2022 Advocacy Update #002
The first four weeks of the Legislative session are behind us, and the stack of bills grows ever higher! While the flow of new legislation affecting children and families has slowed, many of the first bills of the session have passed committee and will soon arrive on the floor for debate and vote. Here’s a roundup of the legislation we’re watching:
- HF 2098/SF 2071: Requires age-appropriate education on body parts, empathy, and consent in grades K-12. Knowledge is power—children are never too young to learn about their own bodies or healthy relationships.
- HF 2168/SF 2060: Both chambers are considering mandatory reporter status for massage therapists. Children are better protected with more adults in their lives who can recognize signs of abuse.
- SF 2095: Eliminates the statute of limitations for bringing a civil child sexual abuse case. Last year the state eliminated the criminal statute of limitations. These changes together move Iowa to one of Child USA’s best ranked states. The average age that people disclose childhood sexual abuse—if they ever do at all—is 52. A survivor who is not bound to a time limit can disclose abuse when they feel ready, and breaking the silence protects future generations from abuse.
- SF 2171/HF 2252 and HSB 653/SSB 3102: Child welfare and judicial reforms in response to Family First. This federal law is intended to prevent child welfare cases and prioritize home care with families whenever possible. These bills introduce changes that help avoid removals, support families involved with child welfare by prioritizing kinship care and sibling relationships, and expand foster care to age 21. Family relationships are a key protective factor for children both in and out of the child welfare system.
Support for Families
- SF 2104: Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit, a key piece of tax relief for working families, to up to 25% of income.
- HF 2021: Increases substance use treatment payments to rural hospitals. Rural Iowans often experience long waits and coverage gaps in accessing mental and behavioral health services. A strong, sustainable rural mental health system is key to family well-being.
- HF 2127: Allows in-home childcare providers to charge families the difference between their reimbursement payment and their private pay rate. Working parents deserve quality childcare, no matter how much they earn.
- HSB 508: Requires families to undergo an asset test before receiving SNAP benefits. Food access supports healthy development, and it’s a key protective factor against child maltreatment. We support ease of access to this crucial resource for families who need it.
- HF 2137: Creates a student loan repayment program for prescribing mental health providers who provide five years of service in underserved areas. Attracting and keeping mental health professionals in the state will help build a stronger network of mental health services for Iowans.
Your legislator wants to hear from you! You can find your senator and representative here. Not sure where to start? View our new guide on how to meet with your elected officials about child abuse prevention here.
PCA Iowa will continue to monitor legislation that affects children and families. We will always advocate for state policies that strengthen families, protect children, and support happy and healthy childhoods.