The director of the Iowa Department of Human Services says the state should stop making parents give up their parental rights in order to qualify their children for state-funded mental-health care. Kevin Concannon says this is an issue for families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but don’t have insurance that covers mental illness, like depression and bi-polar disorder. He says he views it as an example of blaming the victim. He says they’re not cases where children are abused or neglected, they’re case where the child needs extended out of home care.Concannon says only about half of the states in the nation still require people to relenquish parental rights to get care for their children. He says he believes it goes back to the period in time where there was a mistaken belief that if you had a child with a mental health problem, then you had failed as a parent. He says we now know that even the best parent can have a child with a mental health problem. Concannon says he believes there are children who go without the care they need because parents fear their parental rights will be terminated permanently. Concannon says parents should not have to relinquish their parental rights to access treatment for their kids. Concannon says if the state stops requiring parents to give up their rights, more kids will likely come in for assistance and he suggests setting a limit of perhaps 300 kids a year who can be served by the state.
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