Mary Jo Beckman
Mary Jo is the training liaison between the Child Welfare Research & Training Project and the Iowa Department of Human Services. She earned her degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She has been involved in the coordination of training, development of courses and initiatives for over 20 years. She helped implement the Reasonable Efforts training initiative, BSW and MSW Traineeship programs, Social Work training series, as well as other major training initiatives.
Prior to joining Iowa State University, she was a Social Worker Supervisor for the Department of Human Services in northwest Iowa overseeing purchase of services, child care and foster care licensing, adoptions, volunteer services, work and training education programs. Additionally, she has provided child welfare, adult services and economic assistance as a Social Worker II. She is also a federal grant reviewer for Administration for Children & Families discretionary grant programs.
Kim has held various positions since joining the Child Welfare Project in 2002. She currently works as a Trainer developing and delivering face to face classroom training as well synchronous and asynchronous online trainings. Prior to coming to Iowa State University, Kim has had twenty plus years in the child welfare arena.
Kim has her Master’s of Science in Adult Learning and Organizational development. She holds certifications in Synchronous Facilitator and Synchronous Designer for online learning. Kim has her undergraduate degree in social work.
Shelly is a 2000 graduate from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Child & Family Services with an emphasis on Family Services. Prior to graduation, Shelly worked for several years for what is now known as Child Serve in Ames, IA. Shelly also worked with Lutheran Social Services of Iowa, prior to graduation, in their residential treatment program and as a SCL worker, assisting children with disabilities & their families. Following graduation Shelly worked for Gerard Treatment Programs and Youth & Shelter Services (YSS) as a Family Centered Services provider. Shelly worked with DHS referred families, and provided remedial services for parents and children as well as Family Centered Services. While at YSS, Shelly served as a co-facilitator and facilitator, as well as, the coordinator of a Parenting Class, which taught parenting skills to families seeking assistance.
Shelly joined the ISU Child Welfare Project’s Service Training contract in the Fall of 2007. Shelly’s focus is on New Social Worker Training and Family Team Meeting Training, as well as computer-based training. That includes assisting in managing of the Service Training Learning Management System. When not at work Shelly enjoys spending time with her husband and their three young children: Jordyn, Josie & Wyatt.
Geri has over 28 years of experience in the human service field since earning her BS in Family Services from Iowa State University. Her experience includes work with youth and adults in a variety of residential settings. Geri joined the Child Welfare Project in 1995 as a TA/QA Specialist with Rehabilitative Treatment Services. When that program ended she transitioned to a similar role with the Children’s Mental Health Waiver and eventually worked with all seven HCBS Waiver programs as well as Habilitation and Remedial Services.
In May 2010, Geri began her role as Statewide Coordinator for the Iowa Parent Partner Approach. She works with parents who have regained custody of their children and completed a series of trainings to prepare them as mentors in support of parents who are currently involved with DHS and working toward reunification. Geri works with 18 site coordinators and over 100 Parent Partners in an effort to expand the program from the current 59 counties to statewide.
Outside of work, Geri is involved in several community service organizations including Ames Noon Kiwanis, Jaycees and Ames Community Theater.
Chris has over twenty years experience in education and the family support field. Prior to coming to the Child Welfare Research and Training Project, Chris was a Service Coordinator with Lutheran Services in Iowa and coordinated both the Healthy Families Iowa program in Boone County and the Crisis Child Care program in Boone and Story Counties. Chris has also served as a National Trainer for the Parents as Teachers National Center. Chris also works as a Technical Assistant/Peer Reviewer for the Iowa Family Support Credential.
Chris has a B.S. in Secondary Education and 10 hours of graduate studies in Early Childhood. She is currently working on her Master of Science in Adult Learning and Organizational Development at Drake University.
Leah Kinnaird, MSW, LMSW
Leah is the Domestic Violence Coordinator for the Child Welfare Research and Training Project. She works with DHS to provide training around domestic violence, as well as develop curriculum, tools and practice aids. In addition, she assists DHS in improving policy related to domestic violence. She will also provide case consultation to community partners and providers.
Leah received her bachelor’s degree from Luther College, and her master of social work from the University of Northern Iowa in 2010. Prior to coming to Iowa State, she worked in domestic violence advocacy and child welfare services for 5 years.
Wendy Batten Havemann
Wendy has joined our team as the Transitioning Youth Specialist. She has over 25 years of experience in the field of youth engagement and youth empowerment. Prior to joining the CWRTP Wendy was a trainer in the character education field plus in the corporate arena. Wendy has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and a Master’s of Science in Adult Learning and Organizational Performance from Drake University.
As Transitioning Youth Specialist, Wendy will work with DHS to empower youth who are aging out of foster care. She will provide training on the Youth-Centered Decision Making and Iowa Youth Dream Team Models of youth engagement.