Community Foundation to establish children’s brain health working group
Economic Opportunity Coordinator
For immediate release:
Dubuque, IA — In response to new state legislation creating a children’s mental health — also known as “brain health” — system in Iowa, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque is forming a working group of community members to help identify issues related to the brain health needs of youth in the Dubuque region.
To kick off the work ahead, the Community Foundation will host a “listening session” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 22 at Farley Memorial Hall, 204 1st St. NW, Farley, Iowa. Residents of rural Dubuque County are invited to attend and share the experiences of their children and families related to brain health needs, including access to services in the community and schools.
“There is no agenda for this event — we want to hear what the community has to say on the topic of children’s brain health,” said Chris Corken, a Community Foundation Board member who also leads other Foundation brain health initiatives. “Our goal is to create a safe space for conversation, where parents, educators, advocates and other community members can share information about this important issue free of judgment.”
Registration is free and not required. If you would like to express interest in attending, visit our Facebook event page at bit.ly/kidsbrainhealth.
Through the listening session, the Community Foundation will glean information about children’s brain health needs in the community that will inform the new working group’s efforts to help expand access to brain health services for youth and families. Community members interested in serving in the working group are encouraged to attend the listening session.
The working group will report its findings about the Dubuque region to the state leadership of Iowa’s Mental Health and Disability Services East Central Region. Under the new legislation, HF 690, regional leaders will make recommendations for how the state will define core services, set standards for providers and access and determine implementation dates.
In addition, the working group’s ongoing research will help determine what steps can be taken locally to ensure all children and families have access to the brain health services they need.
For the past two years, the Community Foundation has convened cross-sector groups of leaders and facilitated discussions about the brain health needs of the broader Dubuque region. Through a 2017 community needs assessment, the Foundation found that access to brain health services was one of the top barriers to economic opportunity for local residents.
Several new projects and initiatives have come from this research and ongoing discussions, including:
- A new access center for people experiencing brain health emergencies, to be built in Dubuque County.
- A working partnership between Hillcrest Family Services’ Mobile Crisis Unit and local law enforcement agencies that enables officers to call for provider support when they encounter a person having a brain health crisis.
- Reforms within the correctional and judicial systems to prevent recidivism among individuals with brain health needs.
“The Community Foundation doesn’t have all the answers to the challenges facing the Dubuque region, but our strength lies in our ability to gather information and bring together diverse voices in collaboration to address our community’s most pressing needs,” said Peter Supple, economic opportunity coordinator for the Community Foundation. “This approach is leading to meaningful, lasting change that is improving the quality of life for many people in our community.”
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The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque strengthens communities and inspires giving. For more information, visit dbqfoundation.org.