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What is Project LAUNCH?

Thank you for your interest in Iowa’s Project LAUNCH initiative.  This SAMHSA-funded pilot project was implemented from 10/1/09 through 9/30/14.  This website is no longer being updated, although the information and resources will remain available to the public through March 23, 2016.   If you would like current information regarding early childhood mental health initiatives in Iowa, please visit www.promotementalhealthiowa.org


In 2009, the Iowa Department of Public Health received a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help ensure that Iowa’s youngest children are thriving in safe, supportive environments and entering school ready to learn and succeed.  Project LAUNCH funds are used to provide direct services to families and to build system infrastructure, thereby increasing the state’s capacity to address children’s physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive needs.

Iowa’s Project LAUNCH targets children ages birth through eight years old within a designated area in inner city Des Moines.  Through a contract with Visiting Nurse Services, programs provided through Project LAUNCH focus on families in poverty and those from minority populations who are traditionally underserved. 

The purpose of Project LAUNCH is to develop a sustainable, systemic community-approach to promoting social, emotional, and behavioral health for young children and their families. 

Overall goals are to:

  • Build infrastructure to increase capacity and integration of children’s mental health services into Iowa’s early childhood system of care
  • Deliver family-centered, evidence-based services for children living in a targeted community and at-risk for poor social-emotional outcomes
  • Promote sustainability and statewide spread of best practices for system development

These goals will be accomplished through the following action steps: