The police chiefs of Cedar Falls and Waterloo were in Washington, D.C. this week, asking congress to expand and improve programs which provide mental health treatment to children, particularly kids who’ve been neglected by drug-addicted parents.
The lawmen were asking lawmakers to put more money into the "State Children’s Health Insurance program." Cedar Falls Police Chief Rick Ahlstrom uses the program’s acronym or nickname. "S-CHIP has a chance to treat these kids, to intervene with them at an early stage when they’re young and maybe we can get them on a different path for life," Ahlsrom says.
Waterloo Police Chief Tom Jennings says lawmakers have an opportunity to keep teenagers safer by putting money into the program. "We know as law enforcement and looking at families that this is a generational issue that we need to change," Jennings says. "And it’s not going to change until we go proactive."
Jeff Kirsch, vice president of a group called "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids," says the S-CHIP program helps rescue some kids. Kirsch says a generation of Iowa kids have been placed in jeopardy because their parents have become addicted to meth or are making it in the home. It’s those kids, according to Kirsch, who need the government’s help in dealing with the emotional trauma their parents have caused.