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CAB Connection - June 2021

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Volunteer Day

Watch the CASA/GAL Volunteers’ Day Virtual Celebration!

On May 18, CASA programs nationwide celebrated the first-ever CASA/GAL Volunteers’ Day, thanking CASA/GAL volunteers for their service and raising awareness of the need for more advocates for children and families in the foster care system. You can now watch the recording of the virtual celebration, which featured CASA/GAL volunteers and youth sharing their stories, performances by spoken word artist and FosterStrong founding member Slam Anderson, and much more. 

Thank you to the thousands of CASA volunteers, both here in Iowa and across the country, for everything you do to brighten the lives of children and families!                   


Abby Belvin, Polk  David Boberg, Polk Karla Bromwell, Polk
Valerie Cromer, Clayton Jessica Crudele, Polk Lindsay Hammons, Jasper
Leah Hill, Polk Zoe Hueser, Woodbury Gary Kroeger, Black Hawk
Julie Leclere, Dallas Esequiel Mendoza, Woodbury Kourtney Murphy, Pottawatamie
Beth Oschsner, Black Hawk Brenda Ohm, Union Paige Panek, Polk
Lori Reed, Jasper Kris Reints, Black Hawk Marlana Schnell, Polk
Jamie Steele, Dallas Nicola VanWyk, Polk Kaitlyn Williams, Polk
Dannielle Knecht-Carlson, Chickasaw    



Linn-Jones Foster Care Review Board

By:  Jennifer Gericke, Program Coordinator

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we lived. It is the difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead - Nelson Mandela

Thank you Foster Care Review Board Members! 2020 was a year like no other. Together we all rose to meet new challenges which included figuring out technology that allowed your advocacy work to continue; virtual FCRB, Google docs and Classroom, along with social distancing, and masks etc. We have persevered. A special thanks to all our Volunteers, staff member Cindy Goellnitz for her support of the 3 Linn-Jones County Boards, and to Bill Sackett our fearless facilitator.

As I look back through the years FCRB has served our community there have been many changes, yet at the end of the day our focus on the needs of the children and their absolute need and right to be protected has remained the same. We all stand together in our mission and giving of time to advocate for kids. I am so thankful to be a part of standing alongside you advocating for kids. I have great appreciation for each one of you and the time you give to focus on the work we do through the FCRB. As you serve the children of our communities you bring your talents as a community advocate for kids, along with your experience and knowledge from your careers working in business, education, social work, speech pathology, healthcare, psychology, and community volunteerism.

As Board Members you experience so much. Children need so many things. Security, to feel safe and have their basic needs met of food clothing and shelter, and to be protected from harm. Stability, that comes from family and community. Consistency, emotional support, love, education, positive role models, and structure.  Board Members advocate every time, for every child, to have these needs met. You encourage people to meet, to see, to talk, to stop what they are doing and take a few minutes (maybe more time than they initially wanted to) and discuss these kids’ lives. As we look to the future we all know there will be times of heartbreak and frustration, but we also see triumph over adversity and joy.

Edward Everett Hale said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do”.  Though the work we do may never be completed, it is valuable beyond a dollar figure, beyond likely what we may even realize in our lifetime. To service our community with you has been an honor and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There are times when the system may seem to us: too slow, too broken, too lenient, too harsh, too much, and we know the children and their families are feeling it too. It is a noble calling to advocate for children who are hurting and need protecting. And if you ever tire please remember this - your ability to inspire. Remember to breathe, take a moment for yourself. You can inspire everyone to keep trying, to keep doing the work. You make a difference and not one day that you have given, not one minute you have given goes unseen or unheard in the echoes of how the children’s lives play out.  

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
- Nelson Mandela

Board Members – thank you!!

Alice Dahle Ashley Vanorny Darcy Andres
Dee Sullivan Jackie Bryant Jeanie Neighbor
Joan Jacob Julie Barnd Kris Jasper
Kari Burbach Louise Harn Marilou Denney
Melissa Johnson Phil Seidl Ray Smith
Sue Reider Tricia McCabe Virginia Michalicek



June is Pride Month, which means collective voices from across the globe are coming together to support and honor our LGBTQIA+ community.

Trainer's Corner

For FCRB Members & CASA Advocates:  The Importance of Fathers in Child Welfare


There is a strong base of research which shows that there are considerable benefits to the health and well-being of children, their mothers, and even the father’s themselves when they are involved in the lives of their children.  Research indicates that most parents want both father and mother to be actively involved in their children’s lives, and most children desire a loving relationship with their father.

There are however real barriers to father’s involvement that often exist.  These reasons include the father’s personal situations such as mental health, substance use issues, domestic violence, and/or incarceration. In addition, issues related to the father’s financial situation such as being under/unemployed, child support payment and collection issues, or lack of housing.  Other impacts on the father’s involvement might be based on the quality of the relationship with the mother, where it is a strained relationship between mother and father, or there are ongoing custody disputes or visitation struggles.

Engaging fathers in the lives of their children, in particular, in the lives of children involved in the child welfare system has been a priority for many interested entities at the federal, state and local levels.  As Casey Family Programs outlined in their April 2, 2019, Issue brief “Engaging fathers and connecting them with the right kinds of services and supports can directly impact the way fathers contribute to their child’s development, yet there are a number of issues that impact men’s experiences across multiple systems and influence their ability and willingness to engage in meaningful and consistent ways.4 These potential barriers include:

  1. Child welfare professional and systemic bias (e.g., case names reflect mother);
  2. Overburdened workers who may be hesitant to take the time to locate and involve non-custodial fathers;
  3. Mothers’ gate-keeping;
  4. Characteristics of non-custodial fathers that make them less accessible (i.e., incarceration, homelessness, impairment by substance abuse, military enlistment, etc.);
  5. Lack of father-specific services and supports;
  6. Child welfare professionals’ reluctance to involve male perpetrators in planning and service delivery; and
  7. Dynamics around domestic violence.”

DOWNLOAD HERE: Issue brief  PDF: 739.24 KB

Lesa 2

How can Advocates and Board Members in Iowa improve the engagement of fathers when their children become involved in child welfare services? Support a father’s positive involvement by encouraging family-centered practice.

Gathering the following information:                                  

  • Asking caseworkers what contribution the father made in developing the case permanency plan.
  • Asking the child about his/her desire to maintain regular contact with a father. If in-person interactions are not possible – or not in the best interest of the child - ask if there are other ways to maintain a connection such as phone calls, letters or video conferencing.
    • What is the current living arrangement of the rather in relation to the home in which his child lives?
    • Is there another man living in the home with the child? How does the child’s father view this man and his relationship with his child and the mother of his child?
    • How often does the father see his child? If and when he does see the child, what is the nature of the interaction?
    • If the father does not see his child, what are the reasons for non-involvement, what barriers to involvement exist, and what strategies could be implemented to address these barriers?
    • What is the dynamics of the relationship between the father and mother?
    • What steps has the father taken to strengthen his role as a father?
    • What does the father’s view of the family and the factors that led to the issues for which the child entered the child welfare system?
    • Does the father implement ways to continually evaluate his role in the family and self-correct as necessary?
    • Who are the father’s extended family members? Have they been considered as a possible placement?
Dad and Baby


  • At the first hearing CASA or FCRB submits a report that all family members participate in the court proceedings.
  • In reports for fathers to be invited to participate in Family Team Meetings as a way to engage them in the case planning process.
  • For paternity to be established as soon as possible if necessary.
  • That a father take part in his child’s ‘normal’ activities such as parent teacher conferences, school sports, doctor or dental appointments as a way to maintain regular family interactions.
  • Services or resources that strengthen the father’s coping skills and build his formal and informal support network.  Encourage services that meet his needs such as parenting classes for fathers, parent coaching, fathers mentoring fathers, or other gender-based programs.

Note:  All of the above options for investigating, monitoring, and advocating for specific recommendations are based on the foundation that it has been determined that the father is not a danger to the mother or to the child and contact is in the best interest of the child’s safety and well-being. 

Child Welfare

For additional information:

Child Welfare Information Gateway created a podcast series on engaging fathers and working with fatherhood organizations featuring a conversation with leaders of local fatherhood organizations. The discussion provides perspective, insights, and recommendations to help child welfare agencies partner with fatherhood organizations to enhance the engagement and involvement of fathers and paternal family members in establishing permanency and safety for children in the child welfare system.


Listen to the podcasts by clicking on the links or cut and paste into your browser:

Father's Day

Iowa Child Advocacy Board
321 East 12th Street
4th Floor Lucas Building
Des Moines, IA  50319
Phone:  1-515-281-7299
Website:  childadvocacy.iowa.gov

Email:  childadvocacy@dia.iowa.gov

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