County Social Services, a consortium of 21 counties in Iowa that provides financial support for mental health and disability services, projects a reduction in levy rates for fiscal year 2020-2021. Hancock County is a member of the group, which recently opened an office at 545 State Street in Garner. Hancock County Supervisor Jerry Tlach explains the reduction.
Although the plan is to decrease levy rates, County Social Services’ programs won’t change. In fact, Tlach says they are continuing to expand on services.
Currently, County Social Services serves nearly 4,800 people in north Iowa living with mental illness. The criminalization of the mentally ill is a big concern with statistics that affirm approximately 50 percent of those in the criminal justice system have a diagnosable mental illness. One in 3 individuals with mental illness come in contact with law enforcement before they interact with the treatment field, as police are often the first responders to crisis situations. County Social Services’ CEO Bob Lincoln explains how they partner with local police to help divert those individuals away from jail to more appropriate services.