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CAB Connection - April 2023

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Volunteer Appreciation

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Euchre Charity Night in Le Claire

Calling Quad Cities advocates and friends! Friends of Iowa CASA & ICFCRB is partnering with Green Tree Brewery in Le Claire for their monthly charity euchre night on May 9. We are so excited to be May's beneficiary! During the euchre night, prizes will be raffled off, with the proceeds benefiting Friends of Iowa CASA & ICFCRB. Don’t miss out and feel free to bring a friend!

If you are a Quad City-area business and would like to donate a raffle prize, please contact Friends Development Director Meghan Malloy at: mmalloy@casaandicfcrb.org


Advocates Circle

In Iowa, it costs an average of $1,800 for one child to have a CASA volunteer for one year; on average, it is $850 for a foster care review board to review one child for one year. While Friends of Iowa CASA and ICFCRB has made progress towards serving every at-risk child in Iowa, we still have work to do.

In recognition of that, Friends has created the Advocates Circle: any donor who contributes $850 or more to Friends of Iowa CASA and ICFCRB on an annual basis will receive recognition in our Annual Report and verbal recognition at events in the donor’s local area.

Your leadership gift today will help recruit, train and support more CASA and FCRB volunteers in Iowa who provide the best outcomes for our state’s most vulnerable children. You may make a one-time donation or a monthly gift (NOTE: please enter your gift in the custom field and set the frequency to recurring).

QR Circle

Membership Levels:
Ally: $850 (or $70 monthly)
Champion: $1,800 (or $150 monthly)
Guardian: $2,650 (or $220 monthly)
Visionary: $3,000 (or $250 monthly)

Join the #AdvocatesCircle today by scanning the
QR code or clicking here.


Gold Club Membership

Spring has sprung, and that means getting your air conditioner ready for the summer months ahead. Friends of Iowa CASA and ICFCRB is partnering with Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical for their first ever Gold Club $300K Giveaway! Starting now, you have the chance to purchase a Gold Club membership with Golden Rule and they will donate the full cost of that membership to Friends ($99/membership)! Make sure to mention our name over the phone or use the coupon code IOWACASAFRIENDS23 on their online store! 

Your Gold Club membership includes annual free inspections for your plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems, and all Gold Club members go to the front of the service line, never pay a trip charge, and get 10 percent off all repairs.

To learn more and purchase online, click here or scan the QR Code!

QR Golden Rule


Welcome to Our New Volunteers!

Shentell Auffart, CASA Richard Billings, CASA Payton Clerc, CASA
Karen Ward, FCRB Debby Freese, CASA Terisa Gamboa, CASA
Greta Gertken, FCRB Dawn Goerdt, CASA Diane Gruba, CASA
Jamie Hoey, CASA Karah Huinker, CASA Lori Kilburg, FCRB
Amber Macdonald, CASA Angela Mew, FCRB Terence Mulroy, CASA
Mary Officer, CASA Melissa Russell, CASA Linda Ryan, FCRB
Karen Spahn, CASA Stephanie Stewart, FCRB Joni Tibbetts, CASA
Christina Van Gorp, CASA Mary Donegan-Ritter, CASA Burgundie Winter, CASA


April Anniversaries

Realignment of the Iowa Child Advocacy Board to Iowa Health and Human Services

This legislative session Governor Reynolds introduced a proposal to align state government in ways that create efficiencies, improve operations, and elevate services to Iowans.  That proposal, which included merging the Iowa Child Advocacy Board (ICAB) into the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), has been approved by the legislature and is expected to be signed by the Governor in the coming weeks.    

What does this mean for Iowa’s CASA and FCRB programs?  It means we remain committed to our mission by providing high quality service to children and families.  We will continue our visits with children, phone calls to therapists and providers, preparation for and execution of foster care review board meetings, completing timely court reports, and all else we do to ensure children and their families are served well.  

We recognize this is a change that affects the entire ICAB community.  Your  input, guidance and support is needed in the coming days and months to ensure this transition is a success so our high-quality services can continue.  Please reach out to your local program staff or the state office with questions.      

We value your passion and dedication and look forward to our continued collaboration in advocating for the protection of Iowa’s children and improvement of the child welfare system.


  Steffani Simbric                          Amy Carpenter                                 Shirley Hoefer
 ICAB Administrator               CASA Program Manager                 FCRB Program Manage


Trainer's Corner

For FCRB Members & CASA Advocates:  Strategies for Early Childhood Mental, Emotional and Relational Health

Guys with Baby

March 2023 ICAB newsletter training article outlined basic information about Early Relational Health or ERH.  This is 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. Professionals, academia, and researchers, public health policy makers and clinicians have addressed the impact of stress, abuse and neglect, and healthy caretaking behaviors for years. 

Lady and Baby

Going as far back as Daniel Goleman’s international bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence (Batman Books, 1995) to John Gottman’s emotional intelligence parenting books, to the current Center on the Developing Child Harvard University, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the Center for the Study of Social Policy we have access to great resources that help us better understand parenting, and the impact of stress or childhood abuse and neglect on individual’s functioning and development.  All of these resources provide invaluable insight and education for learning how to better understand children’s needs and how the child welfare field can advocate for healthy early development and if necessary, appropriate interventions for children who did not receive optimal early development.  

Strategies that Work for Gaps in Relational Health

Behavioral strategies 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.   Without relational health, children experience gaps in their landscape of physical, mental and even social health. 

Bruce Perry, acclaimed neuroscientist, clinician, researcher and author (The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing, with Maia Szalavitz, 2007, and the recent 2021 What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing, with Oprah Winfrey) has influenced the efforts in mitigating the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma on the developing brain in clinical practices, programs and policies across the world.  He developed the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics which outlines a consistent, sequential approach to take, providing brain calming activities, to facilitate healing for children who have experienced childhood trauma. This is summarized by his 6 R’s:

  • Relational – offered by a safe adult who has established a trusting relationship.
  • Relevant – developmentally-matched to the child & their emotional age, rather than matched to their chronological age.
  • Repetitive – patterned.
  • Rewarding – pleasurable.
  • Rhythmic – resonant with neural patterns.
  • Respectful – of the child, their family & culture.

Childhood abuse and neglect’s impact on the brain and its development, and complex relational trauma, which results from the aftermath of abuse and neglect, maltreatment or abandonment within a relationship, will lead to a child’s brain staying on high alert, and their body primed for fight, flight, or freeze. This makes it hard for them to process their thoughts, feelings, and to manage their behavior.  It disrupts the ability to build relationships, form attachments, learn skills and knowledge, and impacts their daily environment.


Children who are functioning on high alert with the accompanied difficulties in processing feelings and behaviors, can demonstrate disruptive behaviors. Attempting to control disruptive behavior is one of the most difficult struggles in classrooms and homes. Regulating and gaining control of their behavior is quite difficult. Adults often attempt to argue or persuade, and it seems to have little or no impact.  Bruce Perry, shares helpful insight into why just talking or commanding doesn’t work.

“We must regulate people before we can possibly persuade them with a cognitive argument or compel them with an emotional affect.”

In other words, if a child is not regulated then it will be hard to have much impact on their behavior no matter what you say or do. The good news is that there are options that work to help a child who is highly anxious or dysregulated. Dr. Perry cites research that suggests, “The only way to move from these super-high anxiety states, to calmer more cognitive states, is rhythm,” he says. “Patterned, repetitive rhythmic activity: walking, running, dancing, singing, repetitive meditative breathing…You use brain stem-related somatosensory networks which make your brain accessible to relational (limbic brain) reward and cortical thinking.”

It's encouraging to know that it is possible to go back and fill in the gaps and promote developmental healing, by encouraging certain activities & movement for children with trauma histories.  Repeated patterns of movement are good for building new connections within the child’s brain & helping their body to learn that it is safe. There are lots of activities that can be helpful, and if woven into the daily routine and facilitated by a kind & caring adult, are even more impactful. Examples include walking, dancing, drumming, tapping, singing, breathing, yoga and music. 


To hear more about Bruce Perry additional insights into the power of connections and how relationships are essential to human life, click here to watch the 7-minute video: Stress, Trauma, and the Brain: Insights for Educators--The Neurosequential Model 

As an Advocate or Board Member: 

  • Be aware when a child or adult appears dysregulated at the moment of your interaction. 
  • If possible, suggest a joint activity that includes rhythmic movement such as taking a walk or going to swing on the playground.  
  • Be respectful of their dysregulated state.  Don’t try to talk them through their agitation or feelings.  Don’t use statements such as “Calm down”.  Offer the individual a drink of water or encourage them to take some deep breaths alongside you.  
  • Build a safe environment for your interaction.  Look at the space you are meeting in and assess if others will feel that it is a welcoming environment.  Is it a cold, clinical setting, or a place with warm lighting and comfortable seating options?
  • Ask questions about the trauma informed care they are receiving and if rhythmic movements are included as therapeutic treatment approaches.
  • Foremost, remember that gathering clear information from others, to allow you to make sound recommendations, are contingent upon the relationship and the regulation of the person you are gathering information from at that moment.
Continuing Ed

For CASA Advocates: 

To support your continuous learning journey within our organization and your advocacy efforts as a CASA, please consider registering for one of our upcoming Speaker Series in-service training sessions! 

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!

Success in the Classroom: Advocating for Youth with Disabilities Participant of this workshop will learn about the ways that students with disabilities can be supported in the classroom and the laws that require accommodations in public education systems. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is described and compared to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) along with some important laws that impact kids with disabilities in the general education classroom.  Participants will get a better understanding of: the process of becoming eligible for supports under Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the difference between what is available under each type of pla, and laws that impact kids with disabilities in the general education classroom. Join us on May 15th from Noon to 1 pm as Mari Brown  and Deb Chiodo from ASK Resources shares this important information. This session meets CASAs annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in-service training requirement. Click here to register!

Tour of ASK Resource Center and Transition Iowa Website Resources  Do you advocate on a case with a child or youth with disabilities? Do you want more resources for advocating for older youth with a disability who is transitioning to adulthood? If so, then this workshop is for YOU!  Participants of this workshop will learn about the resources available on the ASK Resource Center website. ASK is a resource center that is funded in part by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to support families and professionals who advocate for children with disabilities. Participants will get a better understanding of the resources available on ASK’s website regarding IEPs, 504 Plans, and Behavior, the resources available on ASK’s website regarding health, Medicaid, HCBS Waivers, and the resources available on the Transition Iowa website to support transition planning for life after high school for youth with disabilities. Join Mari Reyolds and Deb Chiodo from ASK Resources on May 22 from Noon to 1 pm to find out about all the amazing resources and information available!  Click here to register! This session meets CASAs annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in-service training requirement. 

Quest Mark

If you have questions, please contact the State Trainer at lesa.christianson@dia.iowa.gov.