The Child Welfare Provider Training Academy (CWPTA) is a partnership between the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Coalition for Family and Children’s Services in Iowa. 

The goal of the Child Welfare Provider Training Academy (“Academy”) is to develop and deliver trainings and related services to child welfare front line staff and supervisors throughout the state to help the Iowa child welfare system achieve its goals surrounding safety, permanency and well-being of the children in the system. The Academy provides accessible, relevant, skill-based training throughout the state of Iowa using a strength-based and family-centered approach to improve the infrastructure to support agencies to train and retain child welfare workers, positively impact job performance and serve the best interest of children, youth and families.  Staff of Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) child welfare contracts can participate in Academy trainings.  Examples of DHS Child Welfare contracts are:  Community Care; Safety Plan (SP)/Family Safety Risk and Permanency (FSRP); Foster Family Recruitment, Retention, Training and Support Services; Crisis, Intervention, Stabilization and Reunification Services (Foster Group Care, Child Welfare Emergency Services (CWES), & Supervised Apartment Living (SAL)); Aftercare Services; and Preparation for Adult Living (PAL).

When room allows, other stakeholders such as DHS staff, juvenile justice providers, education providers and public health providers at state, county and local levels are also welcome.  The Academy has found that diversity amongst participants allow for more robust and meaningful conversations relative to the subject matter trained. 

The professional development and training opportunities offered are aligned with the child welfare outcomes of the DHS model of practice in the Better Results for Kids Redesign and the seven outcomes from the federal Child and Family Services Review (CFSR) and the Blueprint for Forever Families, adopted in 2011 by the Iowa Department of Human Services.  These outcomes include safety for children, permanency, academic preparation, skill development and well-being.


Child Welfare Provider Training Academy FY2019 Focus

The focus of the academy for the state fiscal year 2019 (July 2018-June 2019) will be creating a common language of trauma with evidence-based practice (EBP) programming.  To do this, the Academy will focus on development of trauma informed facilitators of the Understanding Trauma Program developed for the Academy by the Midwest Trauma Services Network (MTSN).   This will allow facilitators to bring the concepts and skills into their organizations and influence the conversations with a common language and purpose. 

Trauma-informed care is a care approach which helps providers to engage the youth they care for and their co-workers and case managers in such as a way that people with histories of trauma and the presence of trauma symptoms are recognized and acknowledged.  The principles, practical application and resources of trauma informed care has received increasing interest across Iowa and the nation. There is much work going on in Iowa around trauma informed care and our main goal is to create a common language of trauma.

To date, there are twenty-four (24) Trauma Informed Facilitators in sixteen (16) child welfare service providers across Iowa: 

                                     Families First Counseling Services of Iowa

                                     Family Resources

                                     Lutheran Services in Iowa

                                     Hillcrest Family Services

                                     American Home Finding

                                     Youth Home of Mid-America

                                     Foundation 2

                                    Southwest Iowa Family Access Center

                                    Midwest Christian Services

                                    Sequel - Woodward Academy

                                    Boys Town

                                    Youth Shelter Service (YSS)

                                    Four Oaks

                                    Children and Families of Iowa

                                    Sequel Youth Services - Forest Ridge

                                    Young House

 Eleven (11) of these twenty-four (24) Facilitators have completed Level 2; six (6) are Level 3 informed; four (4) are Level 4 informed.  A new class of Level 1 facilitators will be selected in January of 2019 and the Academy will work to support, inform and encourage facilitator to continue participation in the Understanding Trauma Program through to Level 6.  The Academy will also support facilitators in developing their own organization training plan to disseminate the trainings internally. Click here to find the contact information for these facilitators:  
Understanding Trauma Program Facilitators for 2018-2019

 The Academy will also continue its work to provide Family Team Decision Making courses, as well as, three topical blended learnings developed by the FY2019 CWTPA Workgroup.  A secondary focus of the Academy will be supervisory training curriculum development with the goal of a training program to be offered in the next fiscal year. 

 Coalition and Team Information 

The Coalition for Family and Children’s Services in Iowa (“Coalition”) believes that Iowa communities are strengthened when family and children’s service are present in their communities. Iowa families thrive when they are supported and empowered to care for and provide for their children’s needs. Empowerment occurs through formal and informal supports including programming, education, direct service, coordination and connection to available resources.

The Coalition is a statewide organization whose mission is to enhance the collective impact of its member agencies.  These member agencies provide a wide array of services to families and children across the state of Iowa. 

Executive Director – Kristie Oliver

Ms. Oliver is responsible for oversight of the Child Welfare Provider Training Academy and the Training Academy Coordinator.  Ms. Oliver reviews and approves the Annual Training Plan, the Monthly Reports and informs the Coalition’s Board of Directors of the Academy’s training cultivating high leadership buy-in.  

Associate Director/CWPTA Coordinator – Kelli Soyer

The Coalition has designated its Associate Director as the Child Welfare Provider Training Academy Coordinator for the CWPTA contract.  This role is responsible for the integrity and credibility of the professional development and training opportunities provided by the Academy.  Ms. Soyer oversees the deliverables of the contract.   In Collaboration with the CWPTA workgroup, The CWPTA Coordinator is also responsible for developing strategies to improve the Academy as the various DHS child welfare provider contractor’s needs change. 

Administrative Assistant – Stephanie Strom

This role coordinates venues and training preparation for: (1) the in-person trainings/blended learning trainings, (2) webinars, (3) the Understanding Trauma Program, (4) Relias Learning Management system, (6) the Family Team Decision Making Facilitation (FTDM) trainings, (7) Youth Transition Decision Making Facilitation (YTDM) trainings as well as (8) the Coaching of FTDM facilitators and YTDM facilitators.  

Workgroup Information

The FY2019 Workgroup consists of the following members: 

  • Gwen Babberl, Children & Families of Iowa

  • Lisa Bellows, Mid-Iowa Family Therapy

  • Shawn Connelly, Sequel Youth Services

  • Angie Freiburger, Families First

  • Ashley Hopkins, Four Oaks

  • Amy Huls, Boys Town

  • Christopher Jackson, Boys Town

  • Jesse Kayl, Children's Square

  • Josh Krauss, Lutheran Services in Iowa

  • Jody Ludowitz, Hillcrest Family Services

  • Belinda Meis, Youth & Shelter Services

  • Mark Moses, Sequel Youth Services

  • Lori Mozena, Mid-Iowa Family Therapy

  • Amy Muller, Families First

  • Kristin Nolen, Hillcrest Family Services

  • Deb Peddycoart, Foundations 2

  • Kris Steed, Southwest Iowa Family Access Center

  • Jesse Thomas, Four Oaks

  • Michelle Tyrrel, Iowa Department of Human Services

  • Jody Unsen, Four Oaks

Facilitators:  Mindy Norwood (DHS) and Kelli Soyer (CWPTA Coordinator)

The goal of the workgroup is to add insight, ideas and feedback in developing the plan for the Child Welfare Provider Training Academy for FY2019, with the facilitation and leadership of the Child Welfare Provider Training Academy Coordinator.  The work group meets quarterly either in-person or by live webinar.