With the legislative session behind us, we're taking a break from weekly newsletters. But you can still expect update from us once or twice a month with the most important happenings in child and family policy in Iowa—and D.C.
Check out our weekly podcast, A Deeper Dive, for something a little different. And don't forget to give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Medicaid expansion supports maternal, child health
Healthier moms lead to healthier babies—a reality supported by Medicaid expansion. New research from Georgetown University Health Center for Children and Families shows states—like Iowa—that expand Medicaid improve the health of women of childbearing age by increasing access to preventative care and reducing health complications and maternal mortality rates.
Iowa saw a decline in the uninsured rate for women of childbearing age following the state’s decision to expand Medicaid. Between 2013 and 2017, the uninsured rate for Iowa women ages 18-44 fell from 12.7 percent to 5.8 percent. Nationally, Medicaid expansion states saw a 50 percent greater reduction in infant mortality than non-expansion states.
“Medicaid has helped more women gain access to the care they need before, during, and after pregnancy, improving their health and the health of their newborns,” said Mary Nelle Trefz, health policy associate. “Our state leaders need to focus on keeping Medicaid strong and saying no to barriers that would restrict coverage for Iowa families.”
Read more on our blog, or access the full report here.
New data: Older foster youth face challenges
Older foster youth in Iowa face more challenges than their peers as they transition into adulthood. These young people are at risk of leaving foster care without permanent family connections, new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation suggests. In fact, 2 in 5 foster youth age out of the system at age 18 without needed support.
Family placements are best for kids in foster care. But only 61 percent of Iowa teens in care were placed in families in 2017, while nearly all young children—98 percent of those age 12 and under—were.
This has harmful consequences for Iowa foster youth. Young adults who were in foster care often lag behind their non-foster peers in key areas, like employment and education. The amount—or lack of—support these older youth receive factors into their future success.
But exciting changes are coming. The federal Family First Prevention Services Act will push states to prioritize family placements and extend supports to older foster youth. Leaders need to collect better data, support better practices and develop better policies—so that Iowa youth in care can get the support they need, transition to adulthood and thrive. Check out the full report here.
ICYMI: On the podcast
Children's health—physical and mental—is the subject of recent podcast episodes:
Episode 15: Children's mental health (part two). In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we revisit the importance of children's mental health (see Episode 4 for the first installment). Anne Discher talks with Anne Starr of Orchard Place and Chaney Yeast of Blank Children's Hospital to get a big-picture perspective on mental health—what is it, why does it matter and how is Iowa doing in getting kids the help they need?
Episode 14: Dr. Shriver goes to the Capitol. Dr. Amy Shriver is a faithful child advocate at the Iowa State Capitol, helping legislators understand the importance of child health and the policies that support it. The Center's Anne Discher catches up with Dr. Shriver, getting her take on effective advocacy, child health, immunizations and more.