As a foster or adoptive parent, you have a rewarding and challenging job. To help you with the challenges, Iowa KidsNet offers free support services to resource families like you. The ultimate goal of Iowa KidsNet support services is to strengthen placements, prevent disruption and achieve permanency.
You are eligible for Iowa KidsNet support services if you are a foster parent or an adoptive parent with a DHS subsidized adoption.
Foster families - Foster families are automatically assigned a support specialist after completing PS-MAPP training. If you are a licensed resource family and you are not sure who your support specialist is, please call 1.800.243.0756.
Adoptive families - Post-adoption support is available to all Iowa adoptive families who currently have a DHS subsidized adoption. Adoptive families are assigned a support specialist upon the family’s request. To access services, call 1.800.243.0756 (Hablamos español).
Support Group Listings
What are support services?
Support services are designed to help keep your family and placement stable. Iowa KidsNet, DHS and JCS, IFAPA and service providers each have important support roles with resource families.
A DHS Tip Sheet for Resource Families on Support Roles
Iowa KidsNet Support
Your support specialist will first help you develop an individualized support plan that meets the unique needs of your family.
The support specialist can:
1. Provide in-home visits
2. Assist with behavioral management issues to help
3. Respond to crisis calls from your family
4. Assist and facilitate relationships and visits with
birth family or kin (when appropriate and approved
5. Advocate for your family with schools, DHS, JCS or
service providers for a child’s case or treatment
6. Coordinate with Iowa KidsNet licensing worker or
IFAPA liaison to help retain your family
7. Help you locate respite
One of the great features of an Iowa KidsNet support specialist is flexibility. Support may look different for each family, and our support specialists are flexible in meeting those needs.
For example, here are some ways an Iowa KidsNet support specialist has provided support to her families:
1. Attended a DHS meeting with a family
2. Got five bikes for a family’s foster children.
3. Gave families the 1, 2, 3 Magic Discipline Program
and followed up with them on it.
4. Suggested advice regarding concerns about a
5. Taught them about Oppositional Defiant Disorder
and the techniques to manage it.
7. Coordinated with DHS regarding PMIC placements.
8. Supported a family during DHS assessments.
9. Informed families about school enrollment dates.
10. Provided families with a respite list.
11. Mediated between a resource mother and child.
12. Called about medical cards, social security cards
13. Called a new family within 24 hours following their
first ever placement to ask about needs.
14. Made a visit to a family’s home following a
crisis call regarding a runaway teen.
Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA)
IFAPA also has a unique support role with your family. IFAPA provides vital peer support through their Peer Liaison Program and their two Resource Information Specialists.
IFAPA has Peer Liaisons throughout Iowa who are experienced foster and adoptive parents. They are responsible for providing peer support to existing foster and adoptive families and are also responsible for contacting newly licensed foster homes to be an ongoing source of information and support. The IFAPA Peer Liaisons provide confidential support.
Your IFAPA peer liaison can:
1. Act as a sounding board and role model
2. Give ideas on how to work with birth parents
3. Help you find training opportunities
View IFAPA trainings
4. Facilitate support groups or help you find a
5. Help you advocate with issues such as
payment and licensing
6. Explain DHS policies and procedures
7. Give clarity on confidentiality
8. Explain Medicaid/Title XIX questions and
help find providers
9. Help you resolve communication problems
with a social worker
10. Update you on new changes within the
foster care system
Locate your IFAPA Peer Liasion
In addition to the Peer Liaison Program, IFAPA has two Resource Information Specialists on staff. The Resource Information Specialists help families successfully meet the challenges of parenting the children placed in their home through telephone support, educational materials, knowledge of services available, and connections to other families. They also specialize in the following topics:
- Public Policy / Legislative Issues
- Relative Caregivers / Kinship Care
- Educational Advocacy / Special Education / Learning Disabilities
- Abuse Allegations / FAIR (Foster Allegation Information Resource) Program
- Medication Management
- Support Groups
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Children’s Mental Health Issues
Contact one of IFAPA’s Resource Information Specialists.
The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) and Juvenile Court System (JCS)
DHS and JCS play important roles as the child’s case manager and making decisions about permanency and treatment.
DHS and JCS employees support you by:
1. Providing pertinent information about the child
and child's family
2. Developing a permanency plan (DHS)
3. Visiting the child
4. Organizing family team meetings
5. Making placement decisions
6. Arranging services for a child
7. Attending court hearings
Child’s Service Provider
You may have a foster or adoptive child who has needs for special services or treatment.
A service provider supports you through providing:
1. Mental health services
3. Supervised visits
4. Reunification services
5. Adoption services
To see a chart illustrating the different support roles, click here.