Archives

CWRTP co-principal investigator makes sense of big data, receives grant

Heather Rouse is the co-principal investigator for the CSRU contract and was recently featured by Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences for two separate research projects.


Firstly, Heather Rouse and Cassandra Dorius, both assistant professors in human development and family studies, are using existing data to help the state solve problems and make evidence-based decisions in the areas of public health, education, and child welfare. The numbers allow them to be strategic in identifying “low-hanging fruit” among problems needing to be solved, and targeting people who need help the most.

Read more about the research project from the College of Human Sciences.


Secondly, Heather Rouse, Ji-Young Choi, and Daniel Russell, in human development and family studies, recently received a research grant of $40,000 from the Spencer Foundation. Their project builds on a current research study to understand the comprehensive sets of child and family risks that hinder young children’s school readiness capacities. This new effort will examine patterns and predictors of early non-parental care experiences (e.g., child care, preschool) for children prior to kindergarten entry, with a specific focus on the needs and services of Native American children.

This story was originally published by Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences.

ISU Staff present at National Child Support Conference

Paula Burns, Instructional Development Coordinator, and Tyler Stricker, Technical Writer and Trainer, recently presented at the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) annual conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, August 6-9, 2017.

The title of Paula’s presentation was Irresistible Engagement: A New Path Forward in Employee Engagement. The title of Tyler’s presentation was It’s Not IT But It’s Still Project Management. Paula and Tyler also co-presented Training Successes – How to Succeed with Multi-Location Workforce Situations, New Partnerships, and New Staff Orientation Plans.

The NCSEA conference brings in hundreds of professionals from across the United States including directors, managers, leaders, and future leaders in the child support community.

Paula Burns discusses the Child Support Training Partnership.

Tyler Stricter explains the ADDIE Process, used by the ISU-CSRU contract.

ISU staff host snack day at CSRU Central Office

Iowa State University (ISU) trainers hosted a snack day at Child Support Recovery Unit’s Central Office to show appreciation for continuing the training partnership. All snacks at snack day represented ISU with cardinal and gold!

Paternity Affidavit Outreach Coordinator receives Master’s of Science degree

Abby Stanek (pictured), the Paternity Affidavit Program Outreach Coordinator, received her Masters of Science in Agricultural Education from Iowa State University in June 2017. Stanek’s creative component focused on developing a six-lesson curriculum and iPad app for C6 BioFarm, a game suite designed to educate youth about the importance of renewable energy.

“My goal throughout the creation of C6 BioFarm was to create a product that youth and educators were interested in using, which would lead to more interest in joining the agriculture and bioenergy industries,” explained Stanek. “I hope that the app is a successful tool in educating youth about the agriculture and bioenergy industries, as well as making C6 BioFarm more marketable to educators, who are interested in integrating technology into their classrooms.”

In addition to working for CWRTP, Stanek was a graduate assistant at ISU for a year while pursuing her Masters degree. “Creating C6 BioFarm and pursuing my Masters have helped me to learn the best practices for program planning. Though my degree was through the lens of agriculture, all of the information I learned related to program planning will be useful in my future career,” noted Stanek.

More than 3,000 youth and 350 adults participated in C6 BioFarm activities, including playing C6 BioFarm, between 2012 and 2016, according to Stanek.

C6 BioFarm is available on the Apple app store.

Learn more about C6 BioFarm and its sponsors, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, CenUSA BioEnergy, and Iowa NSF EPSCoR.

Iowa’s prisoner reentry simulation highlighted by OCSE

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) recently highlighted the prisoner reentry simulation, coordinated and organized by the Child Welfare Research and Training Project (CWRTP) through the ISU-CSRU partnership. Iowa State University (ISU) Trainers Jay Grey and Martha Stewart worked closely with CSRU staff to execute the events, which took place in March and April 2017.

Read more about the simulation on page two!

PIAL Outreach Coordinator receives Master’s of Science degree

Jo Ann Lee (pictured), the PIAL Outreach Coordinator, received her Master’s of Science degree in Leadership Development from Drake University in May 2017. Lee’s capstone project was titled, “Resiliency: It’s Within YOU.”

The basis for this project was to create a presentation for youth ages thirteen to eighteen to begin to understand what it means to grow up with adverse childhood hood experiences (ACEs) and how not to let those experiences in childhood define the future. Public health research efforts show a strong correlation between developmental interruptions from adverse childhood experiences and the healing properties of building resiliency.

“I believe that if we equip youth with an understanding of what has happened in the past does not have to define the future coupled with building resiliency within themselves; we are preparing them to envision a future with greater possibilities.” By exploring this research and through the lens of my experiences with ACEs, I approached my capstone with a personal sense of what would’ve helped me along the way.” explained Lee. Lee utilized ISU’s Tuition Reimbursement Program to complete her degree.

Learn more about Drake’s Leadership Development degree, the Tuition Reimbursement Program, and PIAL.

ISU Trainer receives Master’s of Art degree

Bethany Burdt (pictured), ISU Technical Writer and Trainer, received her Master’s degree in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication from Iowa State University in May 2017. Burdt’s creative component was titled, “The birth of ApplyAcademia,” which attempts to bridge the gap between instructional designers and the field of academia.

“Obtaining my Master’s, and this program specifically, enabled me to explore and further refine my passion for online learning,” explained Burdt. Burdt utilized ISU’s Tuition Reimbursement Program to complete her degree.

Learn more about Iowa State University’s Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication degree and the Tuition Reimbursement Program. You can also read Burdt’s blog, Apply Academia, to learn about how learning methods and development can be connected with instructional design in practice.

CWRTP staff and graduate students published in Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance journal

Kyuho Lee (postdoctoral researcher), Yuk Pang (Ph. D. candidate), Jo Ann Lee (PIAL outreach coordinator), and Janet Melby (CWRTP director) published their research in the Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance.

Their article, titled, “A Study of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Coping Strategies, Work Stress, and Self-Care in the Child Welfare Profession,” examines the negative influences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on child welfare professionals’ work stress and coping strategies, as well as the challenges they face in self-care. ACEs experiences include verbal, physical, sexual abuse, and family dysfunction (e.g., an imprisoned, mentally ill, or substance-abusing family member; domestic violence; or absence of a parent because of divorce or separation). Prior research shows that the existence of any ACE can disrupt negative social, emotional, and cognitive development and contribute to adoption of health-risk behaviors.

The research team surveyed over 100 child welfare professionals about their stress levels and coping strategies, in addition to their ACE scores, which were found to be higher than the general population’s scores. Results also showed that stress levels were high and coping strategies were unhealthy. When combined with high ACE scores, this resulted in more work stress. These findings underscore the importance for child welfare professionals to be supported in dealing with their work-related stress.

For more information on the research study, please email Janet Melby at jmelby@iastate.edu or view the article’s abstract.

This research was supported through the Service Training Contract between the Iowa Department of Human Services Service Training and the Iowa State University Child Welfare Research and Training Project.

CWRTP graduate students present research at HDFS Research and Poster Symposium

Iowa State’s Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) department held a poster symposium on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, which eight students presented their CWRTP-related research at.

Maria Alcivar-Zuniga (Ph. D. HDFS student), Sesong Jeon (Ph. D.  HDFS student), Carlee Konz (M.S. HDFS student), Peggy Lockhart (Ph. D. HDFS student) Courtney Mull (junior – elementary education), Erica Pang (Ph. D. HDFS student), Cheng Peng (Ph. D.  HDFS student), Katie Riley (Ph. D.  HDFS student), Dong Zhang (postdoctoral researcher), and Feng Zhao (Ph. D.  HDFS student) presented research on a variety of topics at the poster symposium.

The following posters were presented:

  • A New Approach to Increase Past-Due Child Support Collections – This research project analyzed past child support cases to determine a method of determining which cases should be prioritized. The method led to the collection of more than $314,000 by the Child Support Recovery Unit in past-due payments in three months. (presented by Feng Zhao)
  • Creating a New Approach to Contacting Child Support Payors – A new approach was created to help case workers to determine needed to be contacted to prevent missing payments and/or remind individuals to resume their payments. (presented by Cheng Peng and Dong Zhang)
  • Family and Consumer Sciences National Standards Supported by Parenting: It’s a Life Curriculum – Parenting: It’s a Life (PIAL) is mainly presented in Family and Consumer Science classrooms. In order to make the PIAL curriculum more desirable to teachers, who are encouraged to follow their subject’s standards, the Family and Consumer Sciences National Standards were analyzed to determine how the PIAL curriculum aligned. (presented by Courtney Mull, Katie Riley, and Carlee Konz)
  • Parenting: It’s a Life: A Case Study of a Rural Town’s Access to Life Skills and Parenting Curriculum – One Iowa rural community was analyzed to determine if the use of Parenting: It’s a Life (PIAL) curriculum had impacted the area’s teens. Results showed that 61.8% of surveyed students found that PIAL’s life skills content was helpful or strongly helpful to them. (presented by Katie Riley, Carlee Konz, and Sesong Jeon)
  • Parenting: It’s a Life Teen Information Sources on Module Topics – Parenting: It’s a Life (PIAL) teaches middle and high school students about topics related to life skills PIAL staff were interested in learning about where the students learned about life skills from in the past. Results showed that the students’ age and gender impacted who they were learning from, including peers, teachers, and parents. (presented by Carlee Konz and Sesong Jeon)
  • Trauma and Self-Care Among New Iowa DHS Workers – This research project analyzed the readiness of DHS workers to work with trauma cases and their self-care practices. Results showed DHS workers who perceived higher supervisor support were more likely to engage in self-care practices. DHS workers that engaged in more self-care practices were less likely to experience burn out. (presented by Emily McKnight and Erica Pang)
  • “Race: the Power of an Illusion” – A Learning Exchange – This research project analyzed if feelings and knowledge of DHS workers changed from pre to post survey and if urban/rural living status was a factor. Results show feelings and knowledge improved across all learning objectives from before to after receiving this training opportunity. There was a difference in learning between urban and rural, indicating more opportunities need to be made available to DHS workers in rural areas. (presented by Maria Alcivar-Zuniga and Peggy Lockhart)
A New Approach to Increase Past-Due Child Support Collections
Feng Zhao
Creating a New Approach to Contacting Child Support Payors
Cheng Peng (pictured) and Dong Zhang
Family and Consumer Sciences National Standards Supported by Parenting: It’s a Life Curriculum
Courtney Mull (pictured), Katie Riley, and Carlee Konz
Parenting: It’s a Life: A Case Study of a Rural Town’s Access to Life Skills and Parenting Curriculum
Katie Riley (pictured, right), Carlee Konz, and Sesong Jeon (pictured, left)
Parenting: It’s a Life Teen Information Sources on Module Topics
Carlee Konz and Sesong Jeon
Trauma and Self-Care Among New Iowa DHS Workers
Emily McKnight (pictured) and Erica Pang
“Race: the Power of an Illusion” – A Learning Exchange
Maria Alcivar-Zuniga (pictured) and Peggy Lockhart

PIAL undergraduate student presents research at Annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression

Courtney answers questions from one of the judges at the Annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression.

Courtney Mull is an undergraduate student worker for Parenting: It’s a Life (PIAL). Recently, she examined the national Family and Consumer Science standards and how these standards relate to the PIAL curriculum.

Mull’s research was presented at the Annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression, held on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Her poster was titled, “Parenting: It’s a Life’s Curriculum Supported by FCS Standards.” The symposium gives undergraduate students an opportunity to present their research in oral and poster presentation.

Mull is a junior with a major in elementary education.

Courtney’s poster was titled, “Parenting: It’s a Life’s Curriculum Supported by FCS Standards.”