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CAB Connection - July 2021

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Black Hawk-Grundy 1 Foster Care Review Board

By Meg Campbell, Program Coordinator



The Black Hawk-Grundy Foster Care Review Board 1 (BHG #1) meets on the second Tuesday of each month in Waterloo. Pictured above from left to right are the current members: Second Row, Carole Gustafson, Loleta Montgomery, Jim Horton; First Row, Beth Ochsner - Facilitator, Barb Mardis, Maripili Hassman, Martha Kroese. Not pictured: Joann Wingert.

This seven-member Board brings together community members with experience in business, education, parenting, and social work. With over 27 years of combined service on the Board, BHG#1 provides great service and insight during Board reviews, making relevant and meaningful recommendations for children and families they review. The BHG#1 Board Members had this to say about their service on FCRB:

“The social services professionals and the court system that are charged with the responsibility to protect our most vulnerable children are stretched way too thinly.  I think that serving on a Foster Care Review Board is a way that I can help to add another layer of protection, advocacy and support for these precious children in need." - Barb Mardis

“Serving as a FCRB member grew in my heart as I went through the foster care training and adoption process for my own family situation.  It exposed to me the need for foster parents and volunteers to help assist with ensuring "at risk" children are being heard and represented as they face their foster care challenges and opportunities.  So many local children and families need support and guidance as they work through these types of difficult family situations.  And as I serve, I am learning so much about my community and the problems we face right in our own neighborhoods.”  - Jim Horton

“Having served as a CASA for 3 years and a Foster Care Review Board member for the past 5 years, I have witnessed first-hand the importance of a system to monitor the lives and progress of children in foster care. My service contributes to the advocacy needed by these children.”  - Loleta Montgomery

“I serve on the Foster Care Review Board because it is a good way to use my time and skills as a retired educator.  An objective voice is important when families and workers are in the process of sorting out what needs to happen for reunification.” - Martha Kroese

“I love children. If I can make a difference in their lives so they can be successful, that will be my reward to serve on FCRB!!”  - Maripili Hassman

“It is important to me that children who can no longer live with their birth parents find good and loving homes. I see children scared by the experiences they live with in dysfunctional homes. I want to be part of the solution in finding good alternatives for them.” - Carole Gustafson

“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#1 for their dedication to the FCRB program and the children and families they serve!

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Welcome to Our New Volunteers!

Christy Fiala, CASA, Dallas County Greta Haas, CASA, Polk County
Abigail Kraft, CASA, Cerro Gordo County Laurie Matthews, CASA, Polk County
Baleigh Morgan, CASA, Polk County Ariana Nikic, CASA, Polk County
Doug Robbins, CASA, Woodbury County Abby Urbanek, CASA, Polk County
Rachael Valdez, CASA, Woodbury County Justine, Wiker, CASA, Dubuque County

Trainer's Corner

For FCRB Members & CASA Advocates:   The Educational Advocacy


As summer break from school comes to a close, Advocates and Board Members may begin to refocus on the educational needs of the children we advocate for within their respective role. One of the more immediate steps all volunteers can take is to review the educational record of the child/ren.  Begin to ask yourself, what are the most immediate concerns that arise in reviewing the record and educational goals from the previous school year? Who would have additional information about the potential concern that might be able to provide more information in the months ahead? If you are a CASA Advocate, outline the questions you will ask in the coming months while making personal contacts with educators, caretakers and the youth about educational needs, goals and concerns.  In addition, as soon as possible after the school year resumes, find out when any educational meetings will be held so attendance can occur, and reports be gathered. For Board Members, what questions will you ask during the next review meeting and are there educational reports that need to be requested for review?  Some additional questions that might be asked:

  • Did the child progress to the next grade level? If not, what were the variables that influenced that decision?
  • What was the impact on the child’s academics from virtual learning during the past year?
  • What school will they be attending? Did the child have to change schools? If so, what is the impact of the change in schools, consistent educators and peers?
  • Do they have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) in place and what are other services provided to them at school? What is the date of the last IEP?
  • How was the child’s socially while in school? Are they involved in extra-curricular activities? Will that continue in the upcoming school year?
  • Does that child want to participant in new or different school activities? If so, what?
  • What comments did teachers provide regarding progress, issues/concerns and recommendations at the end of the last school year?
  • What are the child’s strengths in education?
  • What was the child’s attendance? Are there plans to address any attendance concerns in the upcoming year?
  • What are the specific strengths related to academics and the educational experience?
  • Learn what the child likes/dislikes about school.

For a more exhaustive list of questions to ensure educational needs are being addressed, and an outline of educational success goals for which recommendations might be made, please check out the links below.

Review the following amazing resources and videos from the Illinois CASA program:


Learn More
Watch Video

Watch the following videos to gain a different perspective:

Training Courses

For CASA Advocates:  In-Service Training Credit

Advocates and Coaches interested in learning more about educational advocacy, reach out to your Coordinator to attend a training session on the content and use of our Educational Advocacy Toolkit. See CASA In-Services for the full list of available trainings.

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