Meet the Matching Team
Have you ever wondered what "matching" is?
When Iowa KidsNet gets a referral from the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) or Juvenile Court Services (JCS) for a child who needs a foster home, our matching staff gather information about the child, including age, gender, where the child has been living and other important details that foster families would like to know.
Our staff then cross-references this information with our statewide database to find "matches" of resource families whose strengths and skills would be a good "match" for the unique needs of the child. In other words, you might say that we find families for kids, rather than finding kids for families.
Our database searches for resource families who will care for children with specific needs, such as teens with behavioral issues, medically fragile children, sibling groups, children with specific allergies or other special matching requests made by the referring worker. For example, if the child referred is a teen with behavioral issues, the database would search for all families who care for teens with behavioral issues. We first look for families within 20 miles of the childs birth home because its important to keep children as close to their birth home as possible.
If your family looks like a possible "match" for a child, our matching staff then call you to see if you would be willing to provide foster care for the child. We want to identify matches as quickly as possible when a child needs to be placed in a foster home. You can help by calling us back as soon as possible to let us know if you think you could accept the placement or not. If you agree, we contact DHS with your name. DHS then makes the final decision on where to place the child and is also responsible for making arrangements with you to place the child in your home.
You can read more about matching in our Quick Reference Guide for new families.
Iowa KidsNet Matching Team
Hi, I'm Deb, and I'm the matching team supervisor for Iowa KidsNet. I previously served as the service area leader for the Cedar Rapids Service Area. I have 30 years of experience in the areas of family foster care, special needs adoption, PS-MAPP instruction and residential treatment. I have a bachelor's degree in social work from Wartburg College.
Hi, I’m Sherry, and I’m the matching team leader for Iowa KidsNet. I was one of the first staff hired for Iowa KidsNet matching service and have been here since the very beginning - April 2007. I wanted to work here because my husband and I have done foster care for so long I thought this would be something that I was good at! I am a biological mom, adoptive mom, foster mom (since 1994), stepmom and a grandmother of seven. I love to travel and go camping. I love dogs and am somewhat a neat freak (so my family says). One of the best parts of my job is hearing updates from foster families on how foster children are doing in their home.
Hi! I'm Kate, and I am the match specialist for the Western Service Area of Iowa. I am originally from Dubuque County where my background includes work in Family, Safety, Risk and Permanency services. My degree is in social work from Loras College in Iowa. I look forward to working with our families in Western Iowa!
Hi, I'm Kim, and I'm the Match Specialist for the Eastern Service Area. I have worked in child welfare services for the past 21 years. I am a Fayette County native with a bachelor's degree in human services. I am married with five biological children, two stepchildren and seven grandchildren. I look forward to working closely with our families and Tina Royer, our Eastern Service Area renewal and support supervisor, to make the best matches between children and families.
Hi! I’m Courtney Hart, and I am from Burlington, Iowa. I graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Child, Adult and Family Services. I also interned at the Department of Human Services in Des Moines County where I learned a lot about how the foster care system works. I am thrilled to be a part of Iowa KidsNet and work with DHS to locate foster homes for children needing temporary care.
Hi, I'm Cindy Epps. Originally from San Francisco, Calif., I've lived in Cedar Rapids for nearly five years now. My background is in child care and youth counseling, and I look forward to working with Iowa's resource families in the Northern Service Area.