HDFS Research and Poster Symposium hosts CWRTP graduate students

CWRTP graduate students presented three posters at the the HDFS Research and Poster Symposium, held Wednesday, October 26, 2016.


Maria Alcivar explains her research to another CWRTP research assistant, Carlee Konz


Sesong Jeon and Erica Pang present research at the HDFS Research and Poster Symposium


Carlee Konz, Sesong Jeon, and Katie Riley present PIAL-related research

CWRTP research assistants present research

Research assistants

CWRTP research assistants (Yuk (Erica) Pang, Shane Kabanaugh, and Randie Camp) attended the National Council on Family Relations, where they presented their research.

CWRTP’s research assistants presented their research at the 2016 National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Shane Kabanaugh and Randie Camp are former CWRTP research assistants, and Yuk (Erica) Pang is a current CWRTP research assistant. The three graduate students, as well as Janet Melby (CWRTP program manager and human development and family studies adjunct professor), presented their research on Wednesday, November 2, 2016. The research, titled “Infant Reunification: The Role of Kinship Placements and Parental Substance Abuse,” focuses on infants who are placed with relatives in the foster care system. The infants in the study were removed from the home after parental substance abuse.

Read more about the conference, research results, and presentation at Iowa State University’s College of Human Sciences.

Present research

Shane Kabanaugh, former CWRTP research assistant, presents research, titled “Infant Reunification: The Role of Kinship Placements and Parental Substance Abuse.”

CWRTP Technology Coordinator wins Cyber Defense Competition

Abhas Bhatt, CWRTP’s Technology Coordinator, was part of Team SYNergy at the Cyber Defense Competition. Twenty teams participated in the event, in which Team SYNergy took home first place. The event, held Saturday, October 8, 2016, challenged participants to secure computer systems against hackers.

Team SYNergy took home first place at the Cyber Defense Competition on October 8, 2016.

Team SYNergy, which Abhas Bhatt (CWRTP Technology Coordinator) was part of, took home first place at the Cyber Defense Competition on October 8, 2016.

Staff support Domestic Violence Awareness Month

cwrtp-purple2October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Department of Human Services staff across Iowa showed their support for the cause by wearing purple. Child Welfare Research and Training Project staff (pictured) also got involved through #PurpleThursday on Thursday, October 20, 2016.

1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and an average of 3 women die every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.  Looking for more ways to get involved? Join this year’s National Week of Action (Sunday, October 16 through Saturday, October 22). Learn more about the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

CWRTP presents and educates at College of Human Sciences Professional & Scientific Fair

The Child Welfare Research and Training Project hosted a booth at the College of Human Sciences Professional & Scientific Fair on Thursday, September 29, 2016. Booth visitors learned more about the Service Contract, Child Support Contract, Americorps, and Iowa State. The fair was part of the College of Human Sciences Week (September 26-30, 2016), which is a celebration of the college’s programs and traditions. Other special events included a cherry pie sale, culinary boot camp, and special lectures and networking events.

Kate Goudy-Haht, Abby Stanek, and Ginger Monroe educated other P&S employees about the CWRTP grant at the College of Human Sciences Professional & Scientific Fair.

Kate Goudy-Haht, Abby Stanek, and Ginger Monroe educate P&S employees about the CWRTP.

Graduate assistants present research

CWRTP graduate assistants presented their research findings Wednesday in a poster session at the ISU Alumni Center. The session followed the final event of the Future of Healthy Families Lecture Series, sponsored by the College of Human Sciences.

Emily Sorenson, Carlee Konz, Shane Kavanaugh, Feng Zhao, Maria Alacazar-Zuniga, Kyuho Lee, and Erica Pang discussed their research projects with the assembled guests. Our GAs play an important role in the research CWRTP conducts for the Iowa Department of Human Services. Thanks for your help, and congratulations on another successful semester!


Maria Shane Feng Emily Carlee

CWRTP staff conduct Colors training for HDFS Lab School

CWRTP staff conducted a Colors personality training this week for teachers in the HDFS Lab School. Colors is a personality assessment tool that gives participants insights into their own personality types, and how to work and communicate more effectively with others.

Jo Ann Lee and Martha Stewart have given Colors workshops to CWRTP staff on two previous occasions. These trainings have enabled our staff to better understand how colleagues want to be treated, and to work more effectively within diverse teams. Jo Ann and Martha have also given workshops to many other ISU groups, including Civil Engineering staff and the last two annual conferences for Professional and Scientific staff. They have also presented for the Girl Scouts, 4-H, social workers at Iowa DHS, and many other community groups.

If you would like to know more about Colors training, please contact Martha Stewart at, or Jo Ann Lee at

Colors 8-19 #1 Colors 8-19 #3 Colors 8-19 #4

Mary Jo Beckman wins Career Achievement Award

On April 28, Mary Jo Beckman was presented with Career Achievement in Outreach Award from the College of Human Sciences. The awards presentation began at 3 p.m. in the Memorial Union’s Campanile Room. The Career Achievement in Outreach Award was established to recognize outstanding performance over an extended period of time and statewide leadership in extension as well as professional practice and national recognition of contributions to outreach activities.

Mary Jo Beckman has served as the contract liaison for Iowa State University’s Child Welfare Research and Training Project since it was founded in 1988. She has coordinated and managed contracts between the project and the Iowa Department of Human Services, averaging $1.88 million dollars annually over the past 12 years.

As part of this work, Beckman prepares budget submissions, collaborates with project partners and community groups, and oversees any contract adjustments or special requests. All of these duties require her to maintain positive relationships with a variety of people and to deeply understand federal and state regulations. Many of Beckman’s coworkers have found her to be an invaluable resource as a mentor. She is known as a fount of knowledge about Iowa’s human services.

Before she joined the Child Welfare Research and Training Project, she served for nearly 20 years as a social worker and social worker supervisor for the Iowa DHS. You can read more at the college’s website, here.

A short history of the Child Welfare Research & Training Project

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.

Service Training

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.

Child Support

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.

Income Maintenance

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.