Children’s Rights, Disability Rights Iowa, National Health Law Program, and Ropes & Gray, LLP, filed C.A. v. Garcia against the Iowa State Department of Human Services on behalf of Medicaid-eligible children who were denied legally required and medically necessary mental health care services.
The complaint alleges that despite being required to provide intensive home and community-based mental health services mandated under federal and state laws, Iowa has failed to deliver sufficient services to children in need of treatment
Without intensive services in their homes and communities, children with mental health disabilities are unnecessarily placed in psychiatric hospitals and similar institutions for extended periods, where they are separated from their families and communities and fail to thrive.
A 2021 study by the Iowa Department of Health found that 17% – 24% of students in the state experienced suicidal thoughts within the last year, and nearly a quarter of these students had attempted suicide.
The case was brought to ensure children receive the mental health services they need when and where they need them, without being segregated from their loved ones and communities.
C.B. is 15-years-old. He loves sports, building Legos, listening to music, and learning about how people around the world live differently. Since the age of four—when he was brought into foster care—he has been diagnosed with multiple mental and behavioral health conditions.
Despite his mother’s relentlessly advocacy and the recommendations of several medical professionals that he receive intensive home and community-based mental health services, C.B. and his family waited over four years for him to receive even some of the treatments that he is entitled to. Without these services, C.B.’s health significantly deteriorated, resulting in him being separated from his family several times. C.B. spent five months at a restrictive psychiatric medical institution.