Associate Professor Carolyn Copps Hartley (upper left) and Assistant Professor Lynette M. Renner (bottom right) have just been awarded a National Institute of Justice grant to examine civil legal services. Their project, entitled The Long-Term Effects of Civil Legal Services on Battered Women has a budget of $823,000. The study goal is to understand the role of civil legal services as an intervention response to the crime of domestic violence.
Drs. Hartley and Renner will serve as Co-Principal Investigators on this multi-year project and will conduct a longitudinal study of the effects of civil legal services provided by Iowa Legal Aid (ILA), on safety, psychological well-being and economic self-sufficiency outcomes for battered women from rural and urban communities in Iowa. The research results will be relevant to attorneys, domestic violence advocates, and various human services professionals providing services to women and children exposed to violence, as well
as coordinated community response efforts
addressing domestic violence.
National Resource Center for In-Home Services
The National Resource Center for In-Home Services (NRCinhome) is a $4.75 million federal cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on children, Youth, and Families, Children's Bureau. This funding establishes a national center of child welfare expertise in in-home services. In-home services ensure the safety and well-being of children and youths in their homes, prevent placement or re-entry into foster care, and preserve, support and stabilize families. The cooperative agreement provides $950,000 each year for five years to support the center's work as the nation's primary provider of technical assistance and training regarding effective and promising alternatives to out-of-home placement. NRCinhome works with state child welfare agencies and tribes to build their capacity to provide effective in-home services. Partnering organizations are ICF International and the National Indian Child Welfare Association.
Families for Iowa's Children
Families for Iowa's Children (FIC) is 3-year federally funded family finding and engagement demonstration project awarded to Four Oaks in collaboration with Iowa's Department of Human Services (DHS). This is one of four family finding programs funded nationally through the Children's Bureau of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families. The program supports Search and Engagement Specialists to use search technologies and family-centered practices to help children who have been placed in out-of-home care to connect and/or reconnect with family members, kin, and natural supports during and following their time in care. The University of Iowa is conducting the research on FIC and working with a cross-site evaluation of all of the funded projects. The study uses an experimental design with randomization to treatment (FIC) and control groups. The research will examine the effectiveness of the family finding program in increasing family connections, stability, and permanency for children and their families.
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children & Families, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and includes nine universities and the National Indian Child Welfare Association. The University of Iowa is one of these universities. The purpose of the Institute is to build the capacity of the nation's child welfare workforce and improve outcomes for children, youth and families through activities that support the development of skilled child welfare leaders in public and tribal child welfare systems, and in private agencies that are contracted by the State to provide case management services that are traditionally provided by the public child welfare system. NCWWI's goals are to derive promising practices in workforce development, deliver child welfare leadership training for middle managers and supervisors, facilitate BSW and MSW traineeships, engage national peer networks, support strategic dissemination of effective and promising leadership and workforce practices, and advance knowledge through collaboration and evaluation.
Brad Richardson, Ph.D.
Minority Youth and Families Initiative (MYFI)
Technical support and evaluation to reduce the over-representation of minority children in the child welfare system for the Iowa Department of Human Services in 10 local demonstration sites across the state began in 2005 with two MYFI projects. Two original MYFI sites are located in Polk and Woodbury counties. In Polk County MYFI is focused on reducing African American involvement in the child welfare system using culturally competent service providers, family team meetings, DHS case managers, family development principles included in case planning and child welfare mediation. In Woodbury County MYFI developed a specialized unit within DHS focusing on the use of family team meetings, early identification of relatives for alternative placement options when needed, recruiting and retaining Native foster homes and continuing education and review of the Indian Child Welfare Act and Interstate Compacts to enhance border state placements. The eight Breakthrough Collaboration Series sites are geographically dispersed across the state and are designed to reduce disproportionality in child welfare in conjunction with technical assistance from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The project began in 2005 funded by the Iowa Department of Human Services.
DMC Resource Center
Nationally, minority juveniles in secure detention are greatly over-represented compared to their proportion in the general population. In Iowa, a third of youth held in juvenile detention facilities are minority even though they make up only eight percent of the state's youth population. The DMC Resource Center works nationally and statewide and with communities to address issues related to the high rate of minority confinement and contact with the juvenile justice system. The DMC Resource Center is involved in community efforts throughout the state including developing local youth programs, local system change efforts and assisting with the collection and analysis of DMC related data. The DMC Resource Center and MYFI projects serve as a state "crossover initiative" serving to improve well being and reduce disproportionality among children and youth in Iowa. These initiatives are community based practice informed and evidenced based research and evaluation efforts. The DMC Resource Center began in 2002 and is funded by the Iowa Department of Human Rights.
Capacity Building Training and Technical Assistance
This is a long term project working with Children and Families of Iowa (CFI) providing training and technical assistance (TA) in developing program and management logic models, measures, evaluation and interpretation of data for program and practice improvement. The initiative includes all programs and departments operated by CFI. Training in the use of organizational effectiveness strategies, developing evidenced based and evidence informed practice, revising programs and management strategies and assistance in analysis and presentation of results have produced a model for agency-wide evaluation which improves services and measures and documents outcomes. The project began in 2007 and is funded by Children and Families of Iowa.
Strengthening Rural Iowa
This project encompasses nine (9) rural southern Iowa counties (Appanoose, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Lee, Van Buren, Wapello and Wayne) containing 186,495 citizens inside 4,245 square miles located along the Iowa/Missouri border from east of I-35 to the flooded Mississippi River. This Agri-Distressed Corridor is one of the most distressed areas in the country and represents Iowa's most pervasive poverty environment (HRSA Community Status Indicators Project/2000 U.S. Census); a place where farm land is thin, industry struggles to survive, and where housing approaches a life span of 70 years. Evaluation, technical assistance and mini-grants are being provided to more than 30 small non-profits in the region to build capacity in areas such as leadership, program development, organizational development, evaluation and collaboration. The project began in 2009 and is federally funded by Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services through the Iowa Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives.
Iowa Healthy Marriage Coalition
The Iowa Healthy Marriage Coalition (IHMC) is a statewide effort to increase services in all 99 Iowa counties to support healthy and sustained marriages. A variety of initiatives tailored to address both general needs and more specific regional needs have been implemented. The evaluation of these project initiatives by the University evaluator has measured results achieved for individual couples involved in the program and has tracked public health data including marriages, divorces and population changes across the statewide service area. The project began in 2005 funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services through Marriage Matters of Iowa.
Kellee McCrory, MPH
Personal and Home Care Aide State Training Program
The PHCAST Program was created as part of the Affordable Care Act and is a three-year demonstration program to develop core competencies, pilot training curricula, and establish certification programs for personal and home care aides. $4.2 million was awarded to California, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and North Carolina for the project. The six states participating in the three-year PHCAST Program are expected to train over 5,100 personal home care aides by 2013. Kellee McCrory and Brad Richardson are providing the evaluation for the Iowa Department of Public Health for this new three year program. The evaluation includes measurement of training gains in core competencies and workforce changes resulting from PHCAST intervention in rural and urban regions.
Evaluation of the Iowa Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs
Kellee McCrory is providing a variety of evaluations for the ICCCC which is funded in part by Iowa Department of Public Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The evaluation includes the Iowa Get Screened program (a colorectal cancer screening and education program for Iowans), IDPH Comprehensive Cancer Control program and the Iowa Cancer Consortium.
Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety
The Heartland Center provides doctoral and in-service training in several areas of occupational safety and health including: ergonomics, occupational medicine, occupational health nursing, agricultural health, industrial hygiene, and occupational injury prevention. Kellee McCrory is evaluating these training efforts. The initiative is funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
Pick a better snack and Act and Chef Charles Evaluation
BASICS stands for Building and Strengthening Iowa Community Support for Nutrition and Physical Activity. The BASICS program provides federal funding for community coalitions to expand nutrition and physical activity education programs serving SNAP recipients and SNAP-eligible populations. The goal of the program is to provide educational programs that increase the likelihood that low-resource audiences can make healthy food choices consistent with the dietary advice of the MyPyramid. To meet this goal, the Iowa Nutrition Network provides traditional nutrition education resources combined with unique social marketing strategies.
The Chef Charles Club is a nutrition education project for older adults created by the Iowa Nutrition Network, Iowa Department of Public Health with funding from and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Iowa Departments of Elder Affairs, Human Services and Area Agencies on Aging collaborate to bring Chef Charles nutrition education lessons to congregate meal sites. The evaluation of these initiatives includes qualitative interviews with staff and educators; data collection of lesson delivery for both Pick a better snack and Chef Charles, focus groups with parents with children involved in BASICS education, and site visits.