News Article Details

No. 7: Woodbury County to bolt 3-county mental health services group

Sioux City Journal - 12/24/2017

Editor's note: The Journal today continues the countdown of the Top 10 Stories of 2017 in Siouxland, as chosen by Journal editors. The No. 1 story will be revealed on Dec. 30, and the Journal's annual Newsmaker of the Year will be named on Dec. 31.

SIOUX CITY | The new agency home isn't known, but Woodbury County is leaving the mental health services region it joined in July 2014.

The county, which includes Sioux City, is set to withdraw from the three-county Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services agency on July 1. Since its inception, the group also has included Plymouth and Sioux counties.

As an alternative, Woodbury County leaders has applied for membership in Rolling Hills, a mental health group that includes seven counties to the east -- Buena Vista, Sac, Calhoun, Carroll, Cherokee, Crawford and Ida.

The uncertainty over how mental health services will be delivered in the future to low-income and disabled residents in Woodbury County is The Journal's No. 7 story of 2017.

For the third month in a row, the Rolling Hills Community Service Region Governance Board in December discussed but did not vote on whether to add Woodbury County. A key factor remains pinpointing how much money Woodbury could bring into the agency in the 2018-19 fiscal year, Rolling Hills board Chairman Rick Hecht said.

The Rolling Hills board is slated to vote on adding Woodbury County at the next board meeting on Jan. 24.

If the Rolling Hills governance board recommends approval, each of the seven county boards of supervisors also would have to approve the additional member. The final step would be an affirmative vote by the Rolling Hills board.

Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor has been pushing hard for an exit from Sioux Rivers. For months Taylor has described a poor working relationship with Plymouth and Sioux counties.

Woodbury County's notice that it planned to withdraw from the Sioux Rivers region came after years of disagreements, including over funding to a program for at-risk students in the Sioux City school district. Taylor has objected to Sanford Center clinicians without state certification providing services to the students.


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