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Iowa Department of Human Services. A Brief Overview. Vision. The Iowa Department of Human Services makes a positive difference in the lives of Iowans we serve through effective and efficient leadership, excellence, and teamwork. Mission. Safety Permanency . Mission.

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The Iowa Department of Human Services makes a positive difference in the lives of Iowans we serve through effective and efficient leadership, excellence, and teamwork.


Safety Permanency


Self-sufficiency Well-Being

  • Stewards of State resources
  • Customer focused
  • Partnerships
  • Federal funding
core functions economic supports
Core Functions: Economic Supports

Economic Supports:



Food Stamps

Child Care Assistance

Refugee Services

core functions child and adult protection
Core Functions: Child and Adult Protection

Services to Strengthen and Support Families

Foster Care

Child Care

Iowa Juvenile Home (Toledo)

State Training School (Eldora)

what is the cfsr
What is the CFSR?
  • Partnership between “The Feds” and State governments to review each state’s Child Welfare System
  • Entire Child Welfare System:
    • The DHS
    • Juvenile Court
    • Medical Services
    • Education
    • State & Community Partners
cfsr outcomes
CFSR Outcomes
    • Protection from abuse
    • Safe in their own homes when possible
    • Permanency and stability for youth
    • Family relationships are preserved
    • Adequate services are provided to meet physical and mental health needs
cfsr systemic factors
CFSR Systemic Factors
  • Statewide Information System
  • Case Review System
  • Quality Assurance System
  • Training
  • Service Array
  • Agency Responsiveness to Community
  • Foster and Adoptive Parent Licensing, Recruitment and Retention
cfsr process

CFSR Process

  • Statewide Assessment
  • On-Site Review
  • Program Improvement Plan (PIP)
program improvement plan pip
Program Improvement Plan (PIP)
  • State stakeholders develop plan showing what will be done to improve and setting performance goals
  • Submit plan to Regional Office for approval within 90 days of CFSR final report
  • State has 2 years to complete strategies, and 3 years to meet outcome performance goals
iowa s pip key strategies
Iowa’s PIP - Key Strategies
  • Child Welfare Model of Practice
  • Statewide expansion of Community Partnerships for Protecting Children
  • DHS focus on youngest victims and high risk families; Community Care for lower risk families
  • Family assessment model and training
  • Family Team Meetings
  • Minority youth and family initiatives
  • Memorandum of Agreement with Education and Public Health
  • Strengthened focus on role of supervisor
  • Creation of Quality Assurance System
intake process purpose
Intake Process - Purpose



Criteria for Assessment

Constitutional Right to Privacy

intake policy
Intake Policy
  • It is the purpose and policy of Iowa to provide the greatest possible protection to children who may have been abused or are at risk for abuse and those children in need of assistance.
  • Children in Iowa need protection from abuse. Child protection and strong families are the responsibility not only of the family itself, but also of the larger community, including formal and informal service networks.
  • Child safety comes first!
sources of reports
Sources of Reports

The Department shall receive child abuse reports from mandatory, permissive, and anonymous reporters.

intake referral options
Intake Referral Options
  • Information. The person is ineligible for services through the Department. The reporter will be given information on community resources to contact.
  • Child Protective Assessment. Accepted criteria are met to initiate an assessment to examine whether abuse or neglect of a child has occurred.
  • CINA Assessment. The person appears to have a child in need of assistance and to meet basic eligibility factors. At this point the case is assigned for a CINA assessment.
child protective assessment
Child Protective Assessment

Child Abuse Criteria - “3 Cs”

  • Child – Under the age of 18
  • Caretaker
  • Category of Abuse
child in need of assistance iowa code section 232 2 6 a q
CHILD IN NEED OF ASSISTANCEIowa Code Section 232.2(6)(a) – (q)
  • Abandoned or deserted
  • Physically abused or neglected
  • Harmful effects –
    • Mental Injury
    • Lack of Supervision
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Not provided medical treatment
  • Not provided mental health treatment
  • Not provided food, clothing or shelter & refuse help
child in need of assistance continued
  • Committed a delinquent act due to pressure from adult in household
  • Sexual Activities for hire (including photographs)
  • Without a parent or guardian
  • Parent seeks removal for good cause
  • Child seeks removal for good cause
child in need of assistance continued31
  • Not provided substance abuse treatment
  • Parent not provide adequate care due to:
      • Mental capacity or condition
      • Imprisonment
      • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Drug affected child
  • Manufacture meth in child’s presence
  • Safe Haven: Voluntary release of Newborn
assessment findings
Assessment Findings
  • Not Confirmed
  • Confirmed,

not placed

  • Founded
  • Risk Level
    • Low
    • Medium
    • High


cina assessment
CINA Assessment
  • Outcomes of the CINA Assessment
    • Information and/or Referral to Community Resources
    • Recommendation for court involvement through a Child in Need of Assistance petition (CINA)
  • Services are not provided until a court case is opened.
juvenile court system
Juvenile Court System

Two Types of Legal Proceedings:

Civil and Criminal

Juvenile Court falls under Civil

types of hearings
Types of Hearings
  • Removal
  • Adjudication
  • Disposition
  • Review/


  • Permanency
  • Termination of Parental Rights
removal hearings
Removal Hearings
  • Means of Removal
    • Ex-Parte (no other parties present)
    • Emergency (Police Officer, Doctor, Juvenile Court Officer)
    • Consent of Parent

Hearing must be held within 10 days. (Some courtrooms are now doing them within 5 business days)

adjudication hearings
Adjudication Hearings
  • Hearing determines if the Court can intervene
  • Grounds for filing a Child In Need of Assistance (CINA) Petition

The Court may:

1. Adjudicate based

on CINA grounds

2. Dismiss petition

3. Suspend

disposition hearings
Disposition Hearings
  • Determines what should be done for the child and what services to offer.
  • A plan is identified on how the Department will reunify the family.
  • Recommendations are

made by the Department.

dispositional possibilities
Dispositional Possibilities
  • Custodial Parents
  • Non-custodial parent
  • Relative or other suitable adult
  • Family Foster Care
  • Treatment family foster care
  • Community day-evening treatment
  • Foster group care
  • Psychiatric Medical Institute for Children
  • Iowa Juvenile Home at Toledo
review modification hearings
Review Hearings

At least every six months following the disposition, the court case is reviewed and the progress or lack of progress that has been made in the family is assessed.

Modification Hearings

These are held when the direction of the case needs to be changed, or the circumstances change.

This hearing can be held at any time in the case following the Disposition.

Review/Modification Hearings
permanency hearings
At the time that a child has been out of the home for twelve months, and each twelve months after, a Permanency hearing must be held.

At a Permanency hearing the judge may make one of three decisions. 1) The child returns home. 2) The case is forwarded to a Termination of Parental Rights hearing. 3) Or, the child remains in care.

Permanency Hearings
permanency options
Permanency Options
  • Transfer custody to other parent
  • Guardianship
  • Custodianship
  • Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement
adoption and safe families act asfa
Adoption and Safe Families Act(ASFA)
  • Court has Option to Waive “Reasonable Efforts” Requirement if Parent:
      • Has already lost parental rights to that child’s sibling
      • Has committed specific types of felonies, including murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child’s sibling.
      • Has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances such as abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse.
adoption and safe families act asfa51
Adoption and Safe Families Act(ASFA)
  • REQUIRES filing of a TPR Petition:

1. If an infant has been abandoned.

2. If the parent has committed any of the felonies included in the previous provisions. OR

3. If the child has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months.

exceptions to termination discretionary
  • Relative has custody of child
  • Child age 10 or older objects
  • Detrimental to bond between child & parent
  • Child institutionalized & not yet ready for adoption
  • Parent absent due to hospitalization or armed forces
foster care review boards
Foster Care Review Boards


  • The Iowa Citizen’s Foster Care Review Board is authorized to conduct foster care administrative reviews in the counties in the Fifth and Sixth Judicial Districts. Local foster care review boards composed of volunteers representing various disciplines conduct the reviews. Each volunteer receives training before sitting on a board.
effective communication
  • Voicemails for workers
    • Specificity
    • Patience
    • When to call a supervisor
effective relationships
  • Community Partnerships
  • Your DHS worker IS HUMAN
  • Attorneys
  • Families