Certification for Family Support Workers

      Iowa’s Home Visiting program is seeking to improve its work through the development and implementation of standards and training for a certification process for advanced home visiting professionals. The certification will focus specifically on child abuse prevention and, in assisting Prevent Child Abuse Iowa in developing those standards, HZA is identifying certification processes for child abuse prevention used elsewhere, creating a standard process for family support workers to become certified and developing an implementation plan for the certification process. To determine the core competency areas for inclusion in the process, HZA will explore the education, experience and core areas of expertise the State should require for certification; the subject matter content for each area of expertise; and how candidates should achieve expertise in each area. The development work will be finalized in 2014.

      Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Program (FaDSS)

      In 2015, HZA was contracted to develop a web-based case management system for the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Division of Community Action Agencies (DCAA,) which administers the state’s Family Development and Self-Sufficiency Program (FaDSS). FaDSS provides developmental services to families at risk of long-term welfare dependency. Participation in FaDSS is a voluntary option for people receiving Family Investment Program benefits. Eligible families are identified and referred to the program by the Department of Human Services, PROMISE JOBS Program, other third-party sources and self-referrals; the program is delivered using service referrals, community linkage and assessments, making for unwieldy data collection and reporting. The implementation of HZA’s comprehensive data collection system has enhanced the program’s data collection and reporting capacity, allowing for the import/export of data from other systems, and is designed to be used by agencies across the state.   The complexity of the new system used to track data and monitor compliance and outcomes by various agencies across the state necessitated the development of a comprehensive system user’s guide. HZA developed two step-by-step navigational guides for use by FaDSS staff at the state and local levels, one which is used by day-to-day users and another for administrative personnel. The guide also incorporates program guidance, helping staff to know when certain actions should take place and what data are to be collected. The detailed user’s guides also provide instruction for utilizing the system’s reporting capacity, including how to view historical trends and produce reports on a statewide and grantee level. The system and accompanying guides are in use by agencies across the state providing self-sufficiency services to thousands of Iowa’s families.

      National Youth in Transition Database

      From 2010 to 2016, HZA conducted surveys of all 17-year-old Iowa youth in foster care as part of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) project. Two years later HZA began the follow-up data collection efforts with those same youth, gauging how their circumstances have changed in the two years since the baseline survey. The task involves locating the youth, interviewing them and entering data into the national database. HZA has met the required federal standards for every data collection period which represents reaching a specified proportion of youth despite the difficulty in finding them.

      Protective Factors Family Survey

      In order for providers in Iowa to monitor the quality of their work, HZA administers the Iowa Family Survey using web-based technology to prevention providers throughout the state under contract to Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. The survey assesses five protective factors: nurturing and attachment; family functioning and resilience; social and emotional support; concrete support; and parenting and knowledge of child development. Using a seven-point agreement scale, participants are asked to rate a series of statements about their families, connection to their communities, parenting practices, and perceived relationships with their child(ren) before they started the program, then again after receiving services for six months or more. HZA’s web-based tool allows programs throughout the state to obtain data reports for their own particular families, comparing the results before and after program participation.

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