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State of Iowa Child Advocacy Board Connection Newsletter - October 2022

Government and Politics

October 5, 2022


Black Hawk-Grundy 2 Foster Care Review Board
By Meg Campbell, Program Coordinator

The Black Hawk-Grundy Foster Care Review Board 2 (BHG #2) meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month in Waterloo. This seven-member Board brings together community members with experience in business, law, nursing, education, parenting, and social work. Two new members, Sharon Miller and Vicki Edelnant, have joined the Board in recent months, filling vacancies left by retiring members. With over 24 years of combined service on the Board, BHG#2 provides great service and insight during Board reviews, making relevant and meaningful recommendations for children and families they review.

The BHG#2 Board Members have this to say about their service on FCRB:

“I became a member of FCRB to ensure that the needs of children and their families are being met.  My purpose is to advocate in their best interest so they receive the services they need.”  -Barbara Henning

“Since retiring from paid employment, I felt I needed to do something productive to continue to help give my life purpose.  I have had a very privileged life, and I want to give something back to our community.  As a mother, grandmother, and a lifelong educator, I have always been concerned about the needs of children.  I hope that by participating in the FCRB, I can help ensure that the needs of some of our most vulnerable children and their families are being met.” -Vicki Edelnant

“As a new member of the FCRB, I am so impressed with the dedication of the other volunteers, foster families and the DHS and other professionals who care for these families.  I’m honored to play a small role in achieving permanence for the children we serve.” -Sharon Miller

“I serve on Foster Care Review Board because I have a very soft spot in my heart for children.  Serving on the board gives me an opportunity to work with others to ensure children who are in the foster care system, along with their families, are getting all the services they need to obtain a safe and secure permanent living arrangement.  The board not only serves to monitor what is happening in foster care cases, but also serves as a place where all the parties involved get a chance to be heard.” -Mary Gubbrud

“The Foster Care Review Board provides an opportunity to review the efforts to reunite children with their families and to keep siblings together despite the myriad of challenges families face today. The Foster Care Review Board is the 1000 yard lens by which parents hear from a team of volunteers that can speak truth from the heart regarding how parental actions have either denied their children a fair chance in life or how their growth has resulted in a successful reunification.” -Heidi Warrington

“I was looking for ways to help out in the community and wanted to learn more about the foster system.” -Julie Schick

“Serving as facilitator on the Iowa Foster Care Review Board has been a rich experience.  I get the opportunity to hear personal stories of families in need of help and participate in assisting them in becoming stronger and healthier.  It is a pleasure and honor to work with Iowa families.”  - Beth Ochsner, Facilitator

The Iowa Child Advocacy Board thanks all of the members of BHG#2 for their dedication to the FCRB program and the children and families they serve!

Welcome to Our New Volunteers!

Christina Anderson, CASA

Zoey Baustian, CASA

Ashley Coleman, CASA

Britt Garman, CASA

Lauren John, CASA

Ebony Luster, CASA

Gladys Movall, FCRB

Abigail Petty, CASA

Todd Schuur, FCRB

Shauntee Ward, FCRB

Victoria Ballantyne, CASA

Ron Burkemper, FCRB

Alexandra Cutler, CASA

Cassandra Harryman CASA

Julie Leclere, FCRB

Monica McBee, FCRB

Taylor Parker, CASA

Shelley Reed-Wulf, FCRB

Stefanie Sipiorski, FCRB

Joe Wernau, FCRB

Elizabeth Barber, CASA

Pam Clinton, FCRB

Katie Fourney, CASA

Melinda Hentzel, FCRB

Jane Lindaman, CASA

Sue McWilliams, CASA

Grace Pender CASA

Jodi Scharer, FCRB

Linda Sorden, FCRB

Kim Wood, CASA

Trainer's Corner

Top 10 Reasons Continuing Education is Important:

  1. Ultimately, it’s all about the kids you serve. Training increases knowledge and skills that impact objective recommendations which improves the lives of children and families.
  2. We want you to actually like and enjoy your work as an ICAB volunteer. Training increases the volunteer’s satisfaction with the CASA or FCRB role by increasing their understanding of their role, responsibilities, and how to have impactful advocacy efforts.
  3. And we hope you’ll feel confident in your volunteer work. Training can increase a volunteer’s confidence in their efforts to advocate for the best interest of children served by the CASA and Foster Care Review Programs.
  4. Spend some time with people who all share a common goal. Training can serve as one mechanism to help volunteers feel part of a greater community of passionate volunteers and program staff with a shared vision of making a difference in the lives of children and families.
  5. We value you and want you to have the best experience possible! Training demonstrates to the volunteers that the program values the individual’s contributions to the program by spending the agencies’ time and resources to teach and equip volunteers for their important role. 
  6. What’s special about the case you’re making recommendations about?  You!  Let’s make you as informed as possible! Training provides comprehensive learning opportunities that are case specific to the juvenile court appointment for the assigned learner.
  7. You’ll get information you can use in other areas of life. Training can provide additional knowledge and skills that can benefit volunteers outside of their advocacy role. 
  8. We want everyone to know how seriously we take this role. Training provided to volunteers demonstrates to the juvenile court judges and other interested parties that the volunteer’s advocacy contributions are rooted in consistent and foundational knowledge and skills.
  9. What else can we help you learn? Training can assist the program in learning what additional training may be beneficial to the goal of best interest advocacy for children and families.
  10. You’re part of a nationwide vehicle for change. Training can support national child welfare initiatives and demonstrate that child advocacy volunteers have a beneficial impact on the children and families we serve.

The 2022 ICAB Speaker Series: Upcoming Sessions!

Iowa DHS Transition Planning Services Join us as Doug Wolfe, DHS Transition Services Program Planner, shares what CASAs should expect to see in foster care plans for older youth. Learn more about the federal laws and state policies that guide the services provided to older youth, the role of Transition Planning Specialists, and how CASAs can advocate to support youth’s transition to adulthood needs.  October 12th Noon to 1pm   Click here to register! As this session will be recorded, please only register to attend the live session.

Iowa Aftercare Services.  Joanie Havel, Iowa Aftercare Services Coordinator shares information about the specific services available for Iowa youth aging out of foster care and how to advocate for youth to receive those services.  This session builds upon the information presented on Iowa's DHS Transition Services programming session. November 3, Noon to 1pm.   Click here to register! As this session will be recorded, please only register to attend the live session.

The Talking Wall: Listening to the Voices that Matter Most Kayla Powell, Department of Human Rights. Learn about the Talking Wall Project, the National Youth in Transition Database, and changes to Iowa Code that benefit youth in foster care.  Discover strategies to advance authentic youth and family engagement in your role as a CASA volunteer and hear lessons learned from lived experiences from a youth’s perspective and CASA Advocate lens. December 14, 2022 Noon-1 pm.  Click here to register!  As this session will be recorded, please only register to attend the live session.

If you have questions, please contact the State Trainer at lesa.christianson@dia.iowa.gov.

Click Here for more information.