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CAB Connection - March 2023

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The Friends of Iowa CASA & ICFCRB organization is thrilled for the return of the Light of Hope breakfast in Des Moines this spring! This fundraiser will be from 7-8 a.m. April 5 at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Our speakers this year are Jerry Foxhoven, past ICAB Administrator and past Iowa Dept. of Human Services Director, and Allison Fleming, past chair for the National Coalition for Juvenile Justice and co-founder of the Greater Des Moines Child Abuse and Neglect Council. Admission is free; attendees may register by clicking here or scanning the QR Code below:

Advocate Circle

On Feb. 1, the Friends board launched a new fundraising campaign to encourage recurring donations and cultivate new donors who want to generously give on a regular basis. Adapted from the National CASA/GAL giving campaign of the same name, the Advocates Circle campaign invites donors to donate a specific amount monthly to cumulatively equal the amounts it costs per child per year to have CASA or FCRB advocacy services right here in Iowa. To learn more about the Advocates Circle, click here or scan the QR code below.


Welcome to Our New Volunteers!

Donna Donald, CASA, Wayne County Joan Blair-Dick, FCRB, Scott County
Ajana Parker, CASA, Black Hawk Co. Leslie Steinkamp, CASA, Marion County




Join us for the Southeast Iowa CASA Summit: 
Reinventing the Pinwheel; Planting Change; Nurturing Futures, on April 11th at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, IA.

Southeast Iowa CASA (a  Member of the National CASA Association*) and FCRB are excited to invite you to the Southeast Iowa CASA Summit: Reinventing the Pinwheel; Planting Change; Nurturing Futures, on April 11th at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, IA. 
This Summit is about bringing Youth and Professionals together to learn ways we can better work together to navigate through issues that affect us all. The three keynote focus on topics that are close to the hearts of those around us: substance use disorder, mental health, suicide prevention and lived experiences. 
Ira J. Chasnoff, MD, is the president of Children's Research Triangle and a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is one of the nation's leading researchers in the field of prenatal exposure to alcohol and illicit drugs and is the author of eight books, including Drugs, Alcohol, Pregnancy, and Parenting, which received the Book of the Year Award from the American Journal of Nursing.
Johnny Crowder is a 29-year-old suicide/abuse survivor, TEDx speaker, touring musician, mental health and sobriety advocate, and the Founder & CEO of Cope Notes, a text-based mental health platform that provides daily support to users in nearly 100 countries around the world. But in the years leading up to these incredible leaps in advocacy, every day was a battle against schizophrenic hallucinations and suicidal ideation. After a lifetime of resisting professional care and shying away from sharing his story, Johnny’s curiosity flowered, and the healing slowly began. Even when commanding a virtual stage or touring with his metal band, Prison, his infectious positivity and firsthand experience with multiple mental illnesses (ranging from bipolar disorder and PTSD to OCD and beyond) uniquely equip him to provide realistic, yet hopeful insight into the pains of hardship with authenticity, levity, and unconventional wit.
Tori Hope Petersen is the bestselling author of Fostered and sought out national speaker, inspiring audiences to change the world with what they have, right where they are, by loving the people in front of them. Tori is a leading advocate in child welfare, and has been featured on Good Morning America, and many other publications sharing her story about being a former foster youth, wife, biological mom and adoptive mom. She founded the Beloved Initiative, a nonprofit where in community people learn how to become professional lovers of people.
You will hear from nationally recognized speakers, best-selling authors, experts in youth care and juvenile justice, but most importantly, you will hear from real people with real life experiences in topics such as suicide prevention, substance use, using youth voices to advocate and building resilience.  Multiple local youth will share their experience and fresh perspectives on what it's really like growing up in 2023. 

Together, we will learn new ways to reduce trauma and abuse cycles and build a more resilient community while building a network of change in how services and interactions are administered.  If you are a CASA or FCRB volunteer please reach out to your coordinator regarding your interest in attending. For all others please register


Trainer's Corner

For FCRB Members & CASA Advocates:  Early Relational Health


Early Relational Health, or ERH, can be defined as the state of emotional well-being that grows from the positive emotional connection between babies and toddlers and their parents when they experience safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with each other. ERH is not a new concept, but it is gaining momentum in pediatrics and policies and practices.  A video series from the Center for the Study of Social Policy dives deep into how ERH can be understood and embodied by parents and practitioners. 

From Nature Connection, Early Relational Health comes from everyday moments of emotional connection between parents/caregivers and young children. Promoting Early Relational Health involves supporting parents/caregivers as they learn about the importance of sharing positive, everyday activities and routines with their babies and toddlers from birth. These activities and routines help build the positive, nurturing relationships and provide opportunities for emotional connection that are essential for Early Relational Health. Activities can be as simple as playing, talking, singing, reading together; regular routines can include bedtime and mealtime activities completed together that provide opportunities for eye contact, connection, and shared emotional moments.  Supporting parents with practical strategies to help their child express and manage their emotions also strengthens the caregiver-child relationship. 

What to Do

CASA Advocates and Board Members can ask questions about the parent-child interactions to identifying when those opportunities are occurring and reinforce those interactions by calling attention to the caretaker’s positive actions or my making recommendations encouraging more opportunities for learning the skills or visitations that can build emotional-relational health for the child, and the parent. 

Watch for next month’s training newsletter article that highlights behavioral strategies that can assist children with relational trauma and a history of neglect and abuse who have often missed out on important, early sensory experiences that are foundational to emotional relational health.

Watch these webinars to learn more:

CASA Advocates, enter your training time watching this webinar in CAMS for in-service training credit!!

Continuing Ed

For CASA Advocates: 

To support your continuous learning journey within our organization and your advocacy efforts as a CASA, please consider requesting from your Local Coordinator the recording of a previous webinar offered as part of our speaker series.  Webinars available to watch and then complete the Advocate Application Worksheet to receive independent study in-service credit includes:  

  • Adoption in CINA Cases
  • A Judge’s Perspective on the Past, Present, and Future of Advocacy in Iowa
  • AMP: Achieving Maximum Potential; Giving Older Youth a Voice
  • Bridging the Gap
  • Family Centered Services 
  • Inclusion Through a Different Lens
  • Iowa Transition Planning Services
  • Iowa Aftercare Services
  • Kinship Navigator Program
  • Solution Based Casework
  • The Parent Partner Program in Iowa
  • The Talking Wall: Listening to the Voices that Matter Most
  • Understanding the Subsidized Guardianship Program

There Is Still Time!!  Register for upcoming 2023 Speaker Series training sessions!

Engagement and Safety Decision Making in Substance Use Disorder Cases  Join us to learn from the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare!  Families affected by substance use disorders (SUDs) and involved with child welfare services often face a host of challenges and barriers to family well-being.  Parents with SUDs have a lower likelihood of successful reunification with their children and their children tend to stay longer in the foster care system than children of parents without SUDs.  Effectively assessing safety, risk and protective capacities is an essential element of strong child welfare practices.  This session explores the importance of understanding how stigma and language may affect engagement in safety decision making and provides engagement strategies to support positive outcomes for families.  This session will also define safety factors, risk factors, and parental protective capacities, while highlighting the importance of collaborative decision making with families and community partners to address family needs.  March 29th from Noon to 1:30 pm. Click here to register! As this session will be recorded, please only register to attend the live session.

Family Interactions with HHS Join HHS Sara Buis as we learn more about Family Interactions Plans and the new tools available to the workers to help ensure interactions occur in safe and healthy ways. These plans are tailored to meet the safety needs of the family as a powerful tool for family reunification. Come with your questions! As this session will be recorded, please only register to attend the live session. April12 from Noon to 1 pm Click here to register!