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CAB Connection - October 2021

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Introducing the Polk County Pilot FCRB
By Carrie Phelps, Program Coordinator

Some exciting news is coming out of Polk County. July 22, 2021 was the first Polk County Foster Care Review Board in more than two decades. This board has been launched as a pilot program for twelve months. It was created to specifically look at cases of children with the permanency goal of APPLA (another planned permanent living arrangement), in other words, they will be “aging out of the system”. The board meets monthly to review the cases, and make recommendations to increase the possibility of the youth having a successful transition to adulthood. This includes but is not limited to, further education, medical coverage, housing, transportation, employment, and having a dependable adult in their lives. 

The new board consists of six members; Chairperson, Matthew Mull; Ilima Young-Dunn; Kristin Honz; Mary “Meg” Malloy; Heather Stephenson; and Megan Boushek. All board members bring their own unique perspective and experience to the board. When asked why he wanted to serve on the board, Matt said "It is important to give back and to invest in our community. Supporting the children of our community is the foundation of our future. We need to be dedicating as many resources to children and if I can be one of those resources and add value for children in the foster care system, then I'm doing it right."

The board is facilitated by Kristine Wong. Kristine hails from Story county, where she lives with her husband David and daughter Estelle. Kristine and David have two adult children; Olivia and Isabelle. Kristine is passionate about helping children in the foster care system, and she and her husband were previously licensed foster parents. Kristine first applied to become a CASA in Story county until she heard of this opportunity. She knew this would be a good fit for her, and it has proven to be.


Polk FCRB board Members (from left to right):   Kristine Wong (facilitator), Kristin Honz, Meg Malloy, Heather Stephenson, Ilima Young-Dunn. Not pictured: Matt Mull & Megan Boushek


Welcome to Our New Volunteers!

Lisa Fritz, CASA, Appanoose County Kessa Jacobs, CASA, Dubuque County
David Kelley, CASA, Dubuque County Jeanne Vogel, FCRB, Decatur County



Des Moines CASA Receives National Grant to Increase Support 
to Vulnerable Youth

The National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children has awarded a $50,000 Core Model Grant to Des Moines CASA. Funds will support a recruitment project to assist the Des Moines CASA Program in achieving their growth goals to reach capacity of assigned CASA Advocates following a year of limited recruitment due to the Covid pandemic. Once capacity is achieved, Des Moines CASA will enhance the Coach Model to support additional CASA Advocates to serve more children.  

Nationwide there are nearly 950 CASA/GAL programs, including 49 state offices, supporting volunteers who work on behalf of children in the child welfare system. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.

ICAB is pleased to be a grant award recipient on behalf of Des Moines CASA and is grateful to the National CASA/GAL Association for Children. The federal grant funds distributed are provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice, as authorized under the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990. In 2019, National CASA/GAL was awarded nearly $7 million in federal grants.


Trainer's Corner

For FCRB Members & CASA Advocates October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month


October was first declared as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989. Since then, October has been a time to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and be a voice for its victims. Domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Click here to view statistics

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), also referred to as domestic violence, occurs when an individual purposely causes harm or threatens the risk of harm to any past or current partner or spouse. While abuse often occurs as a pattern of controlling and coercive behavior, an initial episode of abuse may also be cause for concern. Tactics used in IPV can be physical, sexual, financial, verbal, or emotional in nature against the partner. Individuals may also experience stalking, terrorizing, blame, hurt, humiliation, manipulation, and intentional isolation from social supports and family. IPV can vary in frequency and severity. Children are often the hidden or silent victims of IPV, and some are directly injured, while others are frightened witnesses. Children with IPV exposure are more likely to have also experienced emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and community violence. Read more at: National Child Traumatic Stress Network

What behaviors do children who witness domestic violence exhibit?

The emotional responses of children who witness domestic violence may include fear, guilt, shame, sleep disturbances, sadness, depression, and anger (at both the abuser for the violence and at the non-offending parent for being unable to prevent the violence).

Physical responses may include stomachaches and/or headaches, bedwetting, and loss of ability to concentrate. Some children may also experience physical or sexual abuse or neglect. Others may be injured while trying to intervene on behalf of their parent or a sibling.

The behavioral responses of children who witness domestic violence may include acting out, withdrawal, or anxiousness to please. The children may exhibit signs of anxiety and have a short attention span which may result in poor school performance and attendance. They may experience developmental delays in speech, motor or cognitive skills. They may also use violence to express themselves, displaying increased aggression with peers or family members. They can become self-injuring.

Click the link Effects on Children to learn how the responses vary with age and developmental stage.  In addition to developmental stages, the responses depend on the severity of the violence, their proximity to the event, and the responses of their caregivers. 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) 2021 theme, Community Support + Action = Social Change, outlines the objective of the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) for all Iowans to come together, recognize, and support, the stories and experiences of survivors, families and communities who have been impacted by intimate partner violence.

For 31 days, ICADV organization will be hosting opportunities to learn about the vital work they are doing to support survivors; highlighting Culturally Specific Programs; unveiling new programs and prevention tools; and community events to take part in. Visit ICADV’s website www.icadv.org and social media platforms, Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/IowaCADV Instagram (ICADV), Twitter (@icadv) over the next few weeks as more information will be unveiled regarding these activities. Each and every one of us knows someone who has been impacted by domestic violence. Each and every one of us deserves to be safe in their homes. DVAM is the perfect opportunity to come together and take action to create a world in which all of us can thrive.

dditional Resources

Watch Video


First Impressions: Exposure to Violence and a Child’s Developing Brain
Through Our Eyes
Children, Violence, and Trauma- Addressing Violence in the Home

Child Welfare Manual

Child Protection in Families Experiencing Domestic Violence (2nd Ed.) 2018 Capacity Building Center for States. (2018). Child protection in families experiencing domestic violence (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Promoting Protective Factors Factsheets (Development Services Group, Inc. [DSG], & Child Welfare Information Gateway.) These factsheets for practitioners explore the importance of protective factors in working with the following in-risk populations:

Promoting Protective Factors for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence  

Promoting Protective Factors for Children and Youth in Foster Care

Promoting Protective Factors for In-Risk Families and Youth  

Promoting Protective Factors for Pregnant and Parenting Teens   

Promoting Protective Factors for Victims of Child Abuse and Neglect  

For CASA Advocates:  In-Service Training Credit

Training Courses

Advocates and Coaches complete 12 hours of in-service credit annually to enhance their case specific advocacy efforts.  To explore the available trainings your local Coordinator can provide to you, see CASA In-Services for the full list of available trainings.


ICAB Volunteers - Click Here to Register