Iowa Department of Human Rights Newsletter

iowa department of human rights

May 14, 2021

The Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR) brings strength to Iowa's rich heritage.  Our three divisions - Community Action Agencies, Community Advocacy and Services, and Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning - work to reduce cultural, social, and economic barriers to opportunities for Iowans to succeed.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

API Proclamation

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, an annual recognition of the history, achievements, and contributions of the AAPI community to the United States and Iowa.  Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage recognition originally occurred during the first 10 days of May to acknowledge the 1843 arrival of the first Japanese immigrants, and the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Finally in 1992,  the entire month of May was designated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As of 2020, Iowa was home to as many as 91,900 Asian American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders.  We are grateful to Governor Kim Reynolds for issuing the Proclamation of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

Here are some resources and upcoming events/ways to celebrate and learn about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:

API Data

Click image for additional pages.

Older Americans Month: Communities of Strength

The Administration for Community Living leads the celebration of Older Americans Month in the month of May. This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, recognizing the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities.

When people of different ages, backgrounds, abilities, and talents share experiences—through action, story, or service—we help build strong communities.

In the fall of 2020, the Iowa Department of Human Rights collaborated with the Iowa Attorney General's Office and other partners to participate in webinars that addressed aging in the communities of Latinos, Native Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and persons with disabilities.

"When Ageism Meets the Other Isms: Recognizing and Respecting the Diversity of Older People" is a five-part webinar series presented by the Iowa Law and Services Team (ILAST) — Iowa’s Abuse in Later Life and the Coordinated Community Response (CCR) Team.    View the playlist

COVID-19 Vaccine Information Sessions 

Getting information about the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step towards ending the pandemic.  In April 2021, the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa State University Extension, and the University of Iowa conducted a series of three COVID-19 vaccine information sessions.  Iowans had opportunities to ask medical experts questions about vaccine testing, safety, side effects,. 

You can view the recorded sessions in English, Spanish, French and Arabic translations here:

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Children and Teens

Children 12 years of age and older are now able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.  

The CDC recommends getting a COVID-19 vaccine for your child and offers tips on how to prepare for the child's vaccination visit.  

  • Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in adolescents.
  • Your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine 3 weeks after their first shot.
  • Your child can’t get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine, including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

For more information, visit the CDC's web page on COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens. 

Multilingual COVID-19 resources, including Pfizer fact sheets, are available on the FDA's website

Find a vaccine provider and more resources at  

Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni

The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that they are allocating over $5 million in new funding to benefit current and former foster care youth adversely affected by COVID-19. Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni is made possible as part of the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA)  to create a pandemic response benefiting youth in and aging out of foster care and entering adulthood. 

DHS will deliver Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni primarily through contracted service providers, including YSS, which oversees the statewide Iowa Aftercare Services Network and Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP), the Iowa foster care youth council.

DHS is also directing case managers for children in foster care to ensure that older youth have the opportunity to remain in care through the end of the pandemic, or return to care if they aged out recently, in the event they do not have a safe alternative to foster care.

Major components of the Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni include:

  • Moratorium on Aging Out and Re-entry into Foster Care: In Iowa, youth in care typically must exit the system at age 18. DHS has suspended this age restriction and will not require youth to leave foster care due to their age through September 30, 2021, though they may voluntarily elect to do so. Young people who have aged out of foster care since January 27, 2020 can re-enter care during this time and are encouraged to contact DHS at the following link or call your local DHS office:
  • Direct Payment to Foster Care Alumni: Young adults ages 18 to 26 who aged out of foster care may be eligible for a direct pandemic relief payment of $750. The Iowa Aftercare Services Network will administer an application process and make payments to eligible youth on behalf of DHS.  
  • Extra Support for Teens in Foster Care: DHS is providing additional funds to reduce the isolation felt by many foster youth by supporting their participation in social, extracurricular, and cultural activities. Fo$ter Fund$ grants (temporarily up to $600 per child) are available to youth ages 14 and older who are currently in a foster care placement, including family foster care, group care, and supervised apartment living. Additionally, up to $300 per year is available to relative caregivers through a similar program called Kinship Funds. Both funds are administered by YSS through AMP.
  • Increased Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV) Funding: ETV contractor, Iowa College Aid, and DHS will offer an additional $2,500 summer payment to those students attending college in the 2020-2021 school year. Also, the annual maximum for the 2021-2022 school year will be increased to $12,000. Part time students will receive a pro-rated amount based on enrollment.

Additional information regarding these and other features of Pandemic Relief for Iowa Foster Youth and Alumni, including application information, is available on the Iowa Aftercare pandemic relief webpage

Iowa to end participation in federal unemployment benefit programs  

Governor Kim Reynolds announced new measures to address the State of Iowa’s severe workforce shortage.

Effective June 12, 2021, the State of Iowa will end its participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs, citing a strong labor market and recovering economy. Iowa will continue to provide regular state unemployment insurance benefits to those eligible under the applicable state code. 

The week ending June 12, 2021, will be the last week that the following federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs are available in Iowa: 

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) 
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) 
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) 
  • Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

Additionally, effective June 13, 2021, Iowa will no longer waive employer charges for COVID-related unemployment insurance claims. 

Iowans can search for new jobs, including teleworking opportunities at  

Impacted unemployment insurance claimants will receive official notification from Iowa Workforce Development with more information about how these changes affect them individually. Iowa Workforce Development will also continue to update its webpage with relevant information and assistance:  Due to current call volumes, customers are encouraged to call Iowa Workforce Development only if they need assistance filing their claims. Additional customer questions can be answered by emailing 

Multilingual Resources for Stimulus Checks and Tax Credit 

Reminder:  May 17, 2021, is the deadline to file federal individual income tax returns.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Get It Back Campaign has released a marketing toolkit to equip community-based organizations, advocates, and agencies with the tools you need to raise awareness of stimulus payment eligibility and direct eligible taxpayers to services to help families with immigrants receive vital financial assistance.

Marketing Toolkit for Immigrant Outreach – Download this toolkit which includes a media guide, graphics, flyers, and more.  Materials are translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese.  

COVID-19 Language Resources

American Sign Language Videos-CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Resources for Limited English Proficient Populations

Congolese Health Partnership Videos

Coronavirus, State Website

Crescent Community Health Center-Marshallese Language

EMBARC Ethnic Minorities of Burma and Advocacy and Resource Center

Hawaii Office of Language Access-Youtube

Iowa Department of Human Rights-Language Access

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa Spanish Helpline 515-344-3936 

Multi-Lingual Hotline  1-877-558-2609

Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa  

Test Iowa-Free COVID-19 Testing (Spanish available)

Previous Newsletters

Are there other resources we should know about? Let us know.

To unsubscribe from this newsletter, click here or navigate to the "Manage Subscriptions" section below.

Iowa Department of Human Rights
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-242-5640 or 1-800-351-4659
Contact Us Form