Safe and Together Program highlighted by Daily Nonpareil

The Safe and Together Program was featured by the Daily Nonpareil on October 21, 2017.

It is reported that the vast majority of child welfare cases involve some form of domestic violence. Because of this, the state of Iowa began the implementation of the Safe and Together Program in August 2015.

Safe and Together Program is an initiative by Iowa State University, funded by Iowa Department of Human Services, to bring focus on child welfare and safety in domestic violence cases. The Child Welfare Research and Training Project in Human Development and Family Studies partners with David Mandel and Associates, a child welfare consulting group, to deliver the Safe and Together Program to all child welfare professionals in Iowa.

The purpose of this model is to bring together and train DHS social workers, victim advocates and other child welfare partners to focus on three areas: keeping children safe and together with the non-offending parent, partnering with the non-offending parent and intervening with the perpetrator to reduce risk and harm to the child.

Leah Kinnaird, a human services specialist and domestic violence response coordinator in Human Development and Family Studies at University of Iowa, said “It’s a philosophical change in how we’re approaching families. We need to stop blaming victims for the wide variety of reasons that they are present in those relationships and start asking, ‘What presents the safety risk to children?’ And that is perpetrator’s behavior. So we have to start there and have that be our focus.”

Read the complete article on at the Daily Nonpareil. Learn more about the Safe and Together Program.

CWRTP represented at 2017 P&S Fair

CWRTP hosted a table at the College of Human Sciences P&S Fair, held on Thursday, October 5, 2017.  Leah Vejzovic, Morgan Roy, Amy Peters, Jo Ann Lee, Ginger Monroe, and Kate Goudy-Haht were involved in the event.

For more information about the fair and other College of Human Sciences celebrations, check out 2017 Human Sciences Week.

CSRU contract staff attend, present at WICSEC 2017

Abby Stanek, Outreach Coordinator, and Grant Nason, Technical Writer and Trainer, recently presented at the Western Interstate Child Support Enforcement Council’s (WICSEC) annual conference in Anchorage, Alaska, September 24-28, 2017.


The title of Abby’s presentation was Outreach Strategies: Combing old school and new school approaches for successful outcomes (see picture 1). The title of Grant’s presentation was eLearning: No longer the last frontier (see picture 2)Abby and Grant also hosted a table at the Inter-Jurisdictional Fair (IJ Fair), where they educated attendees about CWRTP and the Child Support Training Partnership (see picture 3).


WICSEC is an organization of public and private child support professionals from the states, tribes, and territories west of the Mississippi. They are committed to improving child support enforcement for the benefit of the children and parents that they serve.



University honors CWRTP faculty

Tera Jordan and Carl Weems were honored by the Iowa State University community on September 25, 2017.

Jordan, co-principal investivator for the service training contract, received the ISU Award for Inclusive Excellence. Weems, CWRTP principal investigator, was awarded the ISU Award for Early Achievement in Departmental Leadership.

Read more about the awards.

CWRTP co-principal investigators 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.