The Iowa Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health (Iowa Project LAUNCH) was intended to improve outcomes at the individual, family, and community levels by meeting the needs for physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development with access to high-quality prevention and wellness promotion services for children and their families. As one of twelve (12) statewide programs sponsored in 2009 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the program was coordinated federally with the Administration for Children and Families (AVF), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The evaluation of Iowa Project LAUNCH measured child and family outcomes in two evidence-based direct service programs: Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) and Positive Behavior served in seven inner city Des Moines, Iowa, zip code areas and also measured changes in state and local collaboration, outcome resulting from early childhood mental health consultation and policy changes at the state level.
Findings included improved child and family outcomes for individuals participating in the two evidence-based programs in each of the eight domains of the Life Skills Progression: Relationships, Education and Employment, Health and Medical Care, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Basic Essentials, Infant and Toddler Development.
Early childhood mental health consultation began in 2013 and assisted direct service practitioners in their work with families. ECMHC effected better provider outcomes by building workforce capacity to meet the mental health needs of parents in families served with young children, some of whom had older children in the home.
Social network analyses and a collaboration survey measured improvement in connections and linkages among providers in areas such as strategic planning, joint training, blending resources and effective interactions for improving services and ensuring school readiness for children.
Iowa Project LAUNCH was grounded in a public health approach working toward coordinated programs with a comprehensive view of health and promoting child well-being. It was an opportunity for Iowa's early childhood providers to work together in strengthening coordination and support for at-risk and vulnerable families. The approach also led to a foundation for state and local collaborative planning and implementation leveraging family support and provider resources that have extended to other Iowa initiatives including a HRSA funded statewide initiative for Children & Youth With Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN), the Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) project and the Iowa Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. As the state Title V agency, The University of Iowa also provides a direct connection of these initiatives in service to children across the state through the Child Health Specialty Clinics.
A review of changes at the policy level effected by the Iowa Project LAUNCH found the State Young Child Wellness Council provided support for legislation requiring 90 percent of home visiting dollars support evidence based programs, an increase in the state appropriation for 1st Five from $300,000 to $1.3 million and an expansion of care coordination and developmental screening for all children was made available. In 2014 the Iowa Department of Human Services was awarded a SAMHSA System of Care (SOC) planning grant to create a statewide plan for
SOC expansion through Integrated Health Homes. The Iowa Department of Public Health also applied for expansion of LAUNCH to another area in the state through a SAMHSA funding announcement.