The Child Welfare Research and Training Project (CWRTP) had its beginnings at Iowa State University in the mid-1980’s. At that time, government agencies across the nation were faced with budget cuts and deficits. Iowa was no exception. The Department of Human Services (DHS), faced with budget cuts in its overall administration of programs, began cutting the allocation for training.
In 1986, the DHS as part of its “Federal Funding Enhancement Project” recognized that there were funding and program opportunities through Title IV-E, Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980. A consulting firm, MAXIMUS, was hired to develop an initiative to promote collaboration between Iowa’s colleges and universities in support of the policy objectives of Title IV-E. This vision became a reality in 1988 when DHS contracted with Iowa State University through a Basic Ordering Agreement under the direction of Dr. Robert Fuqua to act as the lead institution for a consortium of institutions of higher learning under the auspices of the CWRTP. Consortium members were developed and initially included: University of Northern Iowa, Iowa Federation of Social Work Educators administered by Luther College, Iowa’s community colleges and the American Bar Association. Relationships were also developed with other entities as needed, such as University of Iowa National Resource Center. After Dr. Fuqua’s death in 1989, Dr. Dee Draper became the Project Director followed by Drs. Paula Dail, Jacques Lempers, Steve Garasky and now Janet Melby.
Over the years, several projects have existed under the CWRTP umbrella. Short overviews of these projects are listed below.
Initially, training programs were implemented through Task Orders under the Basic Ordering Agreement utilizing a combination of federal and ISU match resources. The first Task Order, Task Order A, pertained only to Title IV-E topics, foster care maintenance and adoption assistance. In fiscal year 1989, the Foster Parent Pre-Service Training Program (NOVA) was added to the Task Order. A sub-office was placed in Mason City to administer this program. From fiscal year 1990 through fiscal year 2001 Reasonable Efforts, a major service training initiative, was implemented throughout the state and led to expansion of staff on the Service Training Contract. During fiscal years 2003-2007, the Project implemented and refined the PS-MAPP foster parent pre-service training program (requiring 30 hours of training) throughout Iowa.
In fiscal year 1995, through a Request for Proposals DHS contracted with The University of Iowa and a consortium consisting of Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa and the National Resource Center on Family Based Services to develop the Child Protection Training Academy and provide a systematic training program to child abuse investigation staff. The first programs under this initiative were available in April 1995. DHS reissued the Request for Proposal in 1998 and beginning in fiscal year 1999, the program is administered by Achievements, Inc., which is now one of our subcontractors.
In recent years, major initiatives have been added to the Service Training contract. In fiscal year 2003, CPPC (Community Partnerships for Protecting Children) was added. Project staff provide support and training to communities and neighborhoods in developing strategies to keep children safe. In fiscal year 2009, Project staff started to provide support and training to the Parent Partners program. The program utilizes parents who have successfully navigated through the DHS system as mentors for parents currently involved with DHS
Through ARRA funding, the Early ACCESS/Intervention program started in fiscal year 2010. This program provides services and intervention to children under age 3. The program is continuing beyond ARRA with funds from DHS and the Department of Education.
In fiscal year 1991, Task Order D, Bureau of Collections (BOC) policy training, was implemented. Over the years a number of training initiatives have occurred in conjunction with the Bureau, including a privatization research grant with Dr. Garasky as the PI. Initially, the trainers developed training manuals for self-instructional learning and delivered face-to-face training for the child support staff across the state.
In 2005, the trainers developed Paternity Affidavit training for birthing centers in the state of Iowa. This is an on-going project. Another on-going project is the Parenting: It’s a Life curriculum, which the team updated starting in 2008 and has continued to update and conduct research related to educating teenagers about the responsibilities of becoming parents. This team was also the first, in 2008, to begin a major initiative to move training online through the use of webinars and a learning management system. Since then, much of the training delivered by the CWRTP has evolved to include online components.
In fall 2011, subcontract funding was received for Mapping the Future of Paternity Establishment through GIS (Geographic Information Systems), a demonstration grant from the Administration for Youth and Families. The goal is to improve CSRU’s ability to analyze and use data in the future to continually improve services.
Initially, there were separate Task Orders for AFDC, Medical Assistance and Food Stamps. These were finally approved by federal in a combined Task Order starting in fiscal year 1992. The trainers developed face to face training for new and ongoing eligibility workers in the Economic Assistance programs. The contractual relationship with DHS ended with fiscal year 2000.
Home and Community Based Services
In fiscal year 1993, the Project responded to a request for proposal on HCBS (Home & Community Based Services). The program provided staffing and training on waiver services across the state. Project staff are housed across the state either in DHS offices or nearby. Today the project staff provide quality management oversight for provider agencies as well as training.
In fiscal year 1994, the Project developed the RTSS (Rehabilitative Treatment and Supportive Services) program in response to a request for proposal. This program focused on the medical behavioral health services for child welfare. In fiscal year 2004, the program transitioned to RTS (Remedial Treatment Services). The program eventually merged with HCBS in fiscal year 2007. The contractual relationship with DHS ended with fiscal year 2012.
Targeted Case Management
TCM (Targeted Case Management) separated out from the Service Training Contract into its own contract in fiscal year 2001. Project staff provided support in the development of training, conferences, and meetings for TCM staff across the state. The contractual relationship with DHS ended with fiscal year 2011.