm

ammy Nyden I just talked to Hayley Bruce at the Gazzette. She is interested in writing on the waiver issue. If you are willing to talk to her about your personal story (she can use other names, etc.) so as to help people understand what the waiver means to families please contact here at: 319-398-8230 (desk) 630-853-1953 (cell)

Comment by Tammy Nyden on March 22, 2014 at 11:10am
Here is the information on our trip to Des Moines this Tuesday - please let us know if you can join us! (e-mail
ID Action Capitol Days
ID Action provides grant funds, advocacy training and support to local advocacy groups who are interested in meeting with their legislators at the capitol and advocating on behalf of disability related issues. 
Grant Recipient Requirements
As an ID Action Capitol Day grant recipient, your group must: 
Schedule a Capitol Day Tuesday-Thursday in the months of February or March
Participate in an advocacy training at the beginning of the Capitol Day
Set appointments with your legislators (ID Action can assist)
Provide a written recap of your Capitol Day within two weeks after your visit including any follow up communication with legislators
Optional Activities
While at the capitol you may also want to participate in the following: 
Watch a floor debate
Attend a committee meeting
Meet with other state agencies
Meet with ID Action or Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council staff
Before your Trip
Reach out to your local media using the provided Capitol Day Media Kit
Review the Advocacy Toolkit that has been provided
Contact your legislator to let them know you are coming
Find your Legislators
Since your group will have members from several areas of state, I will provide you with the link that you can send to members to identify their legislators. We recommend calling or emailing them to set-up a time to visit. Be sure to ask for a specific meeting location or their cell phone number so you can call or text them when you have arrived. 
Use the link below to find your legislators: 
During your Trip: March 25, 2014
11:00-12:30 –  Advocacy Training – Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council Office – 
700 2nd Ave, Suite 101, Des Moines, IA 50309
Lunch at the DD Council Office
12:30-3:00     –  Capitol visit (meet with legislators, watch a floor debate, etc.)
After your Trip:
Use the Advocating for Change toolkit to continue your advocacy efforts after your day at the Capitol
Provide your written recap to ID Action
Reimbursement – will be provided up to $500 for your trip to the Capitol. Grants will be provided as reimbursements for actual expenses including transportation and/or accommodations for participation
To receive your reimbursement, send receipts to:
ID Action, P.O. Box 737, Des Moines, IA 50303
Comment by Tammy Nyden on March 20, 2014 at 4:30pm

Thank you - and thank you for your work with the Trauma Mamas  - we are all in this together.

Comment by BARB LIND on March 20, 2014 at 4:19pm

Unfortunately it isn't possible for me to attend but I belong to the Trauma Mama group and have passed the information along to the other group members. Hopefully some might be able to join.


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